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Seward, Alaska.
Seward, Alaska.

Last night on day one of a two week quarantine! We sure split our time between two beautiful places! This was just after 10:00 p.m.

I don’t know what I expected, but the flights home were painless. Middle seats intentionally left empty, most travelers wearing masks, and fairly empty airports. It felt safer then going to Costco.

Thirsty Bat

Ron Niebrugge Arizona, Photos, Travel, Tucson Leave a Comment

A bat getting a drink at the reflection table blind, Desert Photo Retreat, Arizona.
A bat getting a drink at the reflection table blind, Desert Photo Retreat, Arizona.

A thirsty bat last night at the reflection table blind!  

I think I have all the bugs worked out. I’m using a Cognisys Sabre for a trigger and the place the camera on bulb. The Sabre actually managed my exposure time. I vary it from 3 seconds at twilight, to 30 seconds in the darkness like you see here. The Sabre then does exposure after exposure waiting for a bat. When a bat does break the beam of the Sabre, it fires my flashes and not the camera. This way I avoid the lag time associated with trigger the camera. Firing the flashes is almost instantaneous. The Sabre then stops the exposure, and begins another one so that I don’t get duplicate bats in the same frame so I can go to bed. 🙂

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

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Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

I was working on perches and setting up some food when I reached down to pick something up off the ground a spotted this western diamondback rattlesnake!   He is obviously been watching me for weeks as it wasn’t the least bit concerned by my presence.  This was four days ago, he has been there ever since moving between the sun and shade depending on the time of day.  It is interesting to see quail pass within a foot or so of this guy without any concern.  

Desert Tortoise

Ron Niebrugge Arizona, Photos, Travel, Tucson 2 Comments

Desert tortoise
Desert tortoise

Desert tortoise just a few minutes ago.  First one I have seen this season.  Cactus, including the saguaros are starting to now bloom in earnest.  Thanks to the cool spring, it seems like things are running about a week later as compared to the last couple of warm years.  The cool weather is over now!

So Close!

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A bat at the water table blind, Tucson, Arizona.
A bat at the water table blind, Tucson, Arizona.

So close! I have been working on bat photography at my water table blind the last few nights. Couldn’t figure out why part of the animal was blurry, it should be tack sharp at 1/16 flash power. It was like the flashes weren’t syncing. Just discovered, I had the flash on the right in high speed sync mode, that would do it! Now I can’t wait to try again. And, to fix up the background edge.

Last Night!

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A bobcat a short time ago this morning.

Last night and this morning at one of the two water holes. It has been busy! Warmer weather helps. Had six different visits by skunks including two at once, a pair of fox who had a fun interaction with a skunk, and three visits by bobcats! Maybe the same one three times, hard to tell. My real camera and flashes were busy chasing bats. 🙂

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Cactus Wren

Ron Niebrugge Arizona, Photos, Travel, Tucson Leave a Comment

This pair of cactus wren is one of many that nest on our property each year.  Desert Photo Retreat, Tucson, Arizona.
This pair of cactus wren is one of many that nest on our property each year. Desert Photo Retreat, Tucson, Arizona.

One of the fun things about spending almost 6 months each year camping on our remote piece of desert is being immersed in nature. Seeing all the changes that take place from week to week is fascinating, including this cactus wren pair.

Today, the cactus wren now have a giant, fully enclosed nest! However, I watched them in mid December placing some of the very first little sticks in the cholla. I captured these photos through the window as I was literally sitting at my desk. The adults would come and go, hopping around on the ground looking for the perfect stick. Once they found it, they would grab it and head straight to the nest with a real sense of purpose. It looked like a half-hazard mess at first, but as time went on, it turned out so nice!

Since we can’t see into the nest without disturbing them, we had no idea how they were doing until almost a month ago when we could hear the sounds of the babies inside. The chorus of sound would triple in volume every time one of the adults would return with a mouth full of bugs! It was hard to not smile watching this busy pair so diligently take care of their young.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened to the off-spring, since I didn’t get to see them fledge. I’m choosing to believe some of the the wren we see hopping around here are offspring. That said, the adults are busy again expanding the nest even further. The second photo shows just how big it is, it must be more that two feet long! When I took these photos a couple of days ago, the adults were mainly bringing feathers and other soft material to the nest, possibly getting ready for a second brood. There are so many similar stories being played out right now. At least two gilded flicker pairs have nests in saguaros on the property, and possibly even more gila woodpeckers. Those chicks of both are really loud! We will be back in Alaska before many of these stories conclude, but will look forward to seeing them all again next winter when new stories will be told.

Cactus wren nest.
The huge nest as seen out the window at my desk.

Mountain Lion Is Back!

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Mountain lion last night at one of our two waterholes.

I measured, this mountain lion was 11 feet from our rv last night! 🙂 Not long after I went to bed – I was out there not too long before this looking for owls, makes you wonder if it saw me. Pretty exciting! For reference, the wood javelina guard is nearly 2 feet tall.

Mountain lion next to the nearly two foot tall barrier.