Water – Precious to All

Tucson’s post-summer temperatures have been high – think climate change. Javelinas, bobcats, owls, rabbits, coyotes, Gambrel quails, doves all need water. The animals have a water dish available all day and all night. In exchange, I have the option to record their visits.

For images, I use a Browning trail camera (Model BTC-5HD). I wind the strap around a nearby tree, and flip the battery button. The camera eye responds to motion and records every flick of a feather. The six AA batteries store enough energy for several months.

I’m posting images taken at the end of April and early May. Javelina are thirsty creatures and will drink the saucer dry. When that happens, the other animals must wait until morning for a refill. My daytime wish for a hawk to drop in has not happened. However, my powers of wishful thinking will eventually bring a big bird to the dish. In the meanwhile, consider the challenges desert creatures endure every single day. Water is precious to all.

In a Few Words . . . .

An information sign works best when stated in a few words. For example: a speed limit sign. Whenever a sign designer’s creativity clicks with me, I’ll take a picture. That brings me to today. While the corona virus encourages me to keep socially distant, I’ve had time to make a slide presentation. The image “Evolution and Psychology . . . ” taken in a northern Virginia suburb was shared by a friend, John McC. who also likes signs.

May the images bring a smile and brighten the moment for you.

Stay safe everyone.

1962 Bel Air Chevrolet – Rhyolite, NV

An easy seven miles on Route 374 separate Rhyolite, NV from Death Valley National Park. Set into the Bullfrog Hills, the mining town was abandoned in 1920. Still the site invites curious travelers to scout the area for whatever catches their eye. Chain link fencing surrounds the train station, an old caboose has nowhere to go, and the concrete shell of a bank building looms large. I gave all my attention to a ’62 Chevrolet with a rusted firewall.

The old Chevy has held up despite the affects of oxidation. Its firewall displays beautiful compositions in line, color, and texture.

***

Jack Beal Mosaics – Times Square

New York City, ever an adventure in art, culture, and life itself, came to the fore in the 41st IRT subway (7th Avenue). The much-admired Jack Beal (1931 – 2013) mosaics have, no doubt, been photographed many, many times. I had to have my own images of The Onset of Winter and The Return of Spring. The murals depict the Greek myth of Persephone, the goddess of spring. Kidnapped by Hades, she was forced to live in the underground for half of the year. Demeter, her mother and goddess of harvest, asked Zeus to intervene. Long story – Persephone and her mother were reunited for half of the year. Thus, earth has six months of springtime and summer.

 

 

A Beautiful Beetle

Since childhood I have been curious about creatures assigned to the insect world. I recall happy summer hours collecting bugs from Newark’s parks and backyards. Of course, our apartment attracted non-collectibles such as water bugs, flies, ants, mosquitoes, and roaches. My mother’s precious rose garden attracted Japanese beetles. A bug’s life usually ended with a squirt of Raid or the heel of a shoe.

Jumping ahead many years – Tucson has its share of insects. Two weeks ago I found a most interesting bug in the garage. Sadly, the palo verde beetle was dead. Trapped in the garage, the beetle could not escape the still, hot air. Dead on its back, almost 3″ long with a lustrous, armor-like body, the beetle became my focus. I’m finished taking pictures of Buster and wonder what to do with the him. For now, he’s on the dining room table.

Beetle Life – a rather simple first stage, egg to larvae. In the grub stage, the insect lives underground and feeds on the roots of palo verde trees. After a few years (2 – 4) in the dark and in the monsoon season, palo verde beetles surface and fly off to find a mate.  When the female deposits her fertilized eggs, she dies. (I don’t know when Buster beetle kicks off.) Life above ground lasts for perhaps a month, and the cycle begins again.

Palo Verde Beetle Images

Postscript: I wanted the images shown in slideshow format. Word Press in its infinite wisdom says I must use Java Script. Nuts to that! I’m not about to learn Java Script since I’ve used the slideshow format before.

 

Desert Nocturne

 

Sonoran desert animals are awake and busy in the dark of night. Except for an occasional coyote kill or an owl’s hoot, the cottontail rabbits, javelina, and bobcats move about ever so quietly. The animals that come for a drink take turns at the water dish. Javelina travel in packs. They will get pushy and jockey for the last drop. When that happens, the adults root into the irrigation hoses in search of more water. Life in the desert must have that precious liquid.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As daylight fades, I take the field camera outside and wind the strap around a tree. An Ultra Plus 16 GB disc is in place. I flip the On button and cross my fingers. Some nights are really slow – typical of any watering hole.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Sunny Puerto Rico

A week of sun and fun in Puerto Rico – when I lived in New York, I’d take 3-day weekend trips to San Juan. Lutece on the Beach, a favorite guest house in Ocean Park, is now just a picture on a postcard. Condo towers, hotels, and gated communities are the new normal. Still, the charm remains in historic Old San Juan, Luquillo, El Yunque, and La Perla. If you haven’t been to the island, I say, go and enjoy! We rented a car from Alamo and got right into stampedes of wild drivers. For all the recklessness, I never saw a collision.

Our first destination and reason to visit was the Arecibo Observatory. The internet has all the facts about the world’s second largest single-dish radio telescope. Nearby on PR-10 is Cueva Ventana with two small dry caves and guided tours. On the eastern end of the island is beautiful Luquillo Beach. We went back to El Yunque, a rain forest with hiking trails, waterfalls, and a zipline. The road down the back side of the mountain is still being repaired. Remember Hurricane Maria?

We stopped for a seafood lunch at Ernestina’s in Luquillo. Then on to lovely road that skirts the beach to Loiza. On a gorgeous Sunday people spread out on the beach, under trees, and in the water. We met a woman who after living in Miami for eight years has returned to the island. She’s happy with her decision. Life is good!

Old San Juan, another favorite place to explore. We scheduled a 2-hour walking tour with David Rodriquez (recommend). Since the Harmony of the Seas (6,000+ passengers) was docked in the harbor, streets were crowded with tourists. Ships stay for a day and sail on. Those tourist dollars sure help the economy. We had the rental car and slithered it through the narrow street of La Perla, and visited the cemetery. A 75 cent ferry drive takes passengers from the harbor over to Catano. We wanted to take a bus from Catano to Bayamon, but let that idea pass. The interior bus the windows were opaque – what was that all about? No view, no bus ride.

Explore Puerto Rico – the islands of Vieques and Culebra. So much to see and, indeed, tourist dollars will help the economy.  Enjoy the photos!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.