Kayaking the Upper Lake Mary Narrows

 

Upper Lake Mary

Beautiful Upper Lake Mary will host the 30th annual Mountain Man Triathlon in August, 2014.

This weekend we took the kayaks to the Narrows of Upper Lake Mary.  The lake has maintained boat ramps for motorized and unmotorized boats.  The ramp at the narrows is very shallow and most suitable for launching light craft.  What started as a day with slight clouds and damp ground from a storm the previous evening, promised to give us enough time for a cruise around the area before the next storm could move in.  This is the monsoon season of Arizona, and prone to lightning, thunder and heavy downpours, so we started early.

You can see by the brown tint to the water, there has been substantial run off from storms.

You can see by the brown tint to the water, there has been substantial run off from storms.

There was a slight, chilly breeze.

Muddy water and a slight, chilly breeze greeted us.

The wildflowers are now  in full bloom along the shore. In addition to the clouds, you could see a haze of smoke from wildfires in the air.

The wildflowers are now in full bloom along the shore. In addition to the clouds, you could see a haze of smoke from wildfires in the air.

Woolly Mullein and masses of yellow wildflowers grow on the shore.

Woolly Mullein grows tall here with grasses, zinnias and sunflowers.

Crows looked for food along the shore.

Crows, Blue jays and hawks were active along the shore.

Hungry blue jays searched for food.

Blue jays looked in the shoreline rocks for delicacies like crawdad pieces.

White thunderheads began to build

To the north we could see the summer thunderheads building around the San Francisco Peaks.

Storm clouds gathered.

As the storm began to close in, we headed back to the ramp.

A towering Ponderosa Pine

Turning back I caught sight of a watcher high in an old Ponderosa Pine.

An Osprey watched from the tree!

An Osprey watched from on high!

 

A Nutty Argument between an Acorn Woodpecker and a Steller’s Jay

A Red-headed Acorn Woodpecker

An Acorn Woodpecker settles in to feast at the feeder.

Acorn Woodpecker

Aware of the other birds and squirrels in the area, the woodpecker looks around.

Acorn Woodpecker

The woodpecker admires the selection of seeds and nuts available.

Acorn Woodpecker

Always on alert, the woodpecker checks again for trouble.

Acorn Woodpecker

The woodpecker spots a rival bird.

Steller's Jay and Acorn Woodpecker

As the Steller’s Jay lands on the feeder, the Acorn Woodpecker stands his ground.

Steller's Jay and Acorn Woodpecker

The jay tries to intimidate the woodpecker by looking tall.

Acorn Woodpecker and Steller's Jay

The woodpecker defiantly argues as the jay tries to move in.

Argument between jay and woodpecker

A big dust -up between the Acorn Woodpecker and Steller’s Jay ensues.

Acorn Woodpecker takes ownership of the feeder.

And the winner is…the Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker

The woodpecker considers the nut options in the feeder in peace.

Acorn Woodpecker

Finally the woodpecker settles in to eat his fill!

Nuthatch Adventures.

While watching the birds in the woods and yard, I have been learning a lot about their behaviors. Some birds and squirrels feed communally at our feeder while others insist on dining alone. While the Abert Squirrel this morning chased off woodpeckers, jays and other squirrels, he didn’t seem to be bothered by the tiny Nuthatch.
As I watched, the Nuthatch approached, quietly stood shopping for the best nut, picked it up and went off to to find a spot to eat it. Nuthatches are so named for their habit of wedging a large nut into tree bark and then pecking at it to get the shell open, thus “hatching” the nut.

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A Nuthatch cautiously makes it’s way down the tree to the feeder.

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The squirrel is listening, but he lets the Nuthatch approach.

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Shopping for the perfect nut.

Making his get-a-way

Making his get-a-way!

Looking for the best place to wedge the nut in order to peck it open.

Looking for the best place to wedge the nut in order to peck it open.

A-1 Beer, Arizona Brewing Company’s Answer to Prohibition

After the repeal of US Prohibition in 1933, many brewing companies started operations in Arizona. In the late 1940s the company created a series of seven commercial art works, which have become famous worldwide.
The saloon at Crown King, Arizona has a set of the posters, which I photographed there.
“The Cowboys Dream” was the first such poster. The cowboy sleeps on his saddle. In the sky is a cloud in the form of a horse and lady rider. Not legible in my photo is the A-1 brand on the horse’s flank.

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In 1949 “Black Bart” was created. Originally titled ” The Barber and the Bandit.” On the wall behind the scene is a wanted poster featuring the man in the barber’s chair.
In 1950 the “Dude Lady” poster was featured. This poster was not very popular and was thought to be offensive.

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Macro Monday

Fuzzy yellow and black fly

Many insects mimic others in their appearance. This bee-like fly is at high elevation near the Arizona Snow Bowl ski area.

You never know what you might find once you start taking macro photos.  Sometimes tiny insects pop out in flower photos that surprise you, or the detail on a beetle might be so much more elegant than imagined. Sometimes the play of light inside a delicate flower is amazing, yet unappreciated in the normal view. Here is a selection of recent macro photos from around northern Arizona.

Water Skater

This water skater made an exclusive home in the little red wagon until a hail storm ended his reign.

Spider in flower.

Spider in flower.

The flowers of the Lupine come in small clusters.

The flowers of the Lupine come in small clusters.

This Crane's Bill flower plays host to some tiny ants and flying insects.

This Crane’s Bill flower plays host to some tiny flying insects.

The Crab Spider is well camouflaged in the white daisy and quickly devoured the smallest insect.

The Crab Spider is well camouflaged in the white daisy and quickly devoured the smallest insect.

This tiny Thistle bud will grow and eventually bloom with a beautiful purple blossom.

This tiny Thistle bud will grow and eventually bloom with a beautiful purple blossom.

The Loco Weed is easily mistaken for Lupine.

The Loco Weed is easily mistaken for Lupine.