Thursday, June 30, 2016

High on Creosote

Photo by Marty Horowitz 5/26/2016

Your friendly Sabino Canyon Round-tailed Ground Squirrel reminds you: Don't try this at home!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Some like it hot!

Photo © Ned Harris 6/15/2016

Zebra-tailed Lizard Note the two (faint, because female) bars near the front leg or armpit. A for armpit, A for A Zebra-tailed. (Work with me here.)

Photo © Jim Klinger 6/13/2016

Greater Earless Lizard Note the two bars near the back legs - or groin. G for Groin, G for Greater Earless.

Photo © Jim Klinger 6/13/2016
Clark's Spiny Lizard Click the photo for a closer look. Note the bracelets on the front legs.

Photo © Jim Klinger 6/19/2016

 Desert Spiny Lizard - No bracelets. Wants a kiss, though.

Photo © Jim Klinger 6/13/2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Now for some cicadas!

Ned wanted to photograph some cicadas on a recent walk. We heard them, of course, but they were tough to find. Two posed just long enough for Ned to get these great shots. Are they adults, you ask? Yes, indeed. Note their wings. 

Photos © Ned Harris 6/15/2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

Super Cooper's

Recent sightings of one fledgling from the Cooper's Hawks who hatched this year. Mom and Dad have been sighted in the area, too.

Photo © Mark Hengesbaugh 6/13/2016

Fledgling from the front

Photo © Jim Klinger 6/13/2016

Fledgling, back view

Photo © Ned Harris 6/15/2016

Mom on the lookout

Notes from Ned:

When I am trying to id a perched accipiter (noun. 1. a hawk of the genus Accipiter, having short, rounded wings and a long tail and feeding chiefly on small mammals and birds), the first thing I look for is the shape of the underside of the tail. Cooper's Hawks have a rounded tail in flight, and this is because the outer tail feathers are noticeably shorter than the central ones. When the bird is perched, the tail feathers show a stair-step pattern on the underside due to this variation in feather length.

Photo © Ned Harris 6/15/2016

Same one as above? Mom knows.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Another Giant!

Photo © Ned Harris 6/15/2016

Giant Mesquite Bugs are one of my favorite insects. The nymphs are so colorful, in all of their stages! For more on this topic, check out Margarethe Brummermann's post. This bug's on a Velvet Mesquite (Prosopis velutina) fruit! (And yes, it's a pea family plant : -)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Giant Spotted spotted!

Photos by Ned Harris 6/15/2016

Giant Spotted Whiptail poses (briefly) for Ned. Ned says: Being an older adult, it lacks the orange hind limbs found on the younger individuals.

Friday, June 24, 2016


Photo by Mark Hengesbaugh 6/13/2016

If you walk out early, you might wake up an Elf Owl!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gopher Yoga

Photo (c) Ned Harris 5/20/2016

This cute critter was photographed on Mt. Lemmon, but Botta's Pocket Gophers also live in Sabino Canyon. They aren't seen above ground very often.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Purple Martin Majesty

Photo by Purple Martin Horowitz 6/12/2016

Purple Martin and House Finch share breakfast with a view!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


There's not much water available in early June, but these Sonoran Desert Toads have their eyes in it!

All Photo by Marty Horowitz 6/12/2016

Rock on!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Canyon Queens

Remember Fred's report on the state of the canyon's queens?

Photo copyright Jim Klinger 6/19/2016

On their early morning ramble, Jean, Mark, and Jim experienced the blooming beauty of the Night-blooming Cereus (Peniocereus greggii) plants. Wonderful! And Dan also reported in.

Photos copyright Dan Granger 6/19/2016


Sunday, June 19, 2016

The fruit has the loot

Photo by Marty Horowitz 5/18/2016

Cat-claw Acacia (Senegalia greggii) fruits. Yes, it's a Pea!

I'm fond of saying: "The fruit is the thing with the seed(s)." Another way to simplify it, though, is to say: "The fruit has the loot." (This sentence has the added benefit of rhyme. And it would work well on a t-shirt.) What's the loot? The seed(s), of course. Each seed is a baby plant, with lunch, packed in a case.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Flower Power

Photo by Marty Horowitz 5/26/2016

Photo by Marty Horowitz 5/6/2016

Copper Purslane (Portulaca suffrutescens)

Photo by Marty Horowitz 5/18/2016

Wild Cotton (Gossypium thurberi) flower (white), spent flower (pink), developing fruits, and last season's fruit (dark, split in lower right quadrant). Yes, it's a Mallow!

Photo by Marty Horowitz 5/18/2016

Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii) flower. Fruits of a different species in foreground. (Specifically, Peppergrass Lepidium virginicum var. menziesii. Yes, it's a Mustard!) 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Leaves, leaves, plants have leaves

Photo by Ned Harris 5/5/2016

Portrait of Fremont Cottonwood leaves

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Birds of a feather

Time for some words about birds (and photos)! Click on links for info from All About Birds (Cornell Ornithology Lab).

Photo © Marty Horowitz 5/8/2016

Photo © Dancing Snake Nature Photography

Update: House Wren (not Canyon Wren)
Thanks, Jean. 

Photo © Marty Horowitz 5/6/2016

Brown-crested Flycatcher

Photo © Ned Harris 5/5/2016

Ned says:

A member of the swallow family, they are the largest swallow in North America. They are secondary cavity nesters at Sabino, using Saguaro cavities that were excavated by Gila woodpeckers after the Gilas have moved on.

Photo © Ned Harris 5/5/2016

See you later!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


All Photos by Marty Horowitz 5/26/2016

Spined-tipped Dancers, post-mating behavior. For more on dragon- and damselfly mating, enjoy these videos; part 1 and part 2.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Three Coopers

Photo by Mark Hengesbaugh 6/7/2016

The 2016 Cooper's Hawk fledglings! Let's call them Carrie, Curly, and Coe! Thanks to Mark for this chick update.

And a reminder to all of us...

Photo by Sue Levine 6/8/2016

In the past few weeks, several people reported seeing a chick on the ground (thanks to Sue for this photo evidence). Even if birds are not in the tree, leave them be. Don't touch or try to rescue any animal who appears to be abandoned in Sabino. If you are concerned about the suffering of animals and want to make a real difference, consider eating fewer chickens (or none at all).

Monday, June 13, 2016

Butterflies for Bryna

In loving memory of my "mother-sister"/mentor/classmate/friend Bryna Ben Asher. Greatly missed.

Marty Horowitz 5/6/2016

Marty Horowitz 5/6/2016

Marty Horowitz 5/1/2016

Marty Horowitz 5/1/2016

Marty Horowitz 5/26/2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Let's Look at Lovely Lizards

Photo by Ned Harris 5/14/2016
Male Greater Earless Lizard, looking happy.

Photo by Ned Harris 5/14/2016
Female Greater Earless Lizard in front. Note that the bars by her back legs (groin) aren't as prominent. That's one way to tell she's a she.

Photo by Ned Harris 5/14/2016
Female Common Side-blotched Lizard. Males have more prominent side blotches.

Photo by Marty Horowitz 5/8/2016
Female Eastern Collared Lizard. Males are that beautiful blue-green color.