Seeing Things, Saying Things

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Posts Tagged ‘Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

Beavers in the Desert

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I didn’t know that the Sonoran Desert had beavers until I visited the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson.

When I think of a desert I think of an arid land devoid of water.

The definition of desert at describes a desert as “a region so arid because of little rainfall that it supports only sparse and widely spaced vegetation or no vegetation at all.”

Yet the Sonoran Desert has ample plant life, including the iconic Saguaro cactus plants that often define the American Southwest.

Apparently there are pockets of water in the desert in which animals such as beaver can flourish.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department reports that beavers can be found along several permanent streams, some of the larger river stretches, certain shallow lakes, and even a few dirt-lined canals.

I photographed this beaver swimming along in a display at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson.


Written by csanders429

January 19, 2018 at 6:58 am

Hummingbird Please Fly Away, Fly Away

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The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson has a walk-in aviary that allows visitors to get close to the birds.

I knew from a previous visit that there were hummingbirds inside the aviary.

Perhaps you’ve seen photographs of a hummingbird hovering in flight.

My objective was to create such an image. I quickly learned that doing that would be more difficult than I thought.

Hummingbirds don’t hover in one place for long. I would spot one hovering but it would dart off before I could even compose and focus the image.

The best I was able to do was capture a few birds sitting on a branch. Even those images were not the greatest.

Like any form of photography, there must be a trick or two to photographing a hummingbird in flight. It probably takes patience, experience and time.

I didn’t have all day to capture a hummingbird in flight. so I had to move on after about couple dozen attempts. This was my favorite hummingbird that I did manage to photograph.


He Hardly Moved All Day

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During a visit to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum last October I was hoping to make photographs of an ocelot moving around in his grotto.

But the temperature that day was in the 90s and the ocelot didn’t feel like doing anything but sleeping. I can’t say I blame him.

I returned to the wildcat exhibit three times throughout the day and ocelot had barely moved. This was the best I was image I was able to make.

The lesson I took away from this is that I need to visit the museum on a cooler day.


Written by csanders429

June 13, 2017 at 7:31 am

The Cat I Really Came to See

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Not long ago I posted a couple of photographs of a pair of bobcats at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. I noted in that post that the cat canyon is one of my favorite exhibits at the museum near Tucson.

But the wildcats were not necessarily the kitties that I really wanted to see.

The cat I coveted was an ocelot. It can be found in the Sonora Desert, but there probably are not many of them in Arizona.

On its website, the museum reports that although ocelots have been documented in Arizona, the state is the northern limit of their range. An endangered species, the loss of habitat may limit how many there are in Arizona.

On the day that I visited the museum’s cat canyon, the ocelot was barely visible. I used my longest focal length lens to make the image that accompanies this post.

I was hoping that the ocelot would get up and move around so I could get better photographs of it. But despite three visits to the cat canyon during my time at the museum I had no such luck. This was as good as I got. Maybe next time.


Written by csanders429

January 31, 2017 at 8:36 am

Let Sleeping Cats Lie

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At last one of the wildcats is awake and doing something.

Earlier, both of the cats were sound asleep with their backs toward the visitors who came to see them.

Earlier, both of the cats were sound asleep with their backs toward the visitors who came to see them.

We had scarcely bought out tickets and walked through the front gate of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson, Arizona, when we made a beeline for the cat’s grotto.

It is one of our favorite displays at the museum, if not the favorite. I had visions of getting some “killer” images of the cats.

But cats are not the most cooperative animals. They spend much of their day sleeping, particularly in warm weather. And despite it being mid October, it the temperature was in the 90s during our visit to the museum.

The museum has two wildcats, but both were sacked out on a ledge doing what cats do. Wildcats are more active at night or when the weather is cooler.

It had to come back twice, but I finally was able to get a photograph of one of the wildcats awake and alert, although still just sitting on the ledge.

It wasn’t quite what I wanted, but at least I got one of the kitties doing something. I never did see the mountain lion that the museum has.