Spring Has Arrived
How do I know that it’s springtime in southern Arizona? Well, the weather is an obvious tipoff. We’re in the midst of the warmest (even hottest!) February ever recorded in these parts. For the last couple of weeks we’ve seen day after day of temperatures in the mid-upper 80s, with no end in sight. All kinds of plants are putting out new growth or blooming. Another sign of spring would be an active rattlesnake. I haven’t seen one of those, yet, but any day . . . . .
Here’s yet another sure sign that spring has arrived. Red-winged Blackbirds have begun their breeding season. When blackbird breeding season begins the males of the species take up prominent positions on high points in the local marshlands and they sing their brains out, hoping to attract female admirers. At Sweetwater Wetlands, for example, early mornings are offering a chorus of these operatic birds.
I photographed this guy the other morning. It was an overcast early morning but the cloud cover didn’t deter the blackbird from singing, not one bit. I like the lighting in these two photos because it somehow makes the bird’s scarlet and gold epaulets stand out even more than they otherwise would.
Right now, there are a few dozen early morning singers at the wetlands. In another week or two there will be hundreds of them. The noise can be deafening when they’re all singing at once, but it is music to my ears.
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, aperture priority setting, ISO 1250. The first image shot at f6.3 @ 1/640. The second shot at f6.3 @ 1/1250.