26 August 2009

SW thumbs, day 1

Upon arrival in New Mexico, our first major undertaking was finding a bagel. Alas, no photo is available. Rest assured, cream cheese was involved. Mission accomplished, we found our shuttle and proceeded to nap our way to the Ghost Ranch, which was neither a ranch, nor ghostly. It did provide us with a wonderful opportunity to investigate outdoor sculptures, though. Matt quickly found a kindred spirit, a raven in a Texas hat, and I marveled at the much-larger-than-life cairn of apples/crushed soda cans.

Matt & raven

cairn, Heidi & raven, giant chicken, Matt & guineas

We barely had any time to get into trouble before the cousin showed up and whisked us off into the foothills to meet our newest cousin (close enough to a niece). At a whopping six months old, she has ultimately mastered attention-getting, toy-dropping, joyful sputtering and a host of other handy tricks.

Lest we disturb naptime, Matt and I consulted our sources to determine which local spots might harbor birds. For Florida, we planned for months. Ok, weeks. For New Mexico, we booked our flights two weeks early, sent an e-mail out when we arrived, used our Google-fu and somehow managed to determine that higher elevations would mean more new things. Matt likely snuck in a bit more research, but I was just happy to clamber around some new turf. So we were off to the ski basin! Appropriately, that link is for wild flowers, not skiing ;-)

Highly reflective windows. Quiz: do you see the "bird proof" decal?
Hint: it's on the right side of the left pic and it's ineffective.

Aside from traipsing around the parking area and eying big shiny windows, the veg surrounding the parking lot was teeming with insect life. Lush meadows of flowers harbored the previously posted photos that Matt took of our charismatic new find: green lattice moth. For location, comedy, perspective and scale, here are a few shots from my camera.

meadow, flowers, stalking the green lattice moth

Of course, having been chided for taking so many pictures of birds and bugs and plants, we had to remind ourselves to take pictures of, well, us. So from the perspective of the moth, I present a self portrait of the photographer from moth's-eye-view. Also a portrait that a kindly old log snapped for us with the help of the camera's handy timer that I finally got around to using after a year. There's even a tree-perspective shot of Matt, the waifish observer on the trail of giants.

portrait by self, portrait by log, portrait of Matt

Venturing back down from the basin heights, we were treated to an absolutely divine meal that our beloved cousin-in-law prepared. After making our way up the ridge behind the house, stuffed from dinner, Matt and I listened to the yippings of distant and not-so-distant coyotes and watched the sunset.

evening from the hills

Next up... predictably, will be day2 =)

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