Thursday, March 12, 2015

Changing of the Guard...

Tucson/Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
March 12, 2015

After coffee and our favorite juice blend we were off early to get Pearl's tires rotated. Something we needed to do before another trail run. Afterwards, I wanted to take my camera to Greg's Cameras Shop (We have been going there for as long as we have been coming to Tucson.) for a going over. Little did I know that my soul mate and number one admirer had a lens picked out he thought I might want. Today is my birthday and what a very thoughtful surprise I had. In addition to having my camera gone over and receiving a very nice gift, we learned of a nesting spot for Great Blue Herons right here in Tucson, Arizona. If you are here in Tucson and need a camera shop, Greg's (6336 N. Oracle Rd. suite #342) is the place to go...they sell Canon and Nikon and all the extras you will want. 
My new lens is a Tamron 150-600mm. It's big and heavy, but boy can it zoom! Joe included a mono-pole for stability and a padded case. 

Silverbell Lake at Christopher Columbus Park

 We didn't waste anytime heading to Silverbell Lake where Greg and Guillermo said the herons were nesting. 

This area is near the Sweetwater Wetlands which is a man-made wetlands that uses recycled treated water to keep the wetlands thriving. I found out today this is one of the top birdwatching spots in Tucson. 
  Most breeding colonies are located with-in 2-4 miles of feeding areas...isolated in swamps or on an island like the one here at Silverbell on earth did herons find Tucson and choose to nest here?

The male heron collects much of the nesting material, gathering sticks and presenting them to the female. The female then weaves a platform and lines it with moss, dry grass, etc. It can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks to complete a nest. A finished nest measures up to 4 feet across and nearly 3.5 feet deep and will be used multiple years.

There are 3 birds in this photo...the one sitting on the nest is in the middle and barely seen. At first I thought maybe it was feeding time...

I did read about a nest relief ceremony in which the birds erect their plumes and "clapper" their bill tips...

And that is what I called "changing of the guard".

I could have spent the whole day watching! 

The lake was full of coots and ducks...

...and the trees were full of birds too.

Until next time, take care and...

happy trails!


  1. I'm afraid I could never hold a lens that still enough even with a mono-pod. Great pics for a first time out. :)

    1. Thank you Judy. I am excited about the challenge and am looking forward to lots of practice!

  2. Now that is one awesome huge lens expecting some more amazing pictures.

  3. Beautiful photos! Looks like you are going to enjoy that new lens!

  4. Beautiful pictures of the birds, now you'll be able to add some wildlife shots as well. Professional Quality.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  5. Wow, Gay! Your photos are gorgeous!! I love that woodpecker looking right at the camera:) Happy Birthday! Your new "toy" seems to work real well!

  6. Wow! That is some lens you've got. I've always enjoyed your pictures and can't wait to see more.

  7. Oh MY !! Color me GREEN ! The clarity and focus of your shots is perfect. What fun you will have. However, you are going to need a sherpa on our San Juan Mtn hikes.....Joe ?? Have a wonderful two have earned it !

  8. Awesome!!! Happy Birthday! Keep the photos coming - we're loving them. Julie

  9. Im green with envy with what the birthday girl got for her present. I know you would give it a whirl the moment you got it and your captures are just gorgeous. I would love to go with you and watch those GBH do their thing.
    I don't think I can carry that camera around. Happy Birthday Gay.

  10. Happy, Happy Happy Birthday Gay. WOW, what a wonderful birthday, surprise present from your honey!! Did you cry? 😉 wonderful, great photos! They make a holder for your hand that helps you hold the camera. Also, when using the mono lower it as much as it will go and sit on the ground, if you can, when taking a shot. Leaning on something sturdy helps, I have seen, in a vid, a women sitting on the ground with the camera and lens resting on her knees. Also, buy some "noodles" to put over your car window and shoot from the car with the lens resting on the noodle. Have fun, shoot often and enjoy life! Happy Birding with your new present!!! How fun!!!