Archive for the ‘Riparian zone’ Tag

Hutton’s Vireo   1 comment

Hutton’s Vireo — Image by kenne

Hutton’s Vireo is a small songbird that bears an uncanny resemblance to a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. They can be
found in the Pacific coastal regions, where they tend to be richer green and yellow. However, in southeastern
Arizona, they are grayer like this one I photographed recently in the Cienega Creek Preserve. 

— kenne


Verdin In Sabino Canyon Riparian Area   Leave a comment

Verdin in Sabino Canyon-Edit-1-art-72.jpgVerdin In Sabino Canyon Riparian Area — Photo-Artistry by kenne

His call is clear
a chip followed
by another chip
then another
moving as in a
constant motion —
chip, chip.

— kenne

Sabino Canyon Fall Colors Panoramas   4 comments

Sabino Canyon Fall Colors_Panorama1 blog

Sabino Canyon Fall Colors Panorama--3 blog

Sabino Canyon Fall Colors Panorama- blog

Sabino Canyon Fall Colors -Panorama2 blog

Sabino Canyon Fall Colors Panorama--2-blog

Hutches Pool

Sabino Dam Fall Colors Panorama-blog

Sabino Canyon January colors-0845 Panorama blog-2Sabino Canyon Fall Colors Along Sabino Creek Panoramas — Photo-Essay by kenne



Riparian Landscape In Sabino Canyon   2 comments

MMM 02-04-13Riparian Landscape, Sabino Canyon — Image by kenne

As I grow older
the world becomes
stranger with new
challenges paired with
own anxieties from
which I work on
a new story of life.

— kenne

January In Sabino Canyon   Leave a comment

January 1st Colors- blogJanuary In Sabino Canyon (View from the Bluff Trail, January 1, 2018) — Panorama by kenne


Wild Balsam Apple Seedpod — Hanging Dry On The Vine   Leave a comment

wild-balsam-apple-0538-seed-pod-art-blogWild Balsam Apple Seedpod — Computer Art by kenne

A spiny seed pod

Left hanging dry on the vine

Wild balsam apple.

Late Fall In Sabino Canyon Photo Essay   Leave a comment

The large cottonwoods, Arizona Sycomore, Ash, Willows common to riparian area along Sabino Creek share their color around the Holiday Season — nature’s gift to our beautiful canyon.

The trail leads through
the towering saguaros,
I search for yellows and reds
near the dry creek.

Leaves in sequence fall
fulfilling the plan
guarded by nature
in fragments of gold.

I stopped to wonder,
not knowing the random
planting in the entrails
of Sabino Canyon.

— kenne

Images by kenne

Ladder-backed Woodpecker   2 comments

Ladder-backed Woodpecker (1 of 1) blogA Ladder-backed Woodpecker in the Riparian Zone of Sabino Canyon (March 10, 2016) — Image by kenne

In among willow  branches 

the red-headed woodpecker

runs up the tree

foraging for food.

— kenne


Plant Adaptation Makes For A Very Diverse Sonoran Desert   6 comments

Being able to adapt is fundamental to all organisms to survive in their ecological niche or habitat. This ability is often more evident in harsh environments such as the desert. Plants need water and sunlight, some more or less than others.

Here in the Sonoran desert, plants that can adopt to a lot of sun and little water adopt well to the hot, dry conditions. While plants needing more water have adapted to conditions near water, i.e., riparian areas where annual foliage plants color the desert at this winter solstice time of year.

Sabino Canyon Colors Dec 2013-9177 blogPlant Adaptation In The Desert — Image by kenne

Another example of plant adaptation can be found on rocky canyon wall facing the north in Sabino Canyon, just a few hundred feet from where the above photo was taken — there is no direct sunlight this time of year. Even in dry conditions, the wall can provide a perfect hitch for fern, moss and “resurrection” plants.

However, what really caught my attention was a small saguaro cactus that was growing out of the north canyon wall, which had fallen over and has continued to grow. Given the size of the plant and the fact that saguaros are very slow-growing plants, taking 6-7 years to grow an inch in the beginning of what can be a 200 year life, this still small cactus is probably about 20 years old — talk about plant adaption.

This guy is a real survivor!


P.S. Today we are getting much-needed rain in the desert with snow above 4,000 feet. The ferns, moss and resurrection plants will really green-up over the next days.

Sabino Canyon Colors Dec 2013-9198 blogSaguaro Cactus — Image by kenne

Down By The Creekside   2 comments

MMM 02-04-13Creekside — Image by kenne

Monitoring grass
Where the dead covers new growth
Down by the creekside

— kenne

Capturing The Moment — Cooper’s Hawk In The Olive Tree   5 comments

Copper's Hawk-8836-2 blogCooper’s Hawk — Image by kenne

It is not unusual to see cooper’s hawks here in the Sonoran Desert, even in my neighborhood. The Tucson area has one of the most dense populations to be found anywhere. Usually nesting in riparian areas, they are not always that easy to photograph. Because of their amazing flying ability, I usually see them flying low to the ground, through and between trees. The water fountain under the olive tree on our patio sometimes attracts a Copper’s hawk, not because of the water, but because of the smaller birds attracted to the water — they are a deadly bird-predator. This time I happen to have my camera near the patio door, making this image possible.


