PL8ATUDES – May 31 2018



Plate-A-Tude

We continue our series of personalized (vanity) license plates in Arizona. To maintain individual privacy, we try to show as little information about particular cars as possible as long as we can reveal the license plate.

NOTE – License plate photos may have been archived for quite some time. The years indicated on the registration stickers DO NOT necessarily reflect the current status of any given plate!

We hope you enjoy these PL8ATUDES!

 

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BRIDES

Are Always Somebody’s
DRM GRL

!

 

JBRish.com originally published this post< See previous PL8ATUDES HERE

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018


Pickleball: Pecos Park Grand Opening

There was some pickleball excitement in the Valley of the Sun last weekend. Pecos Park in Ahwatukee, AZ was celebrating the official grand opening of their pickleball complex.



The city and citizen planning group has done a wonderful job in laying out sixteen beautiful courts built to specifications allowing for USAPA sanctioned tournaments.


Ramadas are going to be constructed to enhance the experience for onlookers and those waiting to play. There are benches along the side of the courts with room for many more folding chairs.


The lights are very modern and I believe they are LED, but I am not certain. I arrived early to help set up for the big event.



As the crowd began to gather, the pickle twins took to the podium to help bring a celebratory aire to the day.


Everyone was having fun. One round robin tournament player had bunny ears on his hat as he enjoyed the competition. Other guests expressed their enthusiasm in their own particular style.


Seats wer filling up fast. The first two rows were reserved for USAPA Pickleball Ambassadores including yours truly.



The round robin tournament used the new ONIX outdoor pickleball which is visibly stamped USAPA APPROVED!



The ceremony praised the hard work of everyone involved. I am going to do my best to provide correct names for most of the people in the photos. If I have made an error, please let me know in the comment section below and I will revise ASAP.

Esther Avila, Deputy Director at City of Phoenix, Parks and Recreation began with opening remarks.



Councilman Sal DiCiccio, City of Phoenix Councilman for District 6


Justin Maloof – Executive Director – United States Pickleball



Jack Thomas, President of the USAPA



Perhaps the one person most responsible for the vision and custodianship of this new facility was Steve Manolis, Regional Ambassador for Education, USA Pickleball Association, Southwest Region.



Councilman, Sal DiCiccio hits the first official serve to start the play at the new courts.



If you live near Pecos Park, I think you will be pleased to join the pickleball fun!


7010 S 48th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85048

 

More Pickleball Videos and Information

To See additional Pickleball Videos & Information Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Information and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



PL8ATUDES – April 9, 2018



Plate-A-Tude

We continue our series of personalized (vanity) license plates in Arizona. To maintain individual privacy, we try to show as little information about particular cars as possible as long as we can reveal the license plate.

NOTE – License plate photos may have been archived for quite some time. The years indicated on the registration stickers DO NOT necessarily reflect the current status of any given plate!

We hope you enjoy these PL8ATUDES!

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I am a

FLAGWAVR

When it comes to saying THANK YOU,
GEEIJOE

for keeping us safe!

 

JBRish.com originally published this post< See previous PL8ATUDES HERE

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018


Birds of Arizona: Glendale Recharge Ponds – Pt. 1

We had heard about the Glendale Recharge Ponds and the variety of birds they attract. As hikers and explorers, we decided we would head out that way to see what birds we could find. We started our jaunt early to have the best chance at seeing the most birds and while we thought it might be a bit tricky to find, the directions were actually quite good (see Part 2 for directions).

Right away we saw the discharge for which the ponds were named.


water being reclaimed

The facility is located west of and in a direct line with the University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals football team.


University of Phoenix Stadium

Along the access road leading to the ponds and along the sides of the waterways, there was a variety of farms and stables.


Small farms and ranches abut the ponds


Very quickly we noticed something very, very annoying – – flies. Loads and loads of flies. Perhaps gnats would be more accurate! This might be very good for the birds, but not so pleasant for us.


Gnats were abundant and annoying

Can you see all those light brown specs in the picture above? Those are some of the flies that were flitting around as soon as we left the confines of our car. Let me circle (in red) a couple for you.


Gnats circled for reference
Only five were circled, but there were hundreds upon hundreds!

We traveled for about an hour to get to our destination so we were not be deterred. A move perhaps we would later regret.

