Sunday, May 21, 2017

Adventures at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch: we rescued a Red Eye Slider Turtle

It’s 5:30 a.m. and I’m leaving the house to meet my friend Kathy to explore the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch.  I find a parking space and get my camera gear together when I spot a couple of love birds in the parking lot.  They were on the ground under some trees in a median.  I snap a few photos and off to find my friend Kathy.

 Love Bird

We meet up by the Saguaro cactus and off to pond 7 to see what we can see.  No birds, the pond was almost empty but off to my left I see a Coyote; my first Coyote in the wild!  I snap several shots as he stands and scopes out the dry pond looking for rabbits since no birds were to be found.  The Coyote was off for better hunting ground so we’re off to pond 1 to see if there is any water and birds.


Half way along pond 1 there is a clearing and we found some Canada Geese.  We enjoyed their company for a while and off we went to pond 5.  Along the way, we see Quail and lots and lots of Cottontail Rabbits.

Canada Goose

At pond 5 there was some water but mainly very tall vegetation; no birds and a lot of Cottontail Rabbits.   We looked for Jack the friendly Black-tailed Jackrabbit but so sad no Jack.  I haven’t seen him in over a year.
Peek-a-boo Cottontail Rabbit

Cottontail Rabbit

So off to pond 2 we go.  We come to the first clearing at pond 2 and no birds, so farther down the path we go.  The next clearing there were 4 Mallard ducklings on the shore and no parents!  We kept our distance not to disturb them and I took several photos of the little guys.  We went to the next clearing and still no birds but we decided to stay to see if we could see the mother Mallard; no luck.  While standing there talking a Great Egret flew in, love these majestic birds.  Took several shots and here comes mother Mallard landing in the pond and swimming over to her babies.  Several other mother Mallards swam by with their ducklings; yay some birds!!!

Mallard baby ducks

Great Egret

We decided to go over to pond 6 and yay water!  No birds but water.  We hung around waiting for something to fly in and nothing.  So off to the foot bridge by the to find the Least Bittern Heron.
We are at the bridge and we witnessed two Least Bittern Herons flying out of the reeds.  Of course, we just arrived and I didn’t have my camera ready.  Standing there talking with another photographer we noticed a lot of fishing line and lures tangled in the reeds and we all were concerned about the Least Bittern Herons when we notice a red eared slider caught up in a line.

My friend Kathy decides she can’t take it anymore watching this poor turtle struggle she takes off her shoes and socks, rolls up her jeans and she’s in the water to rescue the turtle.  She finds the turtle totally tangled in the fishing line with a hook through its mouth.  This hook was huge and thick and went all the way through its mouth and out the other side. 


Kathy brought the turtle over to me and a passerby helped cut the fishing line and part of the hook away from the turtle.  Kathy went back to the reeds and cut out several fishing lures and pulled out a lot of fishing line before we helped her out of the water.

Kathy and I were on our way to the parking lot so I could take the turtle to the Arizona herpetological association to see if they could get the hook out.  I called and left several messages but no one was calling me back.  I tried every button I could press but no one was answering the phone!  So I drove home to get the turtle into some water and keep trying to reach the association.

Finally, home my darling hubby had gotten our wash tube out and we put the turtle in there with some water.  I grabbed some needle nose pliers and holding the turtle John was able to push the hook out of its mouth and the turtle was saved!  The turtle was so happy.


So back in the car we go to drive back to the Riparian Preserve to return the poor turtle back to its habitat.  I released the turtle back to the fishing pond where we rescued it but on the other side away from the reeds and fishing line.  The turtle was so excited to get back to its home it couldn’t wait to get back in the water.

Red Ear Slider Turtle back home

All I ask if you need to fish please read the signs and do not fish on the foot bridge!  If you lose your fishing lures jump in the water and retrieve them.  You have no idea how much you are hurting wildlife by leaving your trash behind!

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Time Arizona Lost a National Monument

I was honored today, Arizona Highways used my photo of Papago Park in their article about Arizona losing a National Monument.  The article is about how Papago Saguaro National Monument, created in 1914, lost it's National Park status and became Papago Park in 1930.  It was the very first park in the US to loose it's National Park status.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I won!!!

I'm so excited to be one of the winners of the photo contest by Arizona Game and Fish and Arizona Highways Nature Photography Competition.

My Least Bittern photo will be the month of April in the Nature Photography Calendar for 2017.

There were over 180 photographers that entered and over 1900 photos submitted.  I know I submitted around 30 myself :-)

I am so honored to be among such great photographers and to also have one of my cottontail photos as an honorable mention.

