Solo Trip 2005

Part Six......

This week I decided to take a break from vacation and camp at a place I discovered about ten years ago.  It is well off the beaten path.  It has a spring of running water and a cluster of nice shade trees.  A perfect place to kick back, read some books, and observe the local wildlife.

One book I am currently reading is about local Indian rock art and it contains a couple pen and ink copies of some Petroglyphs that really capture the feel and flavor of their subject.


A pregnant sheep on the left and talking crows or ravens on the right.  Amazing!

While I read I am distracted by the local birds and I am having a heck of a time with them!  I will be quietly reading my book and notice movement over in the trees.  Sure enough, some bird.  I watch to see if it is going to stay put for a moment or two.  It does.  So I slowly reach for my camera.  Since it is a digital camera I have to wait several seconds for it to turn on.  Then I have to push a lever sideways and hold it there to get to maximum zoom.  And, being an old guy, I have to try and brace myself to keep camera shake to a minimum.  Plus, I have to re-acquire the bird in the viewfinder.  By then the patiently waiting bird has lost patience and moved on!!  I find photographing birds a frustrating business.

Of course I could do like my brother in Redmond, Washington.  Stay home and put out a bird feeder.

Another problem I have is I only have two bird books with me, Audubon's "Deserts", and, "Birds of Northern California", both of which don't list most of what I see.

Well, okay, I know this one for sure.  He is in the "Deserts" book and he is a Gambel's Quail.  Talk about elusive!  I hear them chatting in the bushes all day long but very rarely will one make itself visible.  This was a totally lucky shot and micro-seconds later he was gone..

And this one.  It could be a Nuttall's Woodpecker but it also looks like a Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

A Sage Sparrow?  Kind of big for a sparrow.


And this guy?  Can't find him in either book.  He sure is distinctive though.

Ash-throated Flycatcher?

These guys flock together, six or seven in a group.  Wilson's Warbler?  Not likely because the book says the Wilson likes a "cool, moist Riparian habitat, edges of small lakes and springs to 10,000 ft in the northwestern fog belt"!!  This guy is in the desert.

Plus, there are turtle doves and humming birds but no way am I fast enough to catch them with my camera.

There are a few bugs.  They are easier to photograph.


The one on the left runs along the ground at almost one mile per hour!  A very busy bug.  The one on the right, according to the Desert book is an Arizona Blister Beetle which "Only lives in Arizona"!!  Right!

And, because of the spring, there are spectacular dragonflies.

But for easy photography, here is a guy that doesn't mind having his photo taken...,

He can barely stay awake while I take his picture!  My "Desert" book indicates he might be a Side-bloched Lizard.
He is prettier than his name.

In the process of observing wildlife it seems some wildlife have moved in to observe me!  Yes, I have acquired a mouse in my Vanagon.  He is only active while I am trying to sleep.  According to my "Desert" book he is a "White Footed" mouse.  He is a pretty golden gray color with a white-ish underside.  Big black eyes, big ears, long whiskers and a tail as long as his body.

I mentioned I had a mouse to my Lolli during our weekly phone conversation.  She gave me some clear instructions.

"He better be gone by the time I get there!"

  "Sorry.  Lolli said."


Click here for Part Seven.

Click here for Part One.

Click here for Part Two

Click here for Part Three

Click here for Part Four

Click here for Part Five