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2019-10-23 At The Boyce Thompson Arboretum

I let myself get behind in my posting. Since leaving the “BTA” I’ve completed two more photo safaris, but it took me longer than expected to organize the photos and stories for this visit. As I post this, I’m headed back to Poway to finalize my plans for an extended journey.

Lincoln's Sparrow - Melospiza lincolnii
These are my favorite sparrows. I met this bird at the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum near Superior Arizona is a well known desert oasis and a great place to meet birds.

I left Thatcher Arizona Tuesday morning and drove through the San Carlos Apache lands and Globe Arizona. I reached the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, four miles past Superior Arizona a little after 1 p.m. It was too late to get my money’s worth from a day pass, so I settled into a nearby roadside wide spot, and used the time to get caught up with my Photoblog about my time in Thatcher with my friend Linda.

I skipped my regular breakfast routine in the morning and made a protein shake so I could start my day at 8am at the arboretum. I worked all morning capturing bird images, and about noon-thirty I took a break to get a bite and rest in the RV. Then at 2pm I picked up my gear and headed back into the arboretum for more fun with birds.

I had an interesting experience with a White-Throated Swift on my afternoon visit. I spotted it flying like a fighter jet, low over the mesquite while I was at Ayer Lake at the upper end of the arboretum property. I’d been working on birds coming in for a drink at the fill point where well water was piped into the lake. Photographing swifts is tricky enough if you can see them coming, but this bird was flying low over the treetops. It made three passes close by, and on its third pass it zoomed right by me, not three feet from my left shoulder on its way to the water’s surface where it snatched a drink on the wing.

I’m sure I got some decent images this day, and some that were affected negatively by poor lighting. The birds I tried for were Pied-Billed Grebe, Harris’s Hawk, American Coot, White-Winged Dove, White-Throated Swift, Anna’s Hummingbird, *Northern Flicker, *Gila Woodpecker, *Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, Black Phoebe, Vermillion Flycatcher, *Say’s Phoebe, *Loggerhead Shrike, Verdin, Bewick’s Wren, Cactus Wren, Rock Wren, *Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Northern Mockingbird, Curve-Billed Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing (juveniles), Phainopepla, Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Audubon’s), *Canyon Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Brewer’s Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Black-Throated Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, *Song Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, Dark-Eyed Junco, *Red-Winged Blackbird, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch. [The asterisk means that no image was captured for that subject.]

When the day was done I’d pulled the trigger over 2000 times, and I’d collected images for 26 species. I counted nine more that did not give themselves to my camera. I’ve learned I get better images if I liberally take multiple shots on active subjects. There is a down-side! Significant time is required to cull the weaker shots; separating the wheat from the chaff.

I usually go through the culling process on my images three times. The first pass eliminates the obvious duds; those out-of-focus and out-of-frame shots that no one wants to see. On the second pass I look more closely at fine focusing details, especially when the shots are nearly same. The third pass is a more subjective review. By the time I’ve groomed the images the second time, the inferior images have been eliminated. After the third pass has been completed, I go to work on embedding metadata with descriptions and geotags that the web server will grab and present with the images.

Following these steps I will choose the images to prepare for web presentation. By this point I’m thinking about the story I want to tell about the day’s experience. Such reflections will influence the selections I make for the blog gallery. (see below)

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