The A6500 & the Sonoran Desert: Set 4

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Rick Cameron
Rick Cameron Regular Member • Posts: 132
The A6500 & the Sonoran Desert: Set 4

Another sampling of shots from the past few months in my new home in Arizona, these are either from Scottsdale or Phoenix and were taken with the A6500 + Sony 100-400mm + Sony 1.4X teleconverter.

"The Woodpecker" A gilded flicker flies from a dead tree at sunrise along the Bootlegger Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

"The Granite Was in a Kind Mood" As I hike the pattern recognition part of my brain is constantly scanning for objects that might be wildlife even though they often turn out not to be. Here in the Sonoran Desert I am fooled by cholla skeletons that look like rattlesnakes, twigs like small lizards, granite protuberances like large lizards. I try to use my mental powers to turn rocks into lizards but usually I fail, rock stays rock. But sometimes I succeed and the rock comes to life, such as this beautiful desert spiny lizard on the Rustler Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Most of the time I see Harris's antelope squirrels at a distance as they scurry about their desert home. Sometimes I get lucky and get to watch one up close for a while, it's always a treat to earn their trust. This little fellow had just finished eating a cactus fruit, you can see some of the green rind he discarded at his feet. The antelopes are smaller than the other ground squirrel in our neck of the desert, the rock squirrel, and different in appearance as well.

"Flight" On the trails my glimpses of black-tailed jackrabbits are normally rather brief but this one I got to watch for a while as it casually moved through the desert, feeding as it went. It was aware of me and the others on the trail, mostly mountain bikers and hikers (none of whom stopped to watch). Our time together came to an end when the jackrabbit took flight as a loud plane passed overhead.

"V" A saguaro at first light on the Chuckwagon Trail. The old ones don't have so many spines left at their base.

"In the Wash" Most of the desert washes I cross when I hike are fairly small but not so Apache Wash, there are signs as you approach warning you not to enter when flooded and the large debris scattered around tells you why. It was damp on the morning I crossed on my first visit to Phoenix Sonoran Preserve but the rains and thus the danger had long since passed the day before, so I and a pair of desert cottontails enjoyed the quiet before the sun came up.

"Sleepy Time Down Southwest" A common side-blotched lizard closes its eyes as it hides deep in the crevice of a rock along the Apache Wash Loop Trail in Phoenix Sonoran Preserve. It was tiny even for a side-blotched lizard so I'm guessing it was fairly young.

If you're ever captured by a villain who's going to punish you by tossing you into a thorny desert plant of your choosing, pick the crucifixion thorn (canotia). Despite the fearsome name, the thorns aren't too sharp and are dense enough that they will likely break your fall more than break your bones. Do not choose the adorably-named teddy bear cholla, its spines are sharp, its spines are many, and the joints break easily so you will carry your pain with you after you escape its embrace.

"Tigers in the Desert" The tiger whiptail is one of the lizards I see most often hiking in the Sonoran Desert. They are frequently on the move looking for insects and small lizards and active in the morning when I'm on the trails, so they more easily catch my eye than some of the other lizards. I arrived in Arizona at the end of March, from what I've read the tigers are mostly active from April to August, and that seems true as I haven't seen one in a while.

"Red is the Color Of" Early on a summer morning, a white-winged dove uses its tongue to eat from deep within the fruit of a saguaro. The red covering many of the spines atop the cactus is not blood but rather pulp and juice from already-eaten fruit.

 Rick Cameron's gear list:Rick Cameron's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS M Canon EOS 7D Mark II Sony a6500 Canon EF 500mm f/4.0L IS USM +12 more
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