Wintertime brings cloudy skies from time to time, and, so far, this January has been more cloudy than not. A nice thing about the partially cloudy skies late in the day is the brilliant, fiery color display produced as the sun sinks below the horizon. I took this image last week during a break in the weather.
For the rest of January, the weather outlook is for more sun and more occasional rain. We can deal with the clouds now, since there are statistically likely to be 300 days of sunshine this year. Most of the overcast cloud covers seem to occur in the Winter. We are looking forward to having warmer, sunnier days.
Damsel got this shot of this rare Circumzenithal Arc over Arizona this morning. She was sleeping when I saw one in January of 2014 and today she managed to get this shot directly overhead.
I missed seeing it, but when I downloaded from her Canon camera this afternoon, I recognized the phenomenon. Glad that she got to see one of these. Very nice.
Click on the image to enlarge.
We purchased these Bottle Brush shrubs last spring from a local (overpriced) nursery to replace the Cleveland Sage shrubs that had a propensity to partially die and then grow partially back. Very ugly in the courtyard. But now, the new shrubs have green foliage and are making red flowers just in time for the Christmas season. These have already attracted bees and hummingbirds and a few of the remaining butterflies.
Once these shrubs have established themselves, they should expand to about the same size as the old sage bushes, but seem to be considerably less messy and less work to keep them pruned to a size appropriate to the courtyard environment. Click on the image to enlarge.
We drove from our camping spot in K-Stan back home today. Safe arrival with light traffic and no incidents other than a little roadwork enroute. It was a good trip to see the Grandson and his folks.
I snapped this photo of the Supermoon (Luna at perigee) shortly after moonrise this evening. Camera Canon EOS Rebel SL1 with 75-300 mm zoom lens. Settings: 1/500 sec, F8, focal length 300mm, ISO 800 and no tripod. Click on the image to enlarge.
Many of the flowers are gone this late in the season, but the rosemary bushes we planted five years ago along the RV Drive still have their tiny blue flowers. This butterfly was kind enough to pose while this photo was taken a couple of days ago. Click on the image to enlarge.
Now that the really hot daytime temperatures have abated, we have what we call “second spring” here in Arizona. That is the time when there are still flowers blooming, bees buzzing and of course hummingbirds and butterflies browsing the remaining flowers.
I captured this image of a black and yellow butterfly alight on one of the red bird of paradise flowers in the courtyard. The butterfly browsed there long enough for me to get my camera, go out into the courtyard and take several images of it before it flew away in the late morning breeze.
Second spring will be over within just a few weeks, giving way to actual autumn-like weather with leaves turning or falling and the red bird shrubs going dormant for the late fall and winter. Although we love the summers here, it will be nice for some cooler weather to prevail and, as we know, harsh winter weather seldom comes our way. In nearly six years of living here, we have seen snow stick to the ground only once.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Damsel was in the courtyard just after sundown this evening when she noticed this three and a half foot long snake coming across the road out front. She called to me telling me I should bring a camera. After she pointed it out, we went down the RV drive to get a better look.
According to Wikipedia, the species Ctotalus scutulatus (Western Mojave Rattlesnake) is reputed to be aggressive toward humans and, in fact, this guy coiled up into a striking position as I approached. I took this photo before quickly retreating behind the landscape wall. We wanted no close encounters with some of the most toxic of rattlesnake venom.
We backed off and watched the snake slither along the RV Drive until finally disappearing under some of the native creosote on the lot to the west of us. We hope that it keeps on moving away from the area where we will be walking the dogs later tonight.