Cooper’s Hawk (with apologies to Wordsworth)
by Michael Konik

Regal, as if touched by royalty, you light upon the wire,
Surveying the buffet of opportunity below, where we
Who cannot soar, cannot glide, forlornly aspire
To shed our earthly shackles and be free. 

You cannot be called a kind and caring raptor,
A patient pedant, with heart o’erflowing with generosity.
Your icy mission is starkly clear: to be a heartless captor
That kills and disembowels without pause for ruminant philosophy.

Yet we who walk upon the land, prisoners of gravity
Observe your single-mindedness with grudging admiration.
We see not a murderer swimming in a sea of depravity
But a champion inspiring our solemn approbation.

That To Which The Heart Gives Birth   2 comments

MMM 02-04-13

“Window To The Sky”

MMM 02-04-13Images by kenne

The Eye Of The Beholder

IF, as they tell in stories old, 
The waters of Pactolus roll’d 
Over a sand of shifting gold; 

If ever there were fairies, such 
As those that charm the child so much, 
With jewels growing ’neath their touch; 

If, in the wine-cup’s sweet deceit, 
There lies a secret pleasant cheat, 
That turns to beauty all we meet; 

The stream, the fairy, and the wine, 
In the first love of youth combine 
To make its object seem divine. 

No golden sand of fabl’d river, 
No jewel glittering for ever, 
No wine-born vision’s melting quiver, 

In vivid glory can compare 
With that which we ourselves prepare 
To throw round that we fancy fair. 

Never such beauty glittered yet, 
In golden beams of suns that set 
On cupola and minaret. 

Never such beauty met men’s eyes 
In silver light of moons that rise 
O’er lonely lakes ’neath tropic skies. 

The world holds nothing of such worth, 
There ’s nothing half so fair on earth, 
As that to which the heart gives birth: 

External beauties pall and fade; 
But that which my own soul hath made, 
To my conception, knows no shade. 

To every ark there comes a dove, 
To every heart from heaven above 
Is sent a beauty born of love. 

The moonlit lake, the waving trees, 
It is the eye which looks on these 
That makes the loveliness it sees. 

Out of myself the beauty grows, 
Out of myself the beauty flows 
That decks the petals of the rose. 

So, when at Ada’s feet I lay, 
And saw her glorious as the day, 
’Twas my own heart that lent the ray. 

James Lionel Michael

Capturing The Moment — Little Lemonhead   Leave a comment

Ned's Nature Walk -- 01-1-09-13Little Lemonhead — Image by kenne

Winter brings its own beauty, but flowers are not usually part of the picture. In the Santa Catalina foothills of the Sonoran Desert there exist a plant with small yellow heads with narrow yellow rays. The above image was taken yesterday in the Sabino Canyon riparian area near the Sabino Canyon Dam.

Another image of this plant, by Ned Harris, can be viewed on Ann Green’s blog, Sabino Canyon.


Now That There’s Water In The Creek, We Are Ready For The Season   5 comments

Phoneline 12-21-12

Maribeth's iPhone Photo

Maribeth’s iPhone Photo

Now a little over a week ago, we received rain in southern Arizona for the first time in months. The creek in Sabino Canyon had been dry for some time. Yes, there were a few pools here and there with a few gila chub, the native fish found in the creek, but no running water. For weeks I’ve had elementary school kids stand above the dam telling them they were “walking on water”, only that it was a few feet below the sand. It’s amazing how the desert begins to transform from the site of water running through the canyon — a site for dry eyes!

Then,  there is the sound of water causing one to rush down to the water-side, like a magical sound of the piper.

Yesterday, some of us were hiking through the Sabino Canyon riparian area enjoying the winter solstice colors along the creek — tis the season to be merry! 


Phoneline 12-21-12

Phoneline 12-21-12

Phoneline 12-21-12Images by kenne

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be As Good As Ned!   1 comment

Ned Harris is my Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist (SCVN) mentor. He is also a super photographer. So, one might ask, why am I posting one of my photos with one of his photos? Yes, it does seem crazy! But, there is a “method to my madness.” 

First, I want to share an example Ned’s photo skills and urge you to visit his Flickr site (Ned Harris’ Photostream) to see more of the Gray Hawk pictured below and many other excellent raptors photos — he’s one of the best!

Second, as Ned knows, wildlife photography is all about being at the right place at the right time, and that’s not all luck. You have to help make things happen.

Yesterday we both were out trying to be in the “right place at the right time” — I in Sabino Canyon, Ned in Aravaipa Canyon. As I walked in the riparian area above the Sabino Canyon Dam, I saw a Copper’s Hawk above me. I quickly readied my camera to capture the moment — in a split second, I took the shot the hawk dove back and down away from me. But, to be correct, I wasn’t as ready as I should have been, which you can tell from the image below.

Ned, however, is driving down the road and sees a gray hawk on a telephone cable. As he slows down to pull over, he turns off the SUV engine to reduce noise, coming to a stop. Then, sliding over from the driver’s seat, he takes some stunning images with the camera in hand. 

Talk about “right place, right time,” but more importantly, he has the camera instinct to create those moments we all hope for when we put a camera in our hands. 

— kenne

Copper’s Hawk In Sabino Canyon — Image by kenne

Gray Hawk with Desert Spiny Lizard — Image by Ned Harris

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