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2017-03-20 Monday’s Flowers At Anza-Borrego

White-Lined Sphinx Moth Caterpillar
It’s not only people who love flowers!

I felt the need this morning to get “out in the world”. I set my sights on Borrego Springs. Swainson’s Hawks are migrating and the flowers should be interesting about now. I left Poway early, but probably not early enough. I waited to get to Borrego before stopping for breakfast at Kendall’s. It was busy and took awhile  to get served.

I finished breakfast believing I may have been late to catch the migrating Swainson’s Hawks lift off their evening roost to continue their flight north. The numbers moving this morning turned out to be 10~20% of the previous days. I’ve visited the valley during past migrations to be treated to lift-offs on large numbers (400-500) from very near the navigable roads in the valley. It was not to be on this day. There were possibly a hundred concentrated at least a mile from the nearest road. This was not a favorable scenario for interesting images. I opted to look for other subjects to photograph: flowers!

Henderson Canyon, a well-known location for blooming wildflowers, was nearby. I tried a different approach to the flower pictures this morning. Rather than the 105mm macro I usually use, I brought out the 12-24mm and the D7200. That setup is at the opposite end of the perspective spectrum. Stopping down the aperture for a generous depth of field response was the idea. I bracketed like crazy and used a sort of “run and gun” style. I held the camera away from me and used the Live View feature rather than the viewfinder I prefer. It was a crap shoot whether I’d get anything. But hell, was fun to try out new stuff, anyway.

When I decided Henderson Canyon was too crowded for my liking, I drove to the Borrego Sink on the off chance I might find Round-Tailed Ground Squirrels. The Mammal Atlas project could benefit from some higher resolution images and I thought I should try to get something. I missed them (again), but I found fat four inch long caterpillars munching on the Sand Verbena flowers to entertain me. It was a beautiful day and well worth the time spent.

Leaving Borrego about noon, it was a long tedious drive home from the desert. I’d hoped that on this Monday, all the flower seekers would be weekend warriors. I was wrong. They were late getting there and seemed early to leave. I caught a flood of traffic as I pulled out of Borrego Valley and had a bumper-to-bumper drive all the way home to Poway. Add about three well placed construction stops to the mix and… well, you know.

For my next trip to Borrego I’ll try for birds. Maybe even spend the night and miss traffic altogether.

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