Monday, April 22, 2013

The Beauty of the Cactus Flower

Today I visited the Tucson Botanical Gardens with my plein air painting group. We came on a perfect day to see cactus blooms. Before I could sit down to paint, I wandered around looking at and photographing some of the beautiful flowers.

Even the cactus buds are beautiful!

The flowers in these last two photos and the first photo are about the size of an adult's hand.
They were breathtaking!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Sandhill Cranes of Whitewater Draw, Arizona

 It is very exciting to come to Whitewater Draw, southeast of Tucson, Arizona, to see the Sandhill Cranes fly in for a landing. We actually made this visit in late January. In the photo below you can barely make out waves of Sandhill Cranes. In the early morning they fly out to the farmers fields to feed and then start returning in the late morning.
They begin collecting in small groups. These gradually flow into other groups until there is a huge gathering of birds. It is a unique experience to close your eyes and listen to them.

There are other wonderful birds to be seen at Whitewater Draw. Besides the ones pictured below we saw Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, and Northern Pintail. 
Small flock of Snow Geese
Northern Shoveler
Great Egret
American Bittern