This past weekend was spent mostly resting and catching up on some chores at home. Saturday afternoon we took a spur of the moment trip out to the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area to view the sandhill cranes.
Our previous visits to see the sandhill cranes have been at mid-day when the cranes come in to feed at the wildlife area, so we thought it might be interesting to visit towards sundown. This visit, the cranes were closer to the viewing areas, so I was able to take some better pictures.
The water level was so much lower than in 2011. Here’s a picture I took in January 2011
And the same spot in January 2012
We did see a lot more ducks this year.
And this cute little guy.
Here you can see how shallow the water really was, as the previous bird walks past the ducks …
And on past some tumbleweeds floating in the water.
Last, but certainly not least, I snapped this picture of Bill and I. Can you believe it? I finally got a picture where we both had our eyes open and we were both smiling!
I love that our holding hands made the shadows look like a heart!
Sunday we drove to the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area to see the sandhill cranes return from their morning feeding to roost at the wetland. We first experienced this last year and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. It is quite a site to see hundreds and eventually thousands of sandhill cranes appear in the sky from the north (where their feeding ground is), circle around and land. At first all you see is a faint smudge on the horizon and then you can begin to see their v-formation. But long before that, you can hear them calling to each other, and as more and more birds land, the air is filled with their “trilling” calls.
Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area
It was an absolutely gorgeous day, with cirrus clouds in the sky early and then by noon the clouds had all dissipated.
There were many people there taking pictures with far better cameras than I have. This was the best my zoom function could do:
These ducks were much closer and more cooperative!
As was this duck.
I just couldn’t stop taking pictures!
We picked the perfect day! At first it felt a bit windy, but as it got closer to noon, the wind lessened and the sun warmed us up. By the time we headed back to our car for our picnic lunch, it was warm enough to remove coats. What more can you ask for in January?
We have been living here in Sierra Vista for almost a year now (October 3rd will be one year) and one of the things that I like most about living here is the sky. I’ve always been a sky watcher and the wide open spaces here really make sky watching so much easier. Last week I posted a picture of the clouds obscuring the mountain behind our house. The very next day I took this picture:
It is almost as if you could just reach up and grab one of those clouds! I never get tired of watching the interplay of the clouds with the distant mountains, either obscuring them or casting interesting shadows. And when there are no clouds, the sky is a beautiful blue. Arizonians like to claim the blue sky for their own, but I’ve noticed the same pride in their blue skies by North Carolinians, Alabamians and Floridians.
Here are some more “sky” pictures that I’ve taken in the year we’ve been here:
The Mustangs, from the Sonoita side (west side), November 2009
Box Canyon, between Sonoita and Green Valley, November 2009
Watching the Sandhill Cranes at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, near Elfrida, January 2010
West side of the Huachuca Mountains, May 2010