Only a few short steps along the pathways we saw what I identified as a Cattle Egret. If you look closely on the neck you can see flies on the bird. Other gnats are also clearly visible on the bird.


Gnats on the Egret

We hadn’t planned on most of the wildlife to be so far away. As we walked, the waterbirds swam to the far side of the large pond to seek safety and therefore escape our gaze. While I had three cameras with me, the only camera that was useful was the Canon SX50 HS with a large zoom lens.


As we walked, most birds fled
Those specks in the distance are numerous waterbirds

A more intrepid pair of birds, Black-necked Stilts, weren’t as quick to run away. They were busy searching the shallow depths for food. These are very interesting birds not only because of their somewhat whimsical black and white coloration…


Black-necked Stilts looking for food

but because of their long legs! Now we know how they got their name!


Long legs of the Black-necked Stilts

Lurking farther down the path and around the bend was an alert and somewhat wary Great Blue Heron.


A wary Great Blue Heron keeping an eye on us

In several locations there were warnings about no fishing! I have since learned that people do fish there even with the signs posted.


No Fishing sign

There were many, many Coots in the ponds, but also in the group were several other water birds. The male Northern Shoveler Duck was quite handsome.


Northern Shoveler Duck among the Coots

A Killdeer looked on with interest probably wondering what we were doing out-and-about with all these bugs in the air.


Watchfull Killdeer

To read the other JBRish posts about our Killdeer visitors:

Birds of Arizona – Killdeer ( Charadrius vociferus )

Killdeer Eggs in Our Yard; Oh My!

Killdeer’s Empty Nest in our Front Yard

For more information about the Killdeer’s rearing process, you can read The Precocious Killdeer.

Unfortunately, wherever people go, there are bound to be traces that they were there. Whether intentional or not, we found a floating flip-flop and this football.


Floating lost football left behind at the ponds

Overall, however, there wasn’t too much debris. We continued to walk a while longer to complete the circuit around the one large pond nearest our car. We were becoming a bit uncomfortable trying to “chase down” the birds with all the bugs buzzing around.

Read Birds of Arizona: Glendale Recharge Ponds – Pt. 2

See previous JBRish posts about birds HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018


PL8ATUDES – March 27, 2018



Plate-A-Tude

We continue our series of personalized (vanity) license plates in Arizona. To maintain individual privacy, we try to show as little information about particular cars as possible as long as we can reveal the license plate.

NOTE – License plate photos may have been archived for quite some time. The years indicated on the registration stickers DO NOT necessarily reflect the current status of any given plate!

We hope you enjoy these PL8ATUDES!

****************************************


It’s

GR8LIVN

When you do your best, but don’t have to be

PERFCT

!

 

JBRish.com originally published this post
See previous PL8ATUDES HERE

**********

 

All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018


Spring 2018 – What’s Growing in the Arizona Desert?

We have arrived at our spring planting season in the Phoenix, Arizona area even when other areas of the nation continue to be cold and perhaps stormy. I had an opportunity to visit the demonstration garden at the Maricopa County Extension Center which is maintained primarily by the Master Gardeners.

There were some interesting plants in full bloom and I wanted to share two of them with you. When I select a plant to grow, it is generally one that has impressive flowers. This can be small, numerous flowers or large, showy flower that are less in number.

I also like to have the flower-to-leaf ratio to be appropriate. I don’t want the leaves to overpower the flowers. The one exception to this would be a plant that has pretty or show leaves. One plant that comes to mind in this category is Milk Thistle. We have lots of critters in our neighborhood and they like many of the plants we enjoy so I need to be very selective.

Then there are some plants that people in our region select because they are unique.

One quite “different” plant at the demonstration garden is Lion’s Tail or Wild Dagga (Leonotis leonurus) – One look and it will be obvious how this flower received its name.

Lion's Tail or Wild Dagga

Here is a close up of the flower…

Lion's Tail or Wild Dagga - closeup

Lion’s Tail is reportedly a fast growing, drought tolerant plant!

You can read more about this unique plant in The San Francisco Gate article HERE. — scroll down.

Another unique and interesting plant is the Hyacinth Bean (Dolichos lablab or Lablab purpurea). This plant is grown as much for its purple seed pod as the plentiful light and dark pink flowers. If you have a place in your garden for a vine, this might be a very good choice.

Hyacinth Bean

Naturally if this is grown in our area, it must be heat tolerant, but the amazing thing is how well the vine tends to do even with the hight temperatures as long as it is given ample water.

