Monday, November 21, 2011

Buckskin Mountain State Park on the Lower Colorado River, Arizona

Welcome to Arizona! Today's drive was short, about 70 miles. Nice to have a short drive day as tomorrow, Tuesday is a big one with 300 miles to Tucson.  We drove across then down the Colorado River from Needles through Lake Havasu City to Buckskin Mountain State Park on the Colorado River. This is below parker dam which created Havasu lake and the city for which it is named.  It is amazing how many homesites and developments have grown up in this area over past 50 years since the dam was built.  Mostly manufactured homes which indicates this area caters to the middle class america searching for an affordable place to live in the warmer climates near water.

Buckskin Mtn State Park
I had stopped at this park about 10 years ago during a little arizona adventure in the pickup/camper days and remembered it as a quiet oasis of cottonwood trees and peaceful repose.  Indeed it proved to be again.  Set on a river bend (oops, I forgot to take a photo of this), it offers many recreational opportunities for families during weekends, summers and holidays.  today, Monday, it was about 30% full with other people like us who seek quietude away from the crowds.  Across the river are a couple of developments of trailers and houses.  As I type this in the evening, I can hear people talking as they sit outside enjoying the evening.

Say's Phoebe
We had 2 adventures today once we arrived.  The first was to just walk around the park along the river bank watching the birds.  I got out my big 70-200 mm lens and added the 2x extender giving me 400mm with which to capture birds.  Divine mother did not disappoint. As we walked past the volleyball net, Sraddha spotted this "Say's Phoebe", a flycatcher who was sitting on the net and would dart out to catch an insect then dart back.  Since i didn't have a "really big lens" to sit back a long ways, I had to get close to it so, creeping up slowly, it allowed me within 30 feet and posed for me.  I took about 15-20 shots, experimenting with settings and finally got this one.  Thank you divine mother!

Phainopepla



Later on I shot this Phainopepla up in a willow tree.  Both were shot in raw format and I zoomed in photoshop to crop out all but the bird so it looks closer than it was.  the other attempts were out of focus.  Patience pays off

Other adventure was discovering the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge nearby which is home to the largest riparian river valley in lower colorado area.  Driving up the dirt road 3.5 miles gave us a taste of what the colorado river must have been like 200 years ago.

While sitting here on a park bench in the dark typing this blogpost i am hearing lots of fish jumping in the water.  Amazing what happens around us when we just listen.
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