“God created the Grand Canyon but He lives in Sedona.”

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“God created the Grand Canyon but He lives in Sedona.” You can find this quote here.

This was our 2nd trip to Sedona. We spent 3 days here 2 years ago. This time we spent a quick afternoon. We spent some time walking around at Red Rock State Park.  All of the above were taken there with my Nikon D7100 camera and my wide-angle lens. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon and the park area was packed with people.

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These were taken with my Iphone camera,  through the windshield. We were going to stop and have a snack in the main town area but it was packed and parking was scarce so we kept going on our way to Flagstaff.

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We drove through Oak Creek Canyon on our way to Flagstaff and stopped for a walk around the Oak Creek Vista Point. We could not have asked for a more perfect day.

Skywatch Friday

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Our first hike in Flagstaff

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Chapter 1 on what I did on my summer vacation.  Only it was in late September. We flew into Phoenix and drove to Sedona.  We spent an afternoon there and then went to Flagstaff for 4 days. Our first hike was to Walnut Canyon, just 20 minutes outside of Flagstaff. We hiked down the main trail and around part of the canyon, passing by the remains of homes left by Native Americans many years ago.  You can read more about the park here. It’s much smaller than the Grand Canyon but very different and fun to walk around. The 240 steps back up the cliff to the top wasn’t too bad. I’m glad I’ve been using the stairs at work a lot. We would stop and rest and look out over the canyon periodically. I took a ton of pictures so more to come.

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Residents birds and birds passing through.



Yellow-throated warblers are moving through, heading south for the winter.


I think this is a northern parula.   They are common right now but this one looks a little scruffy


A male cardinal eating a berry.


The female cardinal is wondering why he isn’t sharing his berry.



The two above pictures are a yellow warbler.

The titmouse and cardinals are year round residents at Chesnut park. The other ones are just passing though.  On their way south for the winter. Although, when I took these in mid-September it did not feel like winter would be coming any time soon. Fall migration is in full swing here in Florida but I feel like I’m missing it with work and vacation. Brett and I spent some time in Flagstaff, Arizona hiking in late September. We had beautiful cool weather so I felt like I had a tiny taste of fall. I’m working on the tons of pictures I took now so I’ll be bombarding you with those soon.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

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Birds on the beach at Fort Desoto


A ruddy turnstone staring at me.


The usual oystercatcher walking along the water.


A willet walking by.


These godwits and willets were trying to sleep in the water.


I tried not to wake anyone up. They looked so peaceful.




The above are all black bellied plovers hanging around the marsh.


A sandwich tern fly by.

A handful of shorebirds that were hanging out at Fort Desoto in late September.

Saturday's Critters

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Around the neighborhood


Ducks at the neighborhood pond. I haven’s seen a creme colored one around here before.


Another morning of having to wait for ducks to cross the road on the way to work.


My neighborhood osprey finally came back. He’s been gone since March. I’m assuming he’s been off nesting and raising babies. He usually comes back in early July but this year it was late August. Now he sleeps on my neighbor’s sailboat mast and eats his meals on my neighbors dock.


Stormy night through the kitchen window.


View from the backyard. After the storm, the sun peaked out right before it went down.


Close by where I live, a phone pano of a storm coming in.

A few things around the neighborhood in early September.

 Skywatch Friday

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A Big Red addiction

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I had not been to Fort Desoto in a couple of weeks so I headed to the park on a recent Saturday morning not expecting to find much. It was right before the bulk of the fall migrating birds had come through. I just wanted to get out on the beach and stretch my legs. It’s pretty usual to find a reddish egret fishing for food somewhere around the north beach area. There are several that hang out there all year. I stopped and watched him standing still and thought to myself “Move on, I’ve got a million pictures of him” but when he stepped off the spot and started to dance around looking for food, I couldn’t stop myself. I finally realized I am addicted to reddish egrets. After a while a juvenile reddish egret came flying in (flight shots in the middle). He doesn’t have his deep colors yet. The adult did not want him fishing in his spot and chased him away. They both flew across the beach and I thought they were gone but the adult came right back and kept on feeding. After close to a hundred pictures, I finally moved on.

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Birds in a Butterfly house?

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All of the above were taken in April at the Key West Butterfly Conservatory. It was a  nice surprise to see more than just butterflies there. These birds were flying all over the conservatory, eating all of the snacks that were strategically placed near the path. Except for the flamingos of course. They were wading in a pond in the middle. I had not finished editing all of the pictures from the trip until recently so I’m finally getting around to posting these bright-colored beauties.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

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Meet Hancock, the barred owl

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Timing is everything. I have spent countless hours looking for the barred owls at Circle B Bar Reserve with little luck in the past year.  I had heard one was hanging around the dock over Lake Hancock recently but I wasn’t even going to try to find him. I figured he would be napping high up in a tree somewhere off the trail. I stopped by the dock and took a 10 minute break and then headed back on the trail. A lady was waving at me a little ways down. As I got closer, several people were standing on the trail staring at this guy. He was eye level and at first he had his back to us. After a few minutes, he flew over to another branch and was staring right at us. I love the curious looks on his face. At this point it was drizzling and we all stood under a tree while taking pictures of him in the rain. Someone in the group named him Hancock, since he lives on Lake Hancock. Although I have other pictures of barred owls, it was great to see other people getting excited at their first time watching one.

Saturday's Critters

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The sunset and the storm

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We met family for dinner in Dunedin, a sleepy little town in the Tampa Bay area on the water. It poured the entire time we were eating. Right before dessert, it stopped raining and the sun started to peak out. We decided to walk off the dinner with a short walk down to the marina. Looking across the water at Clearwater Beach, the sun started to go down. We stayed for a few minutes and then headed back to the car since another nasty storm was heading that way. It was a perfect dinner and sunset. I even snuck in a selfie. All of the above were taken with my Iphone 5.

Skywatch Friday

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Splish Splash before nightfall.

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These were taken back in June when  stopped at the beach to see how the baby skimmers were doing. I caught an adult skimmer taken a bath in the gulf before the sun went down. Or, maybe he was just cooling off after the long hot day. Either way, I should have brought my swimsuit with me so I could have joined him before heading home for dinner.

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