Saturday, June 27, 2009

RRPC: Wildlife in the Wash

Note to self: having the dogs along is not conducive to getting good close-up shots of wild animals.

A curve-billed thrasher. Not a bunny.

But I tried. For this week's Round Robin Photo Challenge, "Wildlife," as suggested by Nancy of Nancy Luvs Pix, I originally intended to go into the mountains, or to Sabino Canyon; but I ran out of time. (I may yet do this later this weekend.) Instead, per John's suggestion, I took the dogs to the wash, and looked for bunnies there.

A Gambel's Quail hurries away. Not a bunny,
but as hard to photograph with dogs in tow.

Wait a sec, you may be saying. The wash?

Alamo Wash on Friday evening.

I never heard of this meaning for that word either, until we moved to Tucson in 1986. A wash is a river or creek bed that is dry most of the time, but fills up with water during storms, especially during the monsoon (rainy season). The other name for a wash is arroyo. The one nearest our house, the Alamo Wash, runs north and south through many Tucson neighborhoods, including a stretch between the athletic fields of Palo Verde High School and Terra del Sol Park. That's where I took the camera and the dogs on Friday afternoon. I should have brought fresh batteries for the camera as well.

Also not a bunny. Lizards are ubiquitous here, and nothing to fear.

I first took the dogs for a walk along the alley that edges Alamo Wash two weeks ago, on June 13th. The thrasher photo is from a few days after that. I wanted to find you something besides birds, because I've been photographing lots of birds lately and because I personally prefer mammals. In theory, our neighborhood has coyotes and desert cottontails, a smattering of bird species (mostly doves), lizards and various insects. This is a 50-year-old neighborhood in an established part of the city, so we can't expects bobcats or javalinas, chuckwallas or gila monsters. Still, the wash and the two alleyways that edge it, one on each side, are as close to nature as I'm likely to get without driving to the mountains. So that's where we went, up one alley and down the other. I did take the dogs briefly into the wash itself, but didn't like the footing given my history of sprained and broken ankles.

Look! A bunny! Technically it's a desert cottontail.

Even the desert creatures known to live in and around the Terra del Sol neighborhood are not too likely to turn up late on a Friday afternoon, They're especially unlikely to come in camera range of a woman with two dogs on leashes. At first it looked as though I wasn't going to see anything but doves and a few other birds. Ten minutes in, I actually said, "This isn't a happening thing, puppies. I don't think we're going to see any bunnies today. Oh! There's a bunny!"

The bunny was far away, and ran down the wash and up the other side to the other alley, taking refuge in the same place I saw one go ten days before. But I zoomed the camera where I thought he was, and got the photo you see above.

The alleyway immediately east of Alamo Wash

I've done much better with wildlife photos in the past. John and I got some great pictures of a wide variety of critters in our other house in the 1980s, in a much less domesticated neighborhood near the Tucson Mountains. I've also photographed rabbits and pronghorns in New Mexico, and lots of birds in Reid Park. But I didn't want to settle for Reid or reruns this time, so the photos above will have to do for now. I'll try to top them before the weekend is over. Meanwhile, let's take a look at the other Robins' wildlife photos!

Linking List

Nancy - Posted!
Nancy Luvs Pix

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Steven - Posted!

Shutterly Happy (new blog title)

Jama - Posted!
Sweet Memories

Molly Mavis - Posted!
Visual Dialogues

Peggy - Posted!
Holmespun Fun Memes and Themes (new blog)

Vicki **Welcome, New Member** - Posted!
Beach Bum

Connie - Posted!
Far Side of Fifty Photos

Visual Chronicle


Betty - Posted!
a corgi in southern california

alexa - Posted!
imagination pounces

Irene - Posted!
Notes from the Lion City

Suzanne R - Posted!
SuzyQ421's Photo Blog

Linda - Posted!
Linda's Window

Ways I See the World

Sandra - Posted!
A Cappuccino a day

Carly - Posted!

Jen - Posted!
Phun with Photography

Linda - Posted!
Mommy's Treasures

I'll catch up with everyone after I've slept some more. See you later!



visualdialogues said...

Great shots! You did well, I'm sure that your dog loved to come along - on location shooting wildlife!

Have a good weekend. Thanks for sharing.

Carly said...

Hi Karen

Nice shots. I really liked seeing the bunny, and the lizard was nice too.

Tara said...

Ohhhhh! I miss being able to capture bunnies. Since we moved out to Vail, we've lost all the wild animals that used to roam our old neighborhood and even our backyard. Occasionally, I'll see a coyote towards I-10 but that's it.

Great shots!


a corgi said...

I had to laugh because I had the same difficulty getting pictures of the wildlife that usually are in our backyard; either I couldn't get to my camera in time or the corgi scared them away. I had to settle for a lizard and doves.

cute pictures and I enjoyed the narrative along with them. when we lived in Santa Fe, arroyos were all over the place. We never got that much rain though when we were there to see some fill up


Nancy said...

I never know whether I like your photos or your commentaries most! Both are awesome.

Such a cute entry!


Far Side of Fifty said...

Oh I enjoyed this! Great post Karen, dogs and all! I do take Chance, he likes the hunt too..usually our hunts are by car..and he is very quiet! Your trip through the wash got you a bunny and a lizard!! :)

Suzanne R said...

Very nice narrative and pictures of your trek through the arroyo. I especially like the lizard, and that was a lucky shot of the bunny. Great job!

Vicki said...

Nice photos! I'm glad we finally got to see a bunny!!

Martha said...

Nice entry Karen! Thanks for stopping by :-)

Jama said...

The nearest I can get to wildlife is at the Zoo, you're lucky to be living in a big country with wildlife practically sharing your neighbourhood.