Saturday, April 24, 2010

Count down to camping, count up the spring migrants!

Is it still "getting away from it all" when you have to take so much STUFF along? Tent, sleeping bags, stove, cooler, utensils.... (sigh).

Ah, well, we're approaching preparedness and I think we'll manage to keep it reasonable, anyway.

It's a little disconcerting to be on the verge of a camping trip when the weather all about us is completely unruly. Fortunately our route to the south looks better than the route directly west. Twenty minutes up the pass from here it looks like this today:

Nice, huh? We're turning the heat on in the house again this morning, and I'm clinging desperately to an improved forecast for the next few days.

Still, the crazy spring isn't ALL bad. Yesterday morning's walk started out cold and gray and lonely, but ended in a bit of a surprise party, just for me. 

I get a little "funny" about walking just now-- determined that every single day should yield some new sign of the advancing season. Halfway through my walk it looked as if I was going to get skunked (figuratively, not literally). Not one new winged arrival and several species "missing," no doubt hunkered down out of the wind. Bummer.

But as I approached Frantz Lake I heard some sort of cacophony... gulls? Hm. I don't see a lot of gulls here, maybe 2 or 3 at a time during migration... up to a dozen on a "really good" day.

It turned out to be a really, really, really good day, as I found 150 Franklin's gulls swirling and wailing against a steel gray sky. Below them? 60-plus white-faced ibis. I'd seen one ibis a few weeks ago and a couple of gulls last week... but THIS? Yeah, baby. Great.

And I was the only one around to see it.

Adding to the delight of the spectacle were two snowy egrets, my coveted first-of-the-season arrivals for the day. They looked like tattered plastic grocery bags caught in a still-bare tree, but, nope.... egrets. Finally.

 Sadly, all I have is a little point-and-shoot camera, so you'll have to take my word for it. You can trust me, though. I would never joke about spring arrivals.

The blue squares still hang forlornly on the rack, as an illustration deadline demanded my attention the second half of the week. That's done... so after a few more pre-trip errands this morning I'll see if I can't make post-able progress on the print before departure, too. Just in case I don't manage it, though, I wish everyone a great week. Sketches from the canyon when we return!


  1. What an amazing day you had. Yeah, bummer snow but o my G-d, what a view! I know I've said this before but those mountains...
    In Toronto it's warm but hey, there's nothin' to look at.
    Congrats on the juried show.

  2. It is a vicarious pleasure to walk with you...thanks for such a visual feast. Can't wait to see your drawings from the Grand Canyon. And welcome to AZ!