Sonoran Desert Sunset

Sonoran Desert Sunset

11 April 2016


(Click on any image to enlarge)

Early this morning on Facebook I discovered that a friend had nominated me to post  seven images of nature/landscapes over the next seven days.  I gathered that in addition I was invited to nominate a new friend with the task each day.  Unlike chain letters and similar schemes, this project posed no loss or risk, and guaranteed that someone's life would be brightened if I pitched in.

So I did, but with my own twist.  In addition to nominating a new FB friend each day, rather than participate as a competitor by posting photos I've taken myself (most of which are buried in storage), I decided to post images by contemporary nature photographers, including a photo credit.  Each image will be of a place or a creature with which I'm very familiar.  Thus I hope to expand everyone's awareness of these significant visual artists, creating a spreading-ripple effect which enriches us all.

My first image is by Rene Clark, whose Dancing Snake Nature Photography gallery is brimming with photos from southern Arizona.  This is a fellow I sorely miss.  When one says the word 'desert', most folks think of barren landscapes.  Not so.  The Sonoran Desert is its own Garden of Eden ~ you just have to understand the conditions which limit or encourage survival.

Take an early morning desert walk, away from people.  As the rising sun tops the horizon, several dozen bird species will begin tuning up to greet the day, proclaim their territory, attract a mate, or (anthropomorphizing like crazy here) join in the dawn symphony.  Among them may be this handsome lad, one which very few non-desert humans will ever see ~ a male Phainopepla who is most unusual among desert birds for his striking jet-black plumage and blood-red eye.  Though he may look like a Goth variant on a Cardinal, he's actually a northern outlier of the Central American flycatcher family Ptiliogonatidae, the silky flycatchers.

(Photo credit ~ male Phainopepla, by Rene Clark)

Enjoy, and stand by tomorrow, same time, over most of this same station .... 

(Phainopepla range map)

Two more by Rene ~ 

Northern Crested Caracara, a magnificent bird
caught in the undignified  position of biting off
more than he could swallow !


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