Hyacinth Bean closeup

You can find more information about Hyacinth Bean HERE and HERE.

 

Read more gardening posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Spring Buzz in the Sonoran Desert

In the Sonoran Desert spring is often like early summer in other locations in the United States with the temperatures often in the mid-70s to mid-80s. We often refer to this as the “sweet spot” since we don’t need heat or air conditioning for the most part. We do know what is ahead of us, but we enjoy this respite while it lasts.

Along with spring, we have some interesting developments. Our neighborhood has a number of horse stables and about two weeks ago, a young colt was born. Like many other babies, he can be very energetic one minute and flat out tired and sleeping the next.

Here is a short video of the youngster running around.

Today I passed the corral on the way home and the colt was nursing, but when I exited the car, he stopped. I decided to take a photo anyway.


The colt is on the left. The mother often stays rather far away, but was next to him this day.

The horse “next door” came over and I decided he needed to have his picture taken as well.



Another sign of spring is the plethora of bees we have on the few plants that are now blooming. We have a Mastic Tree (Pistacia lentiscus) that is loaded with very small flowers.



The morning I walked by the tree, the buzz was loud and persistent. I decided to record it, but it is only a shadow of the real sound as the iPhone has limitations. You can hear the bees in the sound clip below (raise the sound on your computer/device).

Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me and I couldn’t capture the mass of bees all over the tree. They were flitting about too quickly for iPhone capture.

A couple of days later, I was able to take my camera outside in the afternoon, but the bees were not as numerous. I did take a few snapshots anyway.


The bee is hard to see, but it is inside the red oval.

I was able to capture another view with the pollen sack showing although once again, it is hard to see.


The head of the bee is by the yellow arrow. The pollen sack is at the tip of the red arrow.

We have already begun our spring/summer gardening chores and we are looking forward to sharing some of our experiences with JBRish readers. I hope your weather is looking more spring-like!

 

Read more miscellaneous stories HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Birds of Arizona – Red-tailed Hawk ( Buteo jamaicensis )

For casual bird watchers, identifying a particular bird can be quite a challenge. One would think that a Red-tailed Hawk would look very much like every other Red-tailed Hawk, but it isn’t quite that easy.

Unfortunately, there are often variations on a theme. One problem, for example, is that a juvenile bird often looks quite different than it does as an adult. This can reveal itself with differnt feather patterns or colors or perhaps a less developed feature that, when the bird is mature, would be quite prominent.

Facing this challenge, I often farm out the job of identification to the wonderful world of birders on the Internet. That is how I was able to determine that the bird below is a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.

As you can see, we have a power pole near our house and very often one hawk or another will stop by to enjoy a meal or keep a lookout for the next one. While they are atop this perch, I am often able to walk close to them to capture a portrait.


Red-tailed Hawk
As I approached, the bird wanted to keep an eye on me.


Red-tailed Hawk
Here the bird decided to turn around to face me.


Red-tailed Hawk
When approached, hawks don’t necessarily run away, but will often just stare back!

Read more identifying Red-tailed Hawks – Telling Juvenile from Adult Red-tailed Hawks

 
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Metadata for the bottom Photograph

File Name: 000022_49.CR2
Capture time: 9:55:03 AM
Capture date: February 6, 2016
Exposure: 1/640 sec @ f/6.5
Focal Length: 215mm
ISO: 200
Canon PowerShot SX50HS
Lens: 4.3-215mm
Edited in Lightroom

See previous JBRish posts about birds HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018


PL8ATUDES – March 2, 2018



Plate-A-Tude

We continue our series of personalized (vanity) license plates in Arizona. To maintain individual privacy, we try to show as little information about particular cars as possible as long as we can reveal the license plate.

NOTE – License plate photos may have been archived for quite some time. The years indicated on the registration stickers DO NOT necessarily reflect the current status of any given plate!

We hope you enjoy these PL8ATUDES!

****************************************


It

PAYS2NO

If you want to be

SPOT ON

!

 

JBRish.com originally published this post< See previous PL8ATUDES HERE

**********

 

All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018


Hassayampa Preserve Bird Walk – 20180203

It was quite a while since we had a good dose of nature and the warmer than usual winter has given us added impetus to “go outside!” An opportunity presented itself which allowed us to combine two of our interests, bird watching and hiking. As I have explained on these pages before, I am an “occasional birder.” I enjoy birds and bird identification, but I am not ardent. I take it as it comes and it adds enjoyment to my wanderings.

