Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mistaken Identity

The two Arizona Black Walnut (Juglans major) trees that had sprouted above the dam were wonderful examples of post-Arundo (post-Giant Reed) recovery. Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists have shown off these native trees to anyone and everyone - from elementary school kids and their parents to visitors from far and wide - since the first tree was discovered in summer 2010. You'll note my use of the past tense.
Representatives from the Forest Service, mistaking them for invasives, cut down both trees last week.
The most visible AZ Black Walnut was documented on this blog. We were keeping tabs on this tree, particularly, as it was the most photogenic; but the 2nd one had been doing well, too. If you have a photo of either tree from 2013, please send it to me.

Rot in peace, AZ Black Walnuts.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Flower and friend

Photo by Alan Kearney 4/23/2013

Everyone except my Honey-Matt, click photo for a larger view of this prickly pear flower and to find the friend.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Don't bite the rat that feeds you!

Photo and text by Terry DeWald  4/23/2013

Terry writes: 

Came across this dead Kangaroo Rat [Anne says: might be a Round-tailed Ground Squirrel; looks big for a K-Rat(ion)] and dead [Western Diamondback] Rattlesnake east of Bear Canyon. Would love to have seen exactly what happened at this crime scene. Perhaps as the snake bit the rat before the rat died he was able to inflict a fatal bite while being gobbled up inside the snake's mouth. There has to be a message here somewhere; reminiscent of Jonah and the whale, or biting off more than you can chew. In 'N Out Burger, with both out for good.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet

Photo by Mark Hengesbaugh  4/15/2013

Mark writes:

Who gives a goatee-challenged, even-tempered visitor from the south a name like this? On Monday at the dam I saw this on his nest high in one of the ash tree that we volunteers had saved from the scourge of the Giant Reed. Interesting thing about Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets is that they only come into the U.S. in southeastern Arizona and then only in the summertime.
Anne says: click photo for larger view.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Yes, you!

Photo by Fay Bosland of Marge Kesler and elementary students

Text by Pam Bridgman: 
Are you passionate about environmental education? Would you like to expand your knowledge about the ecological relationships that make Sabino Canyon such a special place, its desert plants and animals, native and natural history, aquatic life and geology? Over 140 active Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) share your passion and welcome you to join us.
SCVN is now recruiting for the Class of 2013. Training begins September 3, 2013 and continues each Monday through December 9, 2013. Classes are taught by local faculty and experts in the History of Sabino Canyon, Mammalogy, Hohokam, Plant Biology, Desert Ecology, Ornithology, Riparian Ecology, Geology, Arthropods and Herpetology. Graduates provide interpretation for regularly scheduled elementary Field Trip programs, hikes, public bird, wildlife, and plant and geology nature walks and demonstrations, as well as performing conservation efforts to combat buffelgrass, giant reed and other invasive species to preserve Sabino Canyon’s delicate ecological balance.
Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists have been called “Influencers of the Future,” making indelible impressions on the growing minds of another generation. In 2011-2012, SCVN’s free programs reached over 7,000 school children and 11,000 adults, providing education on Southwestern deserts’ and forests’ biodiversity, their conservation, and the consequences of their destruction. Because experience is the best teacher, our trained naturalists bring children and adults into the canyon where they can watch, touch, feel and hear the desert via programs and activities that foster understanding, respect and appreciation of the natural wonders of Sabino Canyon.
Helping a child learn to be comfortable in the outdoors and to appreciate, no, revel in nature, is quite possibly one of the greatest legacies we can give. If you share these sensibilities, please consider becoming a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist. The application is available here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who, me?

Photo by Ned Harris 4/10/2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Photo by Ned Harris 4/12/2013

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/13/2013

If we had our pattern scanner, we could tell if these are photos of the same individual! Female Eastern Collared Lizard.

Photos by Marty Horowitz 4/13/2013

And a male of the species. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Photo by Ned Harris 4/12/2013

Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) flowers, Velvet Mesquite (Prosopis velutina) leaves.

Photo by Ned Harris 4/12/2013

Mexican Gold Poppy (Eschscholzia californica ssp. mexicana), Trailing Four O'clock (Allionia incarnata)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Don't call me toad!

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/7/2013

Photo by Bill Kaufman 4/10/2013
Regal Horned Lizards seen in Sabino Canyon.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thistle Magnet

All Photos by Fred Fisher  4/10/2013
Lots of insects like New Mexico Thistle (Cirsium neomexicanum); bees dive in above.

The 'bugs' above are a type of Blister Beetle. From Margarethe Brummermann:

Dull orange beetles of the genus Nemognatha love the thick pink heads of New Mexico Thistles. Their elongated maxillae form a sucking tube that allows them to compete with bees for the nectar. On the flower heads they also find mates and lay their eggs.

Thanks, Fred Fisher, for these fantastic finds!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

They'll be giants!

