springtime in the desert   12 comments

Pipevine Swallowtail ~ Battus philenor ~ on apricot blossoms ~ 23 March 2011

As mentioned in my last post, I left Bisbee, Arizona, on April 1st and crossed into Canada on April 9th. For now, I’m in Ontario, getting tools and materials together, and fabricating a couple of things to take to the old house in Nova Scotia. Although I’m planning another ambitious summer of work, I’ve also decided to knock back the pace a bit and spend more time going out hiking and maybe even do some paddling on the nearby lakes. I still have a couple of more posts to write about Utah and my visit to Chaco Canyon, in New Mexico. Also, a bit to write about the trip eastward, although I spent most of my time driving and shot comparatively few photos. However, today, I wanted to share a few photos taken shortly before leaving Bisbee.

The top photo (click on all photos to see larger views) is of a Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor). It was taken on March 23rd, when the apricot trees in the garden were in blossom. When at their peak, several butterflies could always be seen nectaring during the day. Around sunset, several dozen White-lined Sphinx Moths (Hyles lineata) moved in to take their place. One evening, I captured one in a plastic bag, put it in the fridge for a minute or two, shot some photos (see below), and then let it go on its way. The concentration of moths on the blossoms was really quite a sight.

White-lined Sphinx Moth ~ Hyles lineata ~ on 22 March 2011

The final week of my stay was hectic. I had volunteered to work on the welcome desk at the MAKE children’s art festival at the Central School (community arts center) in Bisbee. The event was very successful, featuring a lot of talented artists, musicians and other performers, and attracted a huge number of children from the town and neighboring communities.

In addition to getting the van packed and the house cleaned up, I decided to create an art chair to leave with friends in town. They will take it to the annual art chair auction this autumn. I had wanted to donate a chair last year, but the timing of my arrival is too close to the date of the auction. Creating a chair ahead of time seemed like a great solution. However, I’d underestimated how much time and energy I would have during my final days in Bisbee. As it turned out, I spent most of my final 24 hours in town, working on the chair. Of course, nothing ever goes quite according to plan. The day before leaving, with the chair only about 1/3 finished, I was stung on my right forearm, by an Arizona Bark Scorpion like the one that stung me back in December 2009. Fortunately, the sting didn’t hurt quite as much this time, otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have had time to finish the chair. I did manage to get it done, and to pack the van and be on the road by around noon the next day. The art chair was painted indoors the evening before leaving. When mixing the blue for the chair back, I hoped to capture the incredible blue of a springtime Arizona sky. I was thinking that I had made it a little too bright and blue, but when I photographed the chair out in the garden the next morning — well, it was actually pretty close!

Written by bev wigney on April 26th, 2011

12 Responses to 'springtime in the desert'

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  1. The butterfly in the apricot blossom is a true money shot. Gorgeous. I was disappointed to miss Arizona’s spring in the desert although I did get it in the mountains coming down; so that was wonderful but I love it when I am there and the desert blooms. The cactus are putting on their show in Tucson right now.


    26 Apr 11 at 3:31 pm

  2. I agree on the butterfly photo; very, very nice. And I like the way the chair turned out.


    26 Apr 11 at 3:47 pm

  3. Hi Bev

    I really like the shot of the butterfly. After looking at your photos I want to try some insect shots this year. The chair is quite lovely, I am sure it wll be very popular.



    26 Apr 11 at 5:02 pm

  4. Fantastic shot, absolutely! I love the chair, too. Maybe I’ll go over and put in a bid when the time is right!


    26 Apr 11 at 6:01 pm

  5. Beautiful photos! Love the chairs!


    27 Apr 11 at 8:02 am

  6. Rain – Some day, I would like to stay in Arizona through a full year – to be there during the monsoon rains and the peak time for butterflies, moths, and other insects.

    Mark – I’ve shot a lot of photos of butterflies over the years, but this one is definitely among my favourites.

    Guy – I hope you give the insect photography a try. I’ve found it very rewarding and it doesn’t require so much traveling around, or equipment, as photographing birds.

    John – A couple of friends have mentioned putting in bids, so you may have some competition! (-:

    Skye – Thank you!

    bev wigney

    28 Apr 11 at 9:22 am

  7. Enjoyed seeing this goodbye glimpse of your winter landscape, the subtle color and intricate patterns of the Sphinx moth and that glorious butterfly with the apricot blooms. Your lovely sky-colored chair for the auction is magical. I’m imagining an entirely different beauty in Ontario as you and Sabrina and Sage move into May.


    30 Apr 11 at 6:53 pm

  8. am – Thanks! Yes, everything is very different here in Ontario. When I first arrived home on April 9th, there was not too much green, but now it is racing ahead, changing day to day. One thing that made such an impression on me was crossing from New York into Ontario at the Ivy Lea bridge near Kingston. You catch a glimpse of some of the islands of the Thousand Islands, and then you are suddenly driving through Canadian Shield landscape – rock outcrops with tall Eastern White Pines. To me, that speaks of “home” more than just about anything else.

    bev wigney

    30 Apr 11 at 9:41 pm

  9. Gorgeous swallowtail, Bev. Reading these pots makes me feel like hitting the road – if the doctor would allow it, but she will not. Thank you for taking me along with you!


    9 May 11 at 12:48 pm

  10. It is always such a treat to read here and be dazzled by your photographs. I love the image of the swallowtail! Your beautiful art chair is going to bring great pleasure to some lucky duck. 🙂

    We are finally having a 2 day run of sunshine before the rain hits us again. Hope you are enjoying some pleasant spring weather, too.


    13 May 11 at 1:38 am

  11. Wow, well done on the chair, Bev! Not bad for a day’s work. I admire the way you’re getting involved in commmunity activities. I’m sure many snowbirds ignore all that kind of stuff — but then, you’re no ordinary snowbird.


    20 May 11 at 8:02 am

  12. Dave – It has taken awhile, but I’ve begun trying to get more involved in the arts community in Bisbee, and will try to do so while I’m in Nova Scotia in the summer. It takes a bit of willpower as socializing is not one of my strong points, but participation in arts related events makes it a lot easier. And, right, I am definitely not the usual snowbird tyoe!

    bev wigney

    20 May 11 at 8:38 am

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