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  • Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovi)…

    Photographed on Mt Wrightson!

    My friend, Dean Salman (http://www.greatscenery.com), captured this GORGEOUS photograph of a Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovi) near the summit of Mt. Wrightson while hiking on October 11, 2009!

    They are generally found in Southeast Arizona and Southwest New Mexico, also into Mexico (ref: National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians, Pages 522-523 and Plates 353, 1979).

    This link to the Online Field Guide to The Reptiles and Amphibians of Arizona Website by Thomas C. Brennan, has some extensive information about them, as well as many others found in Arizona.

    While occasionally found at elevations as low as 4,200 feet, these all-too-tame lizards are usually seen between elevations of 5,000 – 10,000 feet. It was a young one of these interesting lizards that Andy had to help me remove from my left index finger in our backyard at Sycamore house in Tucson, Arizona in early 2005. πŸ™‚

    It was acting out defensively since it was about to be terrorized to death by Little Miss (A gray stray, outdoor kitty that adopted us in 2004); and I had just rescued it from her, so it didn’t make the distinction of threat versus safety. At some point, I hope to find the picture of it ‘latched’ onto my finger that was taken with a film camera and is now buried ‘safely’ in an archival file!?!… :-O

    We are not sure how it came to be in our backyard; but our house was close enough to the Catalina Mountains that it is likely that it made a prior escape from a would be predator; such as, the avian type or of the human kind. It is an answer we will never receive… 😐

    Continue reading  Post ID 1537

  • A Renewed Shady Existence…

    They began to succumb to the pressures of the vehicular “Greenhouse” effect that had been initiated long ago in Arizona. As the material deteriorated deeper and deeper into a fragile state that would not support the spring tension any longer, and the Duct Tape was starting to cover more of the shades than the material;

    A Reconstruction project to make useful again and not give up a good "friend".
    A Reconstruction project to make useful again and not give up a good “friend”.

    I stepped up efforts in looking for an answer as to what I could do to fix it. The spring-wire frames are still in great condition; and I am somewhat attached to the flames that were so fitting in Arizona’s “Dry Heat”!

    I eventually discovered the Discount Fabric Warehouse (DFW) in Kailua-Kona. This discovery got me interested in sewing again and began my obsession with Machine Embroidery.

    During one of my visits to DFW for supplies to embroider, I found the perfect material to revamp my Flaming Sun Shades from the plain back side and leaving the flames visible. Now I need to figure out how to sew it on the frames and it will still fold up into a nice neat package that fits under my passenger seat.

    A bit of binding, a pretty print cotton cloth and stitching all around - these shades have a new lease on life :-D
    A bit of binding, a pretty print cotton cloth and stitching all around – these shades have a new lease on life πŸ˜€

    Another few visits to DFW and I spotted the extra-wide double-fold bias tape. Three packages in black were chosen to be certain that I would have enough to bind both shades all the way around, plus a little more just in case I made a measurement error. I only needed two of them so one went in the materials on-hand drawer.

    I had recently started using spray adhesives of varying permanency and used one that was removable as well as re-positionable if I didn’t like its angle or an annoying bubble formed. I now had all the parts and tools that I needed to revive my favorite sun shades!

    After deliberating the process and procrastinating to delay the cutting of the fabric, I worked up my nerve to dive in with rotary cutter in one hand and ruler in the other πŸ™‚ After washing the piece of fabric to remove the chemical sizing, and preshrink it, I looked it over to decide where I wanted the pattern to be cut. Then considered what impression that positioning would give.

    Then the measure, measure, cut process. It all went quite smoothly and quickly after I finally started on it. I am very happy with the end result and I can put the flames in and the ocean scene out or vice verse! πŸ˜€

    And thus it all began... My obsession with Machine Embroidery and Material Reassignment!
    And thus it all began… My obsession with Machine Embroidery and Material Reassignment!

  • Holoholokai…? Story? Oh Yes!

    November 28, 2010: We explored in and around the caves of the waters at Holoholokai Beach Park, Kohala. This dive helped me narrowly avoid serious “bottom time” withdrawal; and a case of “DRY Gills”! πŸ˜‰

    Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus) in a cave at Holoholokai!  Photo Β©2010 Deborah Cooper behind the lens.
    Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus) in a cave at Holoholokai! Photo Β©2010 Deborah Cooper behind the lens.

    Beautiful caves with “sky lights” allowing the sun’s rays to dance gracefully about the shadows of the depths, and giving us glimpses as well as photographic opportunities of several marine animals that make themselves scarce in the daylight hours. We found their “hiding” place πŸ˜‰

    We found a Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus) and some fish commonly referred to as Squirrel Fish. These caves, with Andy’s help, also presented me the opportunity to finally photograph a Nudibranch that I had not seen before. Nudibranchs and Flatworms are both very interesting life-forms indeed!