Photo by Ned Harris 4/12/2013

Carol had seen these Giant Mesquite Bugs the day before, when they were even smaller. Soon, they'll look like this. For more on their life cycle, head to Margarethe's post.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Javelina eyes water

Another shot from Bill Kaufman's trail camera. Click for larger view!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grabbing some take-out

Photo by Bill Kaufman 4/10/2013

Greater Roadrunner having a fresh Tiger Whiptail for lunch.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Curious Cooper's

Photos by Matt Ball 4/11/2013

This Cooper's Hawk swooped by my 'office' window several times and stayed posed on the wall for a few photos, before taking off with some small creature as prey.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pentzia Pullers Prevail!

Photos by Debbie Bird 4/9/2013

When out hiking one fine day, I noticed this plant - and many more like it - on the Bear Canyon trail. It looked like an invasive we had pulled previously. After consulting with Joan Tedford, Debbie Bird, and the Forest Service, we set a date to remove Pentzia incana, an invasive from Africa, from several places in the recreation area.

Anne attacks with an ax.

As luck would have it, it rained a bit in the early, early morning of April 9th, and it remained cool, making it easier for the team of Debbie and Jerry Bird, Fred Heath, and Anne Green to get the job done!

Jerry and Fred survey the successful removal

If only all invasive plants were so easily dealt with! We removed 5 industrial-sized bags of Pentzia. Thanks to Debbie and Jerry for the use of their vehicle and tools, Fred for his time and expertise, and the Forest Service for more tools and bags.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Photo by Alan Kearney, March 2013
Phainopepla in phlight

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gila on the rocks

Photo by Bob Wenrick 4/3/2013

Photo by Ned Harris 4/3/2013

Same gila, different rocks. Gila Monsters spent the vast majority of their life underground; they are out now to eat bird eggs and young hatchlings. Unlike most other lizards, Gila Monsters can't drop their tail to escape predators; they store fat in their tail for their months underground.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

No rhyme this time

Photo by Alan Kearney, March 2013
Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla)

Photo by Alan Kearney, March 2013
Fiddleneck (Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia)

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/1/2013
Yellow Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus)

Photo by Fred Fisher 3/26/2013
Sand Bells (Nama hispidum)

Friday, April 12, 2013

On the ground and all around

Photo by Ned Harris 4/3/2013

Photo by Ned Harris 4/3/2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

In the air and everywhere

Photo by Roger Rittmaster 3/23/2013

Photo by Marty Horowitz  3/24/2013

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/1/2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Desert Mariposa Lily

Photo by Ned Harris 4/1/2013

The beautiful Desert Mariposa Lily (Calochortus kennedyi) doesn't bloom unless winter rains have been sufficient. Ned saw this one on the Esperero Trail.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cat up!

Photo by Bill Kaufman's trail camera
Bobcat with prey, kindly staying on the path.

An aside from Anne: I've never liked the "Bear down!" motto. (There, I've said it.) Not only does it remind me of useless advice I was given during labor, it seems ill-suited to Wildcats. How about "Cat up!"?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Snake 'n Drake

Photo by Kenne Turner  4/5/2013

Kenne saw this 3 - 3.5 ft long Coachwhip crossing the road and tracked it into the trees.

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/5/2013

Marty captured this male Mallard reflecting on reflections.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cam-o and Ham-o

Photo by Lyn Hart 3/29/2013
This Canyon Tree Frog is actually in a tree! (Click photo for larger view.)

Photo by Ned Harris 3/27/2013
And so is this Ornate Tree Lizard. This little guy was hamming it up for the camera.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Get your collar on!

Photos by Ned Harris 4/1/2013

Ned 'Raptorman' Harris and company, led by Tom 'Grassman' Skinner, did a lizard walk recently. Larry 'Lizardman' Jones comments: 

The top is actually a subadult male [Eastern Collared Lizard], as it has the pattern intermediate between a juvie and adult (they start out reticulated, then become spotted…apparent on the rump), plus the orange bars are a ploy by subadult males (and juveniles) to mimic gravid females so that the adult males don’t attack them. The bottom is an adult male. You can see the male in the second foto has a much larger head that the subadult (or female) and more developed color pattern. Nice shots, by the way!
Anne 'Notaman' Green says: Thank you for your support of this blog!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ladder-out and ladder-back!

Photos by Ned Harris 3/27/2013

On a recent nature walk, we saw the male Ladder-backed Woodpecker on the way out, and the female on the way back!
This pair has a nest right along the main path -  on the south side near the culvert before you get to the entrance to the Bear Canyon trail nearest the paved road.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hedgehogs are blooming!

Photo by Ned Harris 4/1/2013

Hedgehogs (Echinocereus fasciculatus) are blooming in the canyon! Head out and take a look.

For those of you who can't head out, a podcast on the Sonoran Desert from our friends at Science Friday!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Photos by Roger Rittmaster 3/28/13

Yes, an Elf Owl in a saguaro and in flight. These small, nocturnal birds take over holes made by Gila Woodpeckers or Gilded Flickers. Whoo wouldn't?