Waiting for a break in the weather

Life’s been a bit busy for us lately, but we managed to run off into the mountains for a little R&R over the July 4th extended weekend.  One of our stops was the neat little ghost town of Ashcroft, near Aspen.  On our way through the sights, my daughter alerted me to this little hummingbird perched on an old bit of wood.

Waiting for a break in the weather

Fortunately for me, this little guy was very patient on his perch — alert and watchful, but never startling or making any apparent move to fly off.

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Putting on a show

A white tiger at the 2013 Colorado Renaissance Festival in Larkspur, Colorado:

Putting on a show

Admittedly, white tigers are eye-catching, and maybe their presence at shows like this somehow supports or encourages conservation.  But the reality is that white tigers are Bengal tiger mutants not normally found in nature — and they’re only still around thanks to generations of human-induced inbreeding.  They are often used by zoos and other shows (most famously, Siegfried & Roy in Las Vegas) to draw in visitors — but the breeding of white tigers has been banned by the American Zoological Association (AZA) since June of 2011.

Unwelcome visitor

This is a Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica), in case you’re unfamiliar with them — beautifully colored, with their iridescent shells offset against the flower petals’ colors.  But hell on roses (and grapes, and birch trees, and…).

Unwelcome visitor

Japanese beetles are apparently not a big problem in Japan — they have many predators that help keep their numbers under control.  But since their arrival in the U.S. early in the 20th century, they’ve been expanding their territory from their original “beachhead” in New Jersey.  Courtesy of the warming climate, they made it to Colorado a few years ago.  Luckily beetle traps are available via the internet, since local home and garden stores apparently haven’t taken notice of their arrival.  Yet.

Seen in the War Memorial Rose Garden; Littleton, Colorado.

Been places, seen things

I saw this on my most-recent trip to New Orleans, and just had to capture the scene:

Been places, seen things

This is one of the horses employed in pulling tourists around the French Quarter in carriages. I took this shot early (for NOLA) in the morning, which seems to be the best time of day for non-crowded street photography there. The sidewalks and streets have been washed, most visitors are sleeping off the previous night’s revelries, traffic hasn’t really started — a great time for a stroll.

At any rate, I still can’t decide if this is the horse’s “world weary” look, if he’s pondering the upcoming day’s work, or if he’s just lost in horsey daydreams of grassy fields and running free. In any event, a fitting subject for an environmental portrait…

Just waiting for breakfast to arrive

I spotted this little scene up in a tree at the Green Gulch Farm, near San Francisco, California:

Just waiting for breakfast to arrive

The spider didn’t seem to mind the soggy weather a bit. Should you find yourself in the San Francisco area (in particular, in Marin county), we’d highly recommend a stop at Green Gulch Farm. The people there are friendly, and it’s a wonderful quiet place for a stroll (even on a wet day)…