We registered for a guided bird walk at the Hassayampa River Preserve in Wickenburg, AZ. This is riparian zone that has running water all year long; a rarity for the desert. As such, many birds are attracted to this wooded environment. The warmer temperatures have brought featehred visitors that don’t usually come this far south during February.


The inviting ponds at the Hassayampa River Preserve

The inviting ponds at the Hassayampa River Preserve

If you have never done bird watching, then it may be difficult understand the highs and lows of the experience. There will be those in the group who see so many birds while you might be gazing at the leaves and branches and wondering: “What do they see?” or “Where is that bird?”

Below is an example of one of the frustrations. This bird appeared on the top of a nearby Cottonwood tree. It was vey much in view although quite a distance away. Unless an observer knew this bird from previous experience, it would be difficult to identify.


Phainopepla hard to identify from a distance

I had seen this bird several times before so I knew it was a Phainopepla. One distinguishing characteristic is its red eye which, because of the distance and lighting, was not visible. The black tuft on top of the head is also a distinguishing feature. I was able to get my best picture to date of this bird in November. You can see it HERE.

When I attended my first guided bird walk, I was surprised to learn that most birders don’t rely on sightings to identify the bird at first. They identify the call or song and then look for the specific bird. I must admit that this is a skill which mostly eludes me. I do know certain very defined bird calls like the Mourning Dove, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher, etc., but all those chip-chip-chips and too-wees just escape my grasp. This is one reason I greatly appreciate having a guide.

The bird in the picture below, for example, was identified as a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The birds are particularly difficult to identify and even more so to photograph. They jump around incessantly. Although this bird is totally shaded, the guide followed it from several trees and was able to identify it for us. I take her word for it!


Flitting Ruby-crowned singled silhouette

Another photo of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The most distinguishing mark of this bird is a red tuft on the top if the head. The angle, lighting and other factors did not capture this marking.


Better view of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet

You can see much better photos of this bird HERE.

There were some birds that were more conveniently situated and thus more easily identifiable such as this Hermit Thrush. The problem here is that the bird has very distinctive spots on its whiteish underbelly, but as you will note, that characteristic was not clearly visible from the back.


Hermit Thrush

The lesser Goldfinches were a bit more cooperative once the morning warmed a bit. They would cling to the thin branches of a nearby bush and pose for a while. The trick here is to take a number of pictures as the autofocus (which I use for birding*) will sometimes choose to focus on a foreground branch and render the bird out-of-focus.


Lesser Goldfinch


Lesser Goldfinch

Black Phoebes often will flit away and then return to the same branch from which they flew so it may be easy to wait a moment while gaining focus on the perch and then snap the shot once the bird returns. The first shot has only the back of the bird, but it later turned sideways for a profile shot.


Black Phoebe


Black Phoebe

The next series is of a Ladder-backed Woodpecker. Woodpeckers, creepers and other similar birds cling to the side of trees and climb upward. They will then fly to a nearby tree and begin to hop while ascending that tree. It appears to me that they know when they are being watched and they scoot to the side of the tree away from the viewer so they can hide. At least it seems that way!

While the pictures are a bit blurry because the bird was madly pecking away, the distinctive markings are visible.


Ladder-backed Woodpecker


Ladder-backed Woodpecker


Ladder-backed Woodpecker

One last sighting before we left revealed three Western Bluebirds sitting on the same branch. They were catching the mid-morning rays of the sun. The blue of their backs does not show that well, but the rufous color of their underside is clearly visible.


Western Bluebirds

 
Additional sightings by me and others, but not photographed:

  • Abert’s Towhee
  • American Coot
  • Brown Creeper
  • Canyon Wren
  • House Finch
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow
  • Plumbeous Vireo
  • Verdin

* NOTE – The only camera I used during this bird walk was my Canon SX50 HS which is a bridge camera with a telephoto zoom lens. Pictures are best at low ISO (200 and below) which limits the aperture and shutter speed. The aim of these photographs was not to capture beautiful pictures of birds, but to take pictures that would enable identification. Of course it would be wonderful to have an excellent photo along the way!

 
See previous JBRish posts about birds HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018