Sunday, August 31, 2014


Photo by Ned Harris 8/29/2014

Ned captured the trifecta of this Black-tailed Rattlesnake: Rattle, coil, tongue!

From the link above:

This rattlesnake is capable of delivering large amounts of potent venom. If encountered it should be left alone. A large percentage of envenomations occur when a snake is handled or abused.
And a bonus blog for all of us snake fans: Social Snakes 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Red-spotted Toads

Photo by Ned Harris 8/19/2014

When it rains, the adult Red-spotted Toads come out to play.

From the link above:

Red-spotted toads can tolerate a 40% loss in body water and still be active during dry periods.
Breeding occurs from March to September and is often stimulated by rainfall. Breeding of desert spring or stream populations typically occurs March-June, while populations breeding in temporary pools or tinajas breed June-September. The call is a high trill lasting 4-10 seconds made by males from the shallows of the breeding pond or nearby on land, in burrows, or under rocks. The eggs are deposited singly or sometimes in short strands on the bottom of a pool. Tadpoles metamorphose in 1-2 months.

Anne says: Watch for tiny red-spotted toads on the roads in the next month or so.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Photo by Marge Kesler 8/20/2014

Next three by Marty Horowitz, same day (8/20/2014)

It's always great to see (and hear) water in Sabino Creek!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

After the storm

Photo by Matt Ball 8/16/2014

Complete double rainbow over our neighbor's house. Whoo hoo!

And (because it's my blog and she's back at college) a bonus from my daughter, The Science of Fandom; a comic series using characters and ideas from popular films (and other media) to explain science basics. Check out this one on vaccination.

And another bonus from Arizona Highways Friday Fotos feature: There's a Storm Coming. (Includes a photo from our favorite Serpent Princess of Dancing Snake Nature Photography!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Art of Shedding

Photo by Ned Harris 8/13/2014

Snakes (try to) shed their skin in one piece. (They're usually successful.) They start by rubbing their head on something rough, like this rock, and catching a split piece of skin. Then they slither out of their skin, like taking off a sock, turning it inside out in the process. Ned and I saw the whole skin here, but most of it had been broken up by rain the day before. This section was the most photogenic.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Photo by Marty Horowitz  August 2014

Some glorious sunsets this month - click on this example.

Monday, August 25, 2014

S/he's got legs!

Photos by Matt Ball 8/15/2014

Saw two of these millipedes on the Lake trail. Matt got close to eye level with one to get a great view of the legs.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

In the tomato family

Photo by Matt Ball 8/15/2014

Wolfberry (3 Lycium species in Sabino Canyon, Lycium exsertum is the most common) is bearing (or berry-ing) fruit. The fruits look like tiny tomatoes, and are, in fact, edible. Many plants in the Nightshade family (Solanaceae) are toxic; including Sacred Datura, Silverleaf Nightshade, and Desert Tobacco. Some, though, like tomatoes and potatoes (don't normally grow in Sabino Canyon), are yummy. Especially potatoes.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

In the zone

Photo by Ned Harris 8/8/2014

Click on this photo for a larger view of these Zone-tailed Hawks. And then spend a happy hour (or two) looking at all the flying things (and more) on Ned's flickr site.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Metallic Bugs

Photos by Ned Harris 8/15/2014

I channeled Fred Heath to make this metallic green Fig Beetle (aka Fig-eater Beetle, June Bug) land on my arm.

Cricket Hunter wasps are very difficult to photograph. They seem to never stop moving erratically. Ned caught this one's metallic blue.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Holding it together

Photos by Ned Harris 8/13/2014

After the rains in the canyon (on Tuesday, 8/12/2014), Ned and I noticed that the cryptogamic soil is growing. For more info on this amazing dirt, click here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

And a Gila Monster, too

Photos by Matt Ball 8/15/2014

A few steps away from the Tiger Rattlesnake, my Honey-Matt and I saw this rather skinny Gila Monster.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The tiger and the spine

Photos by Matt Ball 8/15/2014

It was too cool for much activity from this Tiger Rattlesnake; nevertheless, I resisted the urge to pull the spine from his/her head.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Owl be around

Photos by Alan Kearney 8/11/2014

Hooo uuuu lookin' at? 

Alan had not one but two Great Horned Owls in the trees in his yard (very close to Sabino Canyon). How about that?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ant clouds

Photos by Ned Harris 8/13/2014

If you were out and about on Wednesday, 8/13/2014, you may have run into some dust-devil-like clouds composed entirely of flying ants. Leaf-cutter ants, specifically Acromyrmex versicolor.  The adults (have wings and) swarm after a big rain. They hook up in the air to mate and fall to the ground still attached.
Click on the bolded words for more posts on these critters.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Photo by Mark Hengesbaugh 8/11/2014

Mark writes:

Coues white-tailed deer drinking from one of the pools below Sabino Dam this morning. Interesting thing: Coues deer births coincide with the monsoon spurt in vegetation growth. Fawns will lose their spots after they’re weaned. Experts say if you see a Coues deer fawn that appears to be abandoned, don’t try to capture him/her. The mother is around, she’s just hiding.

