We saw them! I’ve been reading about the two Mandarin Ducks spotted at Lynx Lake here in Prescott and went out just before Christmas (on icy trails!) to see them. No such luck. We had seen some in Alaska a few years ago, but this would be a first for us in Arizona. Today, thanks to some Phoenix photographers I met up with on the trail, we were able to find them and take photos. They are such pristinely beautiful birds!
Fog is so unusual here in Prescott that I had to document it!
It was almost sunset in the desert, but the sun was still fiery hot. This was taken after dinner outside the house where we stayed in Oro Valley, Arizona for my birthday.
Valley of Lights
We had heard mentions of the Valley of Lights display in our neighboring Prescott Valley and somehow had the (wrong) idea that it was a neighborhood of decorated houses. We went last week and discovered a long line of cars snaking along a road through magical archways of lights with over a hundred I’m sure displays of lights sponsored by various area businesses. It was a wonderful treat and so well done. There was everything from an animated fishing Santa to wild west scenes to fairytales to Noah’s Ark to patriotic tributes. Very impressive!
We took a walk in Watson Woods about a week ago, looking for signs of fall. We did find some autumn color in isolated groups of yellowing leaves on some of the trees, yellowing grasses, and brown leaves scattered on the ground. What we also found were signs of drought. This stream that usually flows from Watson Lake through the adjacent woods was drying up, which you can see as the water curves to the left in the photo.
Everything will be okay . . .
Late one afternoon, we finally got over to Willow Lake to visit the white pelicans that flew in a few weeks ago. They are earlier than usual- and staying longer- perhaps because of the hot weather. As I drew closer to photograph them, it seemed the pelican on the right was becoming nervous, and it looked as if the bigger one was reassuring him. This went on for awhile, and eventually he did take off over the water to find a place to swim.
FYI- It has been about 11 months since my knee replacement, and during this walk, I noticed that I really don’t even think about my knee at all before taking a step. Before surgery, each step on uneven ground was wobbly as my knee was very unstable. I can’t say that it feels like a normal knee, but it WORKS!
Although there were signs of Spring in the blossoming of fruit trees, Winter still had us in its grip last week. Days were cold with a few snow flurries, and the bare branches gave little evidence that it is Spring according to the calendar. The muted colors of this scene off the Peavine trail at Watson Lake reflect our muted lives these days, as we adhere to social distancing and develop new routines in our individual houses.
For me, these days are revolving around connecting with friends and family through phones and internet, planning and eating meals, hand washing (washing everything, it seems), ordering groceries online, editing photos, doing some organizing projects, and streaming and binge-watching TV series. It’s still a good life- it’s just pared down to the basics. So each day we choose to practice gratitude, appreciate our loved ones, focus on the positive and enjoy life as it is right now.
It looked like the Canada geese felt right at home as they paddled through the chilly water on this cold winter day. It was just Tuesday that Watson Lake was surrounded by white- but now the beautiful Arizona sunshine has melted most of it, leaving white in just the shadiest areas. I have learned to get out and take photos right away here in Prescott, as more often than not, the snow only lasts for a few days. This image was taken with my iPhone.
The Snow in the Dells
On Thanksgiving night, a huge storm blew in- and in the morning we woke up to this view from our front porch:
It continued to snow for most of the day, blanketing everything in 8-10 inches of the beautiful white stuff. It has been frustrating to not be steady enough on my feet yet to walk around with my camera in the snow- but on Saturday, we did take a drive around Prescott. I was able to capture some decent shots with my iPhone from the car or standing beside the car- and I’ll be posting those later.