A Balloon & Bumble Bees

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The 48th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta started today. Unfortunately, we had heavy rains on Friday, so there was a rare fog covering the valley on Saturday morning. Only a few test balloons got off before they cancelled the launch due to a persistence of fog and low hanging clouds. I went out to the river and came across a group of paddlers waiting for the balloons to launch. There were other groups of paddlers on the river. The clouds cleared by 10:00 am, and the bumble bees were flying around in the cosmos. I decided the bumble bees were a nice stand-in for the balloons.

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The Canon balloon few over. It was the only balloon I saw.
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Sun trying to cut through the fog.
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Paddlers floating down the river.
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Waiting for the balloons.

Stormy Sunday

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We had thunderstorms coming in from all directions this afternoon. The thunderstorm that built up over the Sandias was the most dramatic. While out on a walk before the storms, I encountered a little bit of wildlife.

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Buckeye Butterfly

This video of the Great Purple Hairstreak Butterfly shows how it moves the flanges on the ends of its wings while it feeds. I assume it’s to fool predators into going after the flanges on its wings, giving it a chance to escape.

Blue Hairstreak

Silver kitty

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Thunderstorm activity to the north.

Leave Me Bee Sam-I-am

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A bee, I’ll call Wild-B, was minding his own business collecting pollen on an echinacea, when another bee, I’ll call Sam-I-am, started buzzing Wild-B. Wild-B held his position and stuck out his pollen laden back legs as he tried to block and discourage Sam-I-am from buzzing him. Sam-I-am was quite pesky, but finally moved on after a Bumble Bee landed on the echinacea. Wild-B also took off once the Bumble Bee started making his way around the flower in Wild-B’s direction.

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Wildflowers @ 11,000 Feet

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With it 100º F (37.8º C) at our house, we hopped in the Mazda Miata MX-5, put the top down and headed for the hills — well Sandia Crest at 11,000 feet (3352.8 meters) above sea level. The drive to the top was a blast as the MX-5 hugged the corners well above the posted speed limit. We could see the clouds swirling above us, and hear the birds singing with the top down, as rounded one hairpin turn after another on our way to the top. Once at the top of the Crest, the temperature was 55º F (12.8º C) with drizzling rain and cold wind. Quite a contrast from the sunny, hot valley below. We walked around on the mountain top and noticed there were lots of wild flowers blooming.

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