Anne says: Click on the photo for larger view. Remember, deer are herbivores. They never want to eat you.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bob's Blue Beetle and Big Beetle Bonus

Photo by Bob Turcotte 8/4/2014

Bob saw this blue beetle on Mt Lemmon and sent this helpful link along with his photo.
Many more beautiful beetles available on our favorite bug lady's blog - and don't forget to take a look at Margarethe's latest watercolor art.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Blooming now

Photo by Marty Horowitz 8/8/2014

Scarlet Spiderling (aka Red Spiderling Boerhavia coccinea)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sign of Winter?

Photo by Marty Horowitz 8/8/2014

Phainopeplas are usually at higher elevations in the summer, but this one found his way to Sabino Canyon. Desert Mistletoe berries are their main food source in the winter and early spring. Maybe this one is trying Wolfberries! (scroll down at the link for Wolfberry photo)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


All photos by Marty Horowitz 8/8/2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rock around the creek

Photo by Marty Horowitz 8/8/2014

Momma and baby rocks showing off their recent high water lines.
Anne says: Hope it rains a lot more this month!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Not a Jackalope

Photo by Alan Kearney 8/7/2014

Good thing Alan didn't take my word for it! This is not, in fact, a jackalope. (You'll want to click on the photo to be absolutely sure.) Thanks to Marty and to Fred for independently verifying this as a Western Polyphemus Moth. Alan photographed this beauty at his home near Sabino Canyon.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Photos by Ned Harris 8/3/2014

Click on these photos to see what I mean! Both are Zebra-tailed lizards. I'm reasonable sure that the top photo is of a male. The two stripes near the 'armpit' are more defined. (They're covered by his elbow in this shot, but you can still see traces.) The stripes on the tail are much more prominent in males, too.
The photo below shows only the barest hint of 'armpit' stripes. That indicates a female in an individual of this size. You'll also note the orange color under the 'chin' and 'armpit.' That indicates she's carrying fertilized eggs. Wouldn't it be exciting to see tiny lizards emerging from eggs? Let's be on the lookout!

Friday, August 8, 2014

How all Side-blotched Lizards should look

Photo by Ned Harris 8/3/2014

Sometimes you can barely see the blotch on the Common Side-blotched Lizard. This one has made identification easy, though.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Photo by Ned Harris 8/3/2014

Click on the photo for a larger view of this male Filagree Skimmer dragonfly. And remember this handy general rule for the insect world: If it has wings, it's an adult. (Not all adult insects have wings - take ants, for example - but if there are wings, then you are looking at an adult.)
Like many animals, dragonflies are often sexually dimorphic (di- = 2; morph- = form; two forms) as adults. In this species, the males have much darker, more filled-in wings than females. Scroll down on the link above to compare.
And, if you like dragonflies, spend some time at Truly stunning photographs.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Surface tension

Photo by Alan Kearney 7/28/2014

Click on this photo for even more detail. This paper wasp has landed on the water in Sabino Creek - you can see the pressure points - but there's no break in the surface. That, my friends, is another example of the awesome power of water.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Antlions! Really!

Photos by Gene Spesard 8/2/2014

Roaring thanks to Gene for catching these antlions on his property. Click the photos for a closer look at the amazing wings.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Beast of Barrel

Photo by Alan Kearney 8/1/2014

Arizona Barrel Cacti (Ferocactus wislizenii) are blooming all over! Take a closer look inside each flower for a beast ... or two!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Beauty and the Beast

Photos by Alan Kearney 7/28/2014

You can decide which is which!

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Inquiring blog readers (who receive the daily emails) have asked how to search for 'old' posts; I'll give you the scoop. is the website to remember - or better - to bookmark. That takes you directly to Your Daily Dose of Sabino Canyon. On the left, under 'Contact', you'll see: Search This Blog. Type what you'd like to find in the box and click the Search box. I've found it works best if you use one word, like: lion. You'll get Mountain Lion AND Antlion posts, but that's is better than getting no posts (because I used 'Mt.' or 'Mt' and not 'Mountain'; Ant lion and not Antlion, and so forth). 

You can also browse the Blog Archive. (Look just below Search This Blog.) If you'd like to see what was going on last year in August, for example, click on the arrowhead next to: 2013 (355). That lowers the months with their respective arrowheads. Click on the word August, though, to get the entire month of posts in reverse chronological order. You can go back in time. It's fun. Do this for 2012 and August, too. Some real treats in store....

And now for a bonus bird video

Friday, August 1, 2014


Photos by Dancing Snake Nature Photography


The Serpent Princess writes:

A few weeks back I went to the Dam and photographed these Sonoran Desert Toads mating. The remaining pools of water were filled with adult toads. I went back last Saturday, and there was not a toad to be seen. However, the pools (which had increased in size due to some rains), were instead filled with these tadpoles.
 Anne says: Click on the photos for larger views. The tadpole glistens.