Friday, February 3, 2017

Whetstone & Whitewater Draw, AZ (1/23/2017)

From my campground, there were several mornings when I could see a mountain range to the north getting very colorful when hit by the first rays of sunlight after the sun rose above the horizon.  I tried to photograph this, but simply could not get a clear shot.  There were just too many obstacles between me and the mountains.

Being out for a sunrise one morning, it became obvious there were not enough clouds to make a good sunrise.  I decided instead to look for a vantage point to see those mountains with the special light.  (It turned out these are called the Whetstone Mountains.) I had maybe fifteen minutes to find a spot, so I rushed about, trying different streets.  Finally, I came upon a dirt road named Sand Springs Ranch Road and gave it a try.  Soon I was completely out of town, no houses, no power lines or poles, just the road and a desert full of mesquite trees.  After five or six miles, I had found a good location just as the light began to hit the mountains.  There was a ranch house at the end of the road, so I couldn't have gone farther anyway.

From here, mountains were visible on both sides of the road.  It was cold out, so I stayed in the LRJ and moved it enough to get different views as the light changed.  Anyone watching might have thought I was insane, but there was no one to watch as I did my thing.  In the end, I got some shots that I really like, and I hope you do, too.

Later that day, I drove to a place called Whitewater Draw, where 20,000 sand hill cranes spend the winter.  A forty mile drive brought me to the unusual sight of a wetlands in the middle of the desert.  As it turned out, the cranes had left for the day, no doubt foraging at regional corn fields that had been harvested.  Although there was not a single crane, there were other birds and water fowl to photograph, including a few "lifers" for me.  The canyon towhee and gadwall duck were the first I've ever seen.

The cinnamon teal, northern shoveler and greater yellowlegs are all species I've observed in the past.

 Another red-tailed hawk eyed me from a power pole before flying away.
Back in Huachuca City that evening, I returned to the Whetstone Mountains for sunset.

1 comment:

  1. OMG . . a fabulous sunrise and magnificent sunset at night . . and great birds in between .. what more could you want . . . ain't life great?