Tag Archives: Wildlife

Creative Juice #292

Creative Juice #292

Beautiful quilts. Articles on writing. Bluegrass music. Photography. And more.

  • Pets trying to hide.
  • Wildlife in Botswana.
  • Pretty quilts.
  • Round robin quilts.
  • For most of my life, I’ve been conservative in my beliefs. Conservatives resist change. However, now that the world is so insane, I see the need for change. . .
  • Prizewinning quilts.
  • Like bluegrass? Listen to some wonderful covers. The Petersens.
  • Journaling for fiction writers.
  • I had Scrivener (writing software) on my previous laptop, and I was thinking about buying it again for my new one. On the one hand, I like some of the features, but on the other hand, do I really want to spend the money? I never understood the full functionality of Scrivener anyway. Now I see there is another software, Plottr, with a free trial, and is in some ways superior to Scrivener (although I realize that’s a subjective judgment). See this comparison of Scrivener and Plottr.
  • What do Ukranian refugees need. Quilts, of course. (You had to ask?)
  • There was a wisteria tree in our front yard when I was a little girl. My dad loved flowers, and he loved that tree. Here are some beautiful ones in Japan.
  • Kehinde Wiley first appeared on my radar when his official portrait of President Barack Obama was unveiled. But did you know he’s also an accomplished sculptor?

Return to the Riparian Preserve


“Have you seen the spoonbill who lives here?” asked a man with a camera.

“No, I’ve never seen the spoonbill, but I see you’ve brought the big gun,” I said, pointing to the huge telephoto lens on his camera.

The Gilbert Riparian Preserve is a popular local venue for nature photographers. I posted about it in 2016 and 2017, but I hadn’t been back there since, so the other day I drove to the 110 acre park that boasts a lake, seven ponds, hiking trails, a playground, and an observatory. I wasn’t expecting it to be so busy on a weekday; I was lucky to get a parking spot. The park was full of senior citizens and parents with young children. And also lots of ducks.

Water Ranch Lake
Water Ranch Lake
lotsa ducks
Lots of mallards.
feeding the ducks

When I was a little girl, we’d go to the local pond with a bag of stale bread and tear it up to feed the ducks. Bread is no longer a recommended duck cuisine. At the Preserve, only at the lake (not at the ponds) are you allowed to feed the ducks, and only birdseed, corn, and whole-grain cereal are permitted. (Most people, like the kids above, bring baggies of Cheerios.)

House sparrow
I think this little house sparrow wants in on the Cheerio action.
ring-necked ducks
Ring-necked ducks. See the white markings on their bills?
turtle sunning
A turtle sunning himself

As I wandered around from pond to pond, I found lots of things to look at and wonder about.

Cactus garden
A garden of saguaro cactus
memorial placard
No blossoms in this garden in January, but as I read the dedication, I realized it was planted in honor of a baby who died the day she was born.

Benches appear throughout the preserve. This one had a placard that particularly touched me:


In one of the ponds I noticed some wading birds fishing for food.

American avocet
An American avocet. See the curved-upward beak?
Black-necked stilt
A black-necked stilt

And further on, another turtle:


I noticed a painted rock nestled in the V of a tree trunk:

painted rock

A gambrel’s quail sprinted across the trail in front of me, and I was barely able to snap a shot before it disappeared into the brush:

Gambrel's quail

I won’t let another four-and-a-half years pass before I make another trip to the Preserve. Maybe I’ll see you there. . .

Creative Juice #276

Creative Juice #276

For creative people everywhere.

  • Wallpaper. You either hate it or love it. Here are some designs that might win you over.
  • This quilter finished a lot of lovely quilts in 2021.
  • A bunch of pretty quilts in different stages.
  • These ceramic mugs are works of art. (If you like animals, you’ve got to click this link.)
  • Wildlife photographs.
  • Do creative people ever misplace their tools? (Guilty.)
  • What habitual reading does for your brain.
  • Street photography.
  • What is it about successful authors that made their careers take off?
  • Resources for writers.
  • So, you quit your day job to write fulltime and now you can’t pay the bills? Here are some side hustles that will earn you a little cash and also help you be a better writer. Lots of openings right now.
  • How to generate content quickly.

Creative Juice #265

Creative Juice #265

Special all-Bored Panda episode. Bored Panda is the single website (other than ARHtistic License, of course) that got me through the pandemic. Here are some of my favorite articles. You’re welcome.

Creative Juice #260

Creative Juice #260

I didn’t set out to make this week’s offerings photography-heavy; it just turned out that way. Enjoy, shutterbugs.

Creative Juice #250

Creative Juice #250

Lots of artsy stuff this week:

Creative Juice #212

Creative Juice #212

I much prefer these uplifting, creative articles to the news these days.

Creative Juice #62

Creative Juice #62

Thirteen articles to help you get your creativity on:

  1. Cute little paintings.
  2. A trip to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
  3. What playing the piano does for your brain.
  4. Wildlife photography in black and white.
  5. Beautiful waterfalls.
  6. Lovely ceramics.
  7. What happens when you let seniors wear costumes for ID picture day.
  8. I love this artist’s sketches.
  9. Award-winning quilts. (Click on the small images for enlargements.)
  10. Instead of aimless surfing, read these websites to increase your knowledge.
  11. Quotes to ponder.
  12. Amazing paper sculptures by Nguyễn Hùng Cường.
  13. Something you can do to exercise your creativity.

In Search of the Great Blue Heron

In Search of the Great Blue Heron

To make my physical fitness efforts more palatable, I often take my camera on my walks. The Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, AZ, is located a half-hour drive from my home. The ponds there attract all sorts of waterfowl. One day last month I decided to walk around the Preserve, hoping to get a shot of a great blue heron.


The 110 acres of the Preserve contain eight bodies of water.


The Southeast Regional Library rises from the opposite shore of Water Ranch Lake.


The solid land is veined with trails through desert vegetation. A half-mile concrete loop encircles the lake. Other gravel trails wind among the ponds. Several gardens of wildflowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Education is one of the purposes of the Preserve.  I shared the park with several groups of elementary school children on field trips, families with small children, hikers, and people who, like me, brought their cameras in hopes of capturing creatures with their lenses.DSC01058

An observatory on the grounds is open to the public on Friday and Saturday nights.


Spoiler Alert: even though several species of heron are commonly sighted year-round at the preserve, I didn’t see any. I saw mostly ducks, geese, sandpipers, and rabbits (I posted the rabbit photos on Easter Sunday).DSC01023

Desert trees of all varieties provide homes and food for different species of birds.



I can’t tell what these birds below are, with their heads tucked under their wings. I came back a while later, and they were still sleeping.DSC01050

I think these may be snowy egrets, but I couldn’t get close enough to tell for sure. I caught a severe case of camera envy, me with my little Sony Cyber-shot, surrounded by people with tripods holding impressive cameras with honking telephoto lenses.



Photographs © by Andrea R Huelsenbeck 2016