Photo Friday: Gilbert Riparian Preserve Part II

Last week I introduced the Gilbert Riparian Preserve, complete with photos of the surrounding plants and wildlife.  This week, I’d like to share a few more photos, taken just last month on a very humid July morning.

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With the overcast sky, temperature hovering just above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and 60% humidity, the preserve had a very sub-tropical ambiance.

The ducks in the pond near the entrance of the preserve were up and about.

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As I began my hike into the preserve, I noticed a few signs around the preserve that contained random facts about the universe in general.  Here is one such sign about Jupiter.

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I suppose these help entertain those of us here for a morning walk.

As I moved further into the preserve, I came across a neat little babbling brook, which I had  somehow missed on previous visits.

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At another pond was a completely different flock of birds than the ones found at the entrance.

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I also came across a dragonfly and a hummingbird.

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The egrets and herons were also in abundance during this visit.

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Thankfully, I didn’t see any snakes on this visit.  I did however catch more than just a glimpse of the numerous jackrabbits running around the preserve.

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This was definitely a great way to wake up and start my morning.

Photo Friday: Gilbert Riparian Preserve Part I

Over the past year, I’ve discovered a hidden gem among a primarily developed area known as the Gilbert Riparian Preserve.  The preserve is 110 acres big, contains 8 ponds and claims to have over 200 species of birds residing in the preserve.  The best part is, it is free and open to the public.

This week’s post is a brief introduction to the preserve with photos from my initial visit last spring.  Next week, I’ll post photos from my most recent visit.

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1 of 8 ponds located in the preserve. 

Towards the north end of the preserve is an observatory and a small lake for urban fishing.

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Small lake at north entrance.

The plant life is mostly native desert plants, including cotton, cacti and succulents.  

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There are numerous walking trails making the Gilbert Riparian Preserve a great option for peaceful walks. But watch out, there are a few ground dwellers running around the preserve, including this rattlesnake who was making his own path through the preserve. 

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There are maps available, as well as plenty of signs displaying the latitude and longitude- in case you get lost.

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There are many areas within the preserve that mimic a wetland.  Some of the larger birds, like egrets and herons, congregate in these areas.

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Photo Friday: Zoo Lights

Every year, The Phoenix Zoo strings up festive lights and invites the public to tour the zoo at night.  Below are some photos from the event.

Peacock

Bet you’ve never seen a peacock this bright!

Rams and Squirrel

What do you call two rams butting heads, a squirrel and a couple of bats? Yeah, I don’t know either!

Scorpion and Rattlesnake

This would be the only time a scorpion is a delightful site. 

Snails

Escargot anyone?

Tree Ornaments

Random ornaments in trees.  I…couldn’t get a better shot than this.

GnomeLook! It’s the Travelocity Roaming Gnome! Oh wait, it’s just a hired impersonator.

Despite my snarky comments above, Phoenix Zoo Lights is a favorite event in the PHX and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.  If you ever find yourself in Phoenix in December, I’d highly recommend attending Phoenix Zoo Lights.

Photo Friday: An Afternoon at Cabrillo Redux

Hi there!  Hope most of you are enjoying this transition from summer to fall.  For this week’s Photo Friday, I’ve opted to update a post from last summer.  The photos below are from my visits to the Cabrillo National Monument back in October 2009 and March 2010.

Cabrillo National Monument is located at the very tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in California.  This national park, which is very affordable at $5.00 per car (2010 prices – do check current prices if you decide to go), provides breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. To see the exhibits at the Visitor Center and walk the path around the lighthouse takes approximately an hour.

From the top of Cabrillo National Monument, you can actually see the San Diego Bay and part of downtown.

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Photo Friday: Public Art Compilation

I started doing Photo Friday posts in March 2012, just six months ago.  I started out with photos of public art I’d taken, then moved onto nature photos and other things.

It has been too hot to wander around the city taking pictures of  public art pieces.  At the same time I’ve noticed August has been a little slow around WordPress as we’re all trying to deal with busy summer work schedules, summer vacations and back to school.

Since I’ve picked up many more readers since starting these Photo Friday posts, I figured now would be a good time to revisit past Photo Fridays focused on public art.  Enjoy! Continue reading

Photo Friday: Blinding Sun

We all know you aren’t supposed to look straight on at the sun.  So for kicks I aimed my camera phone towards the sky, looked away and clicked a picture of the otherwise blinding and bright afternoon sun.   This was on my way to the bus stop near a building provides shade on the walk to the stop, so it’s not as though I was just wandering around outside in the summer for fun.

I just thought it looked cool and wanted to share it.  All my pictures of the sun are sunsets (see Photo Friday: Sundown at San Diego Bay for an example).

Photo Friday: Out for a Swim

Though it doesn’t have the clarity I’d prefer, this was the best I could do without scaring off this pair of quails in my backyard, who were checking out the pool.  They didn’t actually get in, but I think they were contemplating it.  I just thought it was a great visual to kick off the weekend. 🙂

Photo Friday: The Dog Days of Summer

Since I don’t mention the weather enough in my blog (yeah right), I decided to incorporate a few fun facts about the term “dog days of summer”.  What does it mean? Why do we use the term?

The term comes from Sirius, a.k.a the dog star.  Sirius goes through cycles where it rises and sets at the same times as the Sun.  The Egyptians and Romans saw that the dog star coincided with the height of the summer heat and posited that Sirius was adding to the heat.

The “dog days of summer” in the northern hemisphere  is defined as the time period from 20 days before Sirius coincides with the Sun to 20 days after.  This typically begins early July and runs through mid-August, though it can extend to early September depending on the region.

In Phoenix for example,  the monsoon storm season can run through late August – even past Labor Day which results in a longer period of heat and high humidity.

I thought this picture of my uncle’s little doggie was a great visual for “dog days of summer”.  I snapped this in early June when it was still somewhat tolerable outside (which would be before the onset of the dog days).  We were grilling some hot dogs and this guy was enjoying the sunshine in the early part of the afternoon. Of course, after about 10 minutes he ran back inside.

For more information on the term “dogs days of summer”, check out these links:

http://www.factmonster.com/spot/dogdays.html

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=178/

Photo Friday: Accidental Snapshot

Back in the day when I had to use a regular old camera to take pictures, I always seemed to accidentally use up 1-2 pictures per roll.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a roll of film to get developed only to find a picture of:

-A shot of the floor or

-Wadded up tissues from the inside of my purse or

-A wall

Seems my affinity for snapping a photo by mistake has continued into the digital age.  While taking some photos in vicinity of Chase Field, my camera went off while I was climbing up some stairs at the Phoenix Convention Center.  I kept the picture because I thought the twisty staircase actually looked cool.  Maybe I have weird tastes.  Anyhow, below is the accidental snapshot.

Do you have any interesting tales of photos that should have never been?

Photo Friday: Her Secret Is Patience

Nestled in between the light rail station/bus depot and the Arizona State University Downtown campus is Phoenix Civic Space Park.  It’s a rather small park – containing a public conference building with a coffee shop downstairs and wide outdoor spaces to relax and enjoy the outdoors.  But the one thing the park is known for is the giant public art piece hanging above the park.

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Photo Friday: PB&J

Every year my company does a peanut butter and jelly drive during the summer to donate to local foodbanks.  The TV station on the bottom floor of my building (yes, the same building that was evacuated just days earlier and no I don’t work in the TV station) was doing a feature to kickoff the month-long food drive for the 4pm newscast in the lobby of the building.  I couldn’t help but take some snapshots of the event.  I took the picture from the atrium area above the lobby – no way I was taking a chance of showing up on the news! Continue reading