I assisted on a Bird Walk for the MSC yesterday and when I assist, I typically only carry a compact camera since an SLR with a long lens would be too distracting. Only two people showed up, though, so had I known, I would have brought my “big” camera. But we had a great time and I ended up with an in focus shot of an Anna’s Hummingbird so I was happy 🙂
Anna’s Hummingbird Textured
As part of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy‘s Field Institute, we set 40 small mammal traps and 5 medium traps last night and then went back to see what we got this morning. Not even one rodent but we were very excited to find a Gray Fox! They are quite common in the Preserve. Only visual documentation was made and then we let him go. All in all, a very exciting morning!
When the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy advertises a public hike, we need to show up no matter the weather. As it turned out, we only had Stewards show up. We could have gone home but every one of us was looking forward to enjoying the desert in the rain! (My trusty Canon SX1 did a good job of capturing the morning).
I assisted on an MSC Birding hike in the Preserve yesterday (Sunday) with fellow steward Phil H. who knows most all of the birds in our area. Lucky us! The hike started out with NO birds which seemed strange because there was no wind and it wasn’t as cold as it had been. On the way back, though, Phil brought out his iPhone to let us hear what certain birds sound like and low and behold, we started seeing birds! This was my first sighting of a Black Tailed Gnatcatcher (must be a female or a juvenile). My lens only went to 100mm so this is a VERY tight crop and I was pleasantly surprised to see I caught the bird singing. He was more than likely responding to Phil’s iPhone app 🙂
First Conservancy hike of the season in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Our destination was East End Junction but the weather was so fabulous, we continued on to Tom’s Thumb. Elevation gain: 800ft in about 2 miles. In other words…steep!
Yesterday, along with botanical expert Steve Jones, I led a Photography/Wildflower walk to Brown’s Ranch. Not many flowers to see this year so this Desert Holly (Acourtia nana) was a real treat. My wide angle lens was almost touching the plant which makes it look larger than it is but in reality, they’re so tiny, they are almost impossible to spot unless you know what you’re looking for.
Besides being part of the Flora survey for the Preserve, I also decided to take part in the Herpetological survey. As part of the training class, we were encouraged to show we weren’t afraid of snakes by handling a small Gopher snake. In this photo, Mike had just handed the snake to Tom when the snake decided to go elsewhere. Thankfully, our teacher was right there to re-direct him and we all had a chance to hold this beauty. (Like the Flora Survey, the Herp Survey will be conducted over a 3 year period so stay tuned for my sightings of any and all reptiles during that time 🙂
The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is about to start its annual Wildflower Watch. I was asked to come up with a logo for their Facebook page and here is the result. To get to the Wildflower Watch page, CLICK HERE to the Activities Calendar. Then click on the last tab on the right above the calendar (Special Event-Wildflower Event). Look to the left and click on Wildflower Watch for lots of information including photos of flowers. Poppies captured last year on the Tom’s Thumb trail. (oops…title not centered!)