Interested in buying a 2017 wildlife calendar? Arizona Game and Fish welcomes new subscribers to Arizona’s award-winning magazine about wildlife and outdoor recreation. The regular price is $8.50 for six issues (one year), but through Dec. 31, subscriptions are on sale at $7 for seven issues. People who subscribe by Dec. 31 will be sure to receive the calendar issue. The calendar issue is also sold at all Game and Fish offices for $3 starting in mid-November.

If you can't make it by the Phoenix or Mesa Game and Fish offices you can print off an order form and mail it in. More info on their website,

Here is my winning photo and honorable mention photo.

Winning Photo - Least Bittern
Photo taken at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch

Honorable Mention - Cottontail Rabbit
Photo taken at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Great Weekend Hiking Butcher Jones Trail

Had the best day today! Went hiking with two of my buddies from work, Linda and Lindsay. We hiked the Butcher Jones Trail at Saguaro Lake. It's about 3.4 miles one way and ends at Burro Cove.
We started our trip at 7:30 having no idea how long it would take us; according to Lindsay it would take an hour per mile The trail is an easy one suited for hikers of all levels. We meet several hikers on the trail and no problem passing anyone.

Of course I had my camera with me and... decided to take landscape photos today so I left my 500mm lens at home and put on my 18-55mm lens, boy was my camera light today! :-) I'm terrible at landscapes and figured I would practice today and hoped I wouldn't see any wildlife.

The trail basically follows along the lake for most parts. The areas where you are hiking in the mountains when you come to the top of the trail the scenery is breath taking.

When we left Butcher Jones Beach there was a group of paddle boarders following us in the water. They beat us to Burro Cove since they were in the water following along shore, we were zig zagging through the mountain trail. We came up to the last peak and could see Burro Cove at the bottom and they were already there. The view from this point was specular, we all went WOW!

 The lake was busy with boaters, fisherman, water skiers and tubers, kayaks, canoes and jet skis. Every turn and view point we would see something different; everyone having fun on the lake.
We started down the last hill to Burro Cove thinking the end is in sight and it didn't seem like it was over 3 miles when Lindsay came running back to us screaming rattle snake!!!!! She almost stepped on it but heard rattle and went running.

We approached the path with care seeing this fat Diamondback Rattle Snake semi coiled in the middle of the path. I quickly changed lens on my camera to my 300mm to get a better shot of this beautiful snake. I wanted a close up but I didn't want to be close to this guy; yes I'm a little crazy but not stupid :-) I took several photos while he slithered away down the path.

The problem was he stayed on the path so needless to say we never made it all the way down to Burro Cove! So we decided we would hike this trail again in the winter when rattle snakes are hibernating!

The funny thing about this whole snake thing is I told Lindsay and Linda the next time we go hiking I want photos of snakes; well I got my wish. Now Lindsay is afraid of what I might ask for next time :-)

On the way back to Butcher Jones Beach and breakfast we saw a gorgeous Cardinal, he was such a vibrant red; to bad I didn't have my 300mm lens on I changed it back to my wider lens after Mr. Rattle Snake. We also saw chipmunks, lizards and butterflies. A great day for being out in nature.

Here are photos from today’s adventure and I must say some of the landscape photos turned out okay!

Lindsay and Linda before we started our hike

Paddle Boarders

Looking back at Butcher Jones Beach

Cardinal (the little red spec :-) )

Beautiful purple flowers

First cove we hiked around

Saguaro Lake

Another view of Saguaro Lake

Looking down at Burrow Cove


Close view of the first cove

Fisherman in cove 1

Rattle snake that stopped our hike.  They blend in so well.
My favorite shot of the day


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Great Weekend at The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch!

I had a fantastic weekend of photo taking.  Saturday I spent the morning at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch and got some fantastic photos.  Sunday I spent the morning with my friend Amber and her family taking photos in her fabulous garden.  Best weekend ever for photography!!!

Here are photos from Saturday; enjoy...

American Avocet

Blooming Cactus


Curve-billed Thrasher

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron - close up

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Mourning Doves

Gambel's Quail

Female House Sparrow

Monday, April 4, 2016

Butterflies and More Butterflies

I took my first photography workshop last Saturday at Butterfly Wonderland with photographer Lisa Langell.  It was a great experience working with a professional photographer.  She explained things so well and worked one on one with each of us.

After the workshop we got to spend more time in the atrium taking our own photos and practicing what we learned in class.  Time sure fly's when you are having fun I spent another 2 hours after class taking photos.

Below are some of the photos I took from the day.  I don't know all the butterfly names I need to do more research on their names.  Yes there are birds in the atrium also, I know crazy :-)