Friday, December 12, 2008


I visited the Living Desert again today, specifically for the purpose of getting photos of some of the critters in their "Wildlife Wonders" program. In case you've forgotten, the Living Desert is a combination desert botanical garden and zoo specializing in desert animals. "Wildlife Wonders" is a showcase where desert critters perform things they do in nature, only they perform them where we can see them.

The accompanying picture shows Sonora, a female Harris' hawk, silhouetted against the sky. Her "job" is to fly to an observation point (in this case, the skeleton of a saguaro cactus), then fly to the peak of a nearby hill to get and eat a tasty morsel (a thawed frozen mouse). Afterwards, she divebombs back into the amphitheater and exits through an opening in a fence. The divebomb can be hard to catch on a camera, since she can easily be traveling 80mph (129km/h). I have caught her in her dive, but so far, the resulting pictures aren't worth showing, 'tho' they may still be useful for paintings.

At this time, this is the best picture I have of Sonora who, I expect, will appear in a painting sooner or later. As a painter, I have the advantage of being able to refer to other pictures to fill in the silhouette with some color and details.

This silhouette would strike fear into the little hearts and minds of any mouse that saw it.

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