    Puako-End-of-Road; is only a few hundred yards to the north of Holoholokai. Using DarkerView’s words here, “We had also been boat diving in front of The Orchid, just a few hundred yards to the south.” Yet, it took me this long to visit Holoholokai from the shore and find its easy access underwater charm?

  • Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count…

    What an awesome way to go whale watching!!!! Okay. So…it was quite early to get up on a Saturday; but it was sooooo worth it! Just after New Year’s, Andy registered us to participate in the 2010 Santuary Ocean Count on January 30, coordinated by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Check out the many links and bushel loads of information that they provide on their site.

    An optimal view for counting Humpback Whale and observing their behavior on January 30, 2010.

    “Bright” and EARLY on Saturday morning, January 30, we met the group at Kawaihae harbor (about 7:00am) and consolidated some vehicles then proceeded to the site that we signed up on for the Ocean Count. The site had a GREAT 180 degree view from north to south of the Kohala coastline near Kawaihae on the Big Island of Hawai`i!

    We all signed in and gathered the papers that we would need for recording the Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) data. This was to include a tally for the # of adults and the # of calves in each pod, and a tally for each time one of several behaviors were exhibited during each half-hour increment from 8:00am to 12:00pm. Followed by one final count-only period from 12:00pm to 12:15pm.

    Our group looking every-which-way while counting and observing Humpback Whale along the Kohala Coast of the Island of Hawai`i.

    We all got settled in our chairs. We got our paperwork with writing implements, and our binoculars close at hand…and…at 8:00am began the count. Working in pairs, one would call out location, how many in the pod, and behavior observed; and the other would rapidly mark the tallies in the correct box on the paper. There was a lot of activity during the full four hours, and the time flew by! The Humpback were numerous and active on our west coast shoreline!

    We seldom had opportunity to just sit back and talk story; but we did get some casual conversation inserted into the very occasional lull. Captivating conversation at that! This made the time pass by even faster. The lowest number of whale spotted from our site in any half-hour block during the count was about 11 adults. The calves were rare early in the count and then reached a count of four in two or three of the mid-count time slots.

    A pod of five (5) adult Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) traveling north along the Kohala coast.

    Near the end of our count (about 11:00 or 11:30), we all became a bit unsettled to observe two vessels that appeared to be commercial operations, display actions as though they were pursuing a pod of five Humpback Whale that were moving toward the north point of the Island (it looked like they were traveling in the direction of Maui). They presented as though they were pursuing the pod of five thus making the Whales increase their speed to stay out of range of the boats.

    The vessels operators could have moored their boats anywhere along the coastline in the general area and seen a much more rewarding show as well as not having made the impression of stressing the large pod as it appeared that they did, and possibly causing any calves to get dangerously left behind!

    We also watched as a small speed boat that was too near the shore tear over a lone Humpback that unexpectedly surfaced in its path. The boatman made little effort to observe to see if the whale was injured by the encounter, and we watched it tentatively while we finished our day’s count to observe if it was badly injured or just jostled and disoriented. It appeared to recover and begin to play in the water again. This left us with a feeling of relief as we gathered up our belongings, and cleared the site.

    Two kayaking fishermen got an up-close view of a full breach display from a large adult Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

    Setting aside the irksome few vessels traversing the Kohala coastline after helping to make a few notes of the boats’ actions, I focused my attentions back on the whale count.

    Over all, the Ocean Count was a fantastic experience! There were several conscientious boats in the water as well. Like the kayaking fishermen who got a surprisingly good show! The numerous animals exhibiting an impressive show of behaviors were awesome! Behavior we observed included breaching, diving, fin slapping, spy hopping, numerous blows, and more… (<–this link is to a picture PDF).

    It was particularly attention grabbing when a mother was teaching her calf how to do some of these behaviors! The calves appeared to try very hard and would sometimes repeat a behavior several times before changing to another. We even observed a pod of approximately 20 spinner dolphins skimming through our observation area heading in a northerly direction! They looked to be having a great time, completely undaunted by the number of Humpback in the area! πŸ™‚

    Even in Alaska, while I did see a larger number of whale once or twice, I do not believe I observed so many behavior patterns in so little time. The process of watching for specific behaviors and counting each occurrence of each behavior made me ‘see’ more of the whales and what they were doing than I had observed while simply watching the whale and madly firing my camera shutter for the pictures.

    I WILL make an effort to participate in this event again! And NEXT time, I WILL remember the sun block since I seem to wear my dive skin and/or wet suit so often that I forgot to protect my sun deprived legs when I wore my shorts for the Whale count event :-O Eeeee Youch!!!!! Nope. No pictures of that part of my day. Too embarrassing to feel that much like a tourist again… πŸ˜‰

    Darkerview.com also posted on this volunteer opportunity! — search “Whale Count”>