Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hot enough for snow

Photos by Bob Turcotte 4/19/2014

Okay, it's not really snow, but it's as close as I like to get! Goodding Willow (Salix gooddingii) seeds, piling up in the riparian area above the dam.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Snake 'n' Bake

Photo by Ned Harris 4/23/2014

Photo by Ned Harris 4/23/2014

Close up by Alan Kearney 4/23/2014

Black-necked Garter Snake taking in some sun.

Update on Gopher or Glossy? Larry Jones confirmed that Gopher's the word. Fred Heath, Phil Bentley, and the Serpent Princess also wrote in to say: "Gopher it!" Larry hasn't (yet) seen a Glossy in Sabino.
Thanks to Mark for the question.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The colors of cholla

Fred Heath took on the challenge of getting photos of Staghorn cholla (Cylindropuntia versicolor) flowers in all their colors in Sabino Canyon. Mission accomplished!!
All photos by Fred Heath, 4/14 or 4/15/2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

It's buggy out there

Photo by Fred Heath 4/23/2014

Fred sent this photo to our favorite bug expert for identification. Margarethe wrote: 

You are right that this is Lycus sanguineus. That is our spring species, and in the low creosote areas. There is another sp. higher up, and at least two more orange ones with black tips later during the monsoon. L. arizonensis and L. fernandesi can be very common in July.
Some females of L. sanguineus are flightless with reduced wings.

For those who like descriptive common names, the critter above is a Bloody Net-winged Beetle.

Photo by Ned Harris 4/9/2014

And Margarethe also identified this beauty as a Bee Fly. It's a fly, not a bee. Only has one pair of wings.

For the latest from her bug blog, check out this post! And don't forget to check out her watercolors!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Giving you the birds

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/6/2014

Photo by Ned Harris 4/9/2014

Photo by Mark Hengesbaugh 4/21/2014

Lucy's Warbler, making a nest in a mesquite

Friday, April 25, 2014

Other herp-posers

Photo by Dan Lupo 4/11/2014

Sonoran Desert Tortoise, for the cover of Gentle Tortoise Quarterly.

Photo by Dancing Snake Nature Photography 4/13/2014

Black-necked Garter Snake, for Better Snakes and Garters.

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/16/2014

Greater Earless Lizard, for Lizards' Fitness.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


All photos by Marty Horowitz 4/15/2014

This Desert Spiny asked Marty to take some head shots of him for the next issue of Cosmopolizard.

Ocotillo blossoms really bring out my blue!

Can you airbrush my nose a bit? 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bottoms up!

Photo by Dancing Snake Nature Photography 4/13/2014

Synchronized feeding, mixed double division. (Female, left; male, not left : -)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gopher or Glossy?

Photos by Mark Hengesbaugh 4/2/2014

Mark wonders if this is a Gopher or a Glossy snake? I'm sticking with Gopher, because I didn't realize there could be Glossy snakes in this area until Mark asked. If you are more of an expert than that, please send me your report.

Monday, April 21, 2014

'runner chicks

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/10/2014

Two Roadrunner nest have been spotted; this one is in a cholla (and that's all I'll say).

Photos by TJ Albano 4/13/2014

This nest has 4 chicks!
TJ reports:

I was at the canyon today and was able to get a pic of the baby roadrunners in their nest with mama feeding them a lizard. Well, more like shoving a lizard down one of their throats. The tail and legs still wiggling in the beak!

Thanks, mom!

The whole enchi-lizard

And finally, thanks to Michael aka Hot Chocolate, I found the 4-chick nest at the end of the Ned-less Nature Walk on 4/16. Marty got some shots from a safe distance with a lot of zoom. Bob used binoculars to confirm that there are still 4 chicks.

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/16/ 2014

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/16/2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Flowers you don't see everyday

Photo by Matt Ball 4/5/2014

One lone Marina (Marina parryi) on the Esperero Trail. You guessed it! In the Pea family.

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/6/2014

Desert Mariposa Lily (Calochortus kennedyi) Calochortus from the Greek kalo = beautiful and chortos = grass. Look up the scientific names at the Botanary at Dave's Garden.

Photo by Kenne Turner 4/8/2014

And a splendid Barestem Larkspur (Delphinium scaposum = dolphin with many leafless flower stalks).

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Perfect 10

All photos by Marty Horowitz 4/10/2014

Ten ducklings remain and are getting bigger. Marty reports:

Mom was "urging" them to jump down from the lake to the pool below the dam! A couple of them skidded down the still-flowing trickle, the rest were timid and went around to the side and a much smaller "leap." Maybe this is pre-flight training. 

Watch them, but please don't disturb or feed!

Friday, April 18, 2014

April flowers

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/10/2014

Staghorn cholla (Cylindropuntia versicolor). Flowers can be red, orange, yellow, greenish, gold. Click the link to see them.

Photo by Gene Spesard 4/2/2014

Engelmann Prickly Pear (Opuntia engelmannii var. engelmannii) blossoms start out yellow; sometimes fade to pinkish orange. 

Photo by Gene Spesard 4/2/2014

Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) flowers are hummingbird favorites. Octotillos are not cacti; they are actually shrubs and are one of 11 plants in their family (Fouquieriaceae). All 11 are the same genus, too. (Fouquieria). Another plant you might know in this family (and genus) is the boojum tree.

Photo by Ned Harris 4/6/2014

Canyon Grape (Vitis arizonica) buds. These will flower (white) and fruits will be (you guessed it) purple grapes. Leaves and fruits are edible, but you'll probably miss out on the letter, as they are very popular with birds. And Paul.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

D-flies in Sabino skies

Damselflies tend to hold their wings parallel to their abdomen when perched. Dragonflies, perpendicular. There are exceptions, of course. A nice site for Arizona dragon- and damselflies is, you guessed it:

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/4/2014

Arroyo Bluet damselfly

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/4/2014

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/4/2014

Both above: Roseate Skimmer dragonflies, males

Photo by Ned Harris 4/6/2014

Photo by Ned Harris 4/6/2014

Both above: Flame Skimmer dragonflies, males.
Click the last photo for a closer look at the jointed legs, attached to the thorax. Insects have three body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. Six jointed legs (joints are key) are attached to the thorax. Always. Wings are attached there, too; but only adults have wings.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lizard list

Photo by Ned Harris 4/2/2014

Young Desert Spiny lizard. Click photo for larger view. This one has a cute face.

Photo by Ned Harris 4/2/2014

Common Side-blotched Lizard, male. You can tell by the blue speckles on the tail. Females have no blue.

Photo by Marty Horowitz 4/4/2014

Greater Earless lizard, this one is a male, too. Females don't have the blue on the belly by the two bars near the hind legs. 

Photo by Ned Harris 4/9/2014

Regal Horned lizard, click for larger view and to see shedding skin. 

Photo by Matt Ball 4/5/2014

Eastern Collared lizard, seen on the Esperero trail, past the Rattlesnake trail turnoff. Also a male, if I'm not mistaken. 

Note from Ned: 
I recommend "Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona" by Brennan and Holycross, available from the Arizona Game and Fish Department web site for $12. [Anne says: also on Amazon.]

Photo by Matt Ball 4/5/2014

See you later, alligator!