Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Answers to Spring Quiz one

Yes, there will be a second quiz. Coming soon!

Answers to Spring Quiz one

Monday, February 27, 2017

Spring quiz one

Mustard or Borage?

Answers tomorrow!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Red Rainbow

Rainbow at sunset 2/14/2017

Photo by Marty Horowitz 2/14/2017

Info on rainbow physics and angles. Thanks, Marty!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sag happens

Photos by Nancy Carey 1/19/2017

Saguaro skin shows signs of sun : -)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Anderson Dam rocks!

Anderson Dam (near shuttle stop 8) shows gneiss layering of the 1400-million-year-old Oracle granite (dark) and 50-million-year-old Wilderness granite (light).

Photos copyright Marty Horowitz 2/3/2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Even more dam water

All photos copyright Marty Horowitz





Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Photos copyright Bill Kaufman 2/15/2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hey, hey, we're the mustards!

Mustard family tutorial. Hooray! Five parts:

Quiz coming soon!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tutorial Time!

Spring has sprung in Sabino Canyon and that means it's time to (re-)learn spring flowers. First up, the Borage family tutorial from 2016.

Six parts:

Quiz later :-) 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Night moves

Photo by Bill Kaufman's trail camera 2/15/2017

This bobkitten was on the prowl in Bill's yard late one night. Shiny eyes are from the flash : -)

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Photo (c) Dancing Snake Nature Photography 2/15/2017

The one and only Serpent Princess sent this photo of mysterious balls in a Foothills Palo Verde (Parkinsonia microphylla). We think these silk-covered balls are egg sacs, but seven seems unusually fecund, even for a spider. Any experts out there who can confirm or deny?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Just Another Ocotillo Sunrise

Photo by Marty Horowitz 2/12/2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Nothin' but blue sky

Photo by Marty Horowitz 1/25/2017
Luke, our partially albino / leucistic Phainopepla and Sabino snowbird since 2010.

Photo by Marty Horowitz 1/30/2017

Photo by Marty Horowitz 2/7/2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Solar Powered

Photo by Marty Horowitz 2/7/2017

Early rising Ornate Tree Lizard shows darker colors to better absorb solar energy to power through the day. More on color changes in ectotherms in this great article from Marty.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tip to tail

My Honey-Matt and I went hiking at Saguaro East on Saturday (2/11/2017), as it tends to be far less crowded there on the weekends (and that's the only time we have for hiking now). We were thrilled to encounter this well-camouflaged, at least 4'-long Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake. Note the spine in her/his head!

All Photos by Matt Ball 2/11/2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Take me to your feeder!

Photo by Marty Horowitz 2/7/2017

A well-fed looking Round-tailed Ground Squirrel attempts to intimidate Marty into surrendering his house keys. Resist, Marty! Resist!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wrens seen and heard

Photos by Marty Horowitz


From the link (All about Birds):

No bird exemplifies Southwestern deserts better than the noisy Cactus Wren. At all hours of the day they utter a raw scratchy noise that sounds like they are trying to start a car. Cactus Wrens are always up to something, whether hopping around on the ground, fanning their tails, scolding their neighbors, or singing from the tops of cacti. They build nests the size and shape of footballs which they use during the breeding and nonbreeding season. Cactus Wrens are true desert dwellers; they can survive without needing to drink freestanding water.

The Cactus Wren is the state bird of Arizona!


From the link:

The Rock Wren usually builds a pavement or walkway of small, flat stones or pebbles that leads to the nest cavity. The nest is usually located in a rock crevice out of sight, but the pavement may give away the nest's location. The function of this pavement is unknown.

The Rock Wren also needs no standing water to drink.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Reruns: Pellet CSI

Three from 2013:

Lyn finds a pellet 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Rerun: It's our fault

From 2011: The Sabino Fault

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Remains of decay

Photo by Jim De Young 1/25/2017

Thanks to Jim (and Jan) for this colorful example of a decaying Prickly Pear pad.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Pretty Bird

All photos by Marty Horowitz 1/30/2017

Marty writes:

The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon; present year-round in the canyon, but not seen very often. When observed, it often prefers to perch on saguaro tops.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Even more dam (and bridge) water

Report and photos from Fred Heath, 1/21/2017

I went out to Sabino this (1/21/2017) afternoon and saw all of the stream crossing were absolutely impassable. Rattlesnake was running, and I noticed a few small running creeks I never knew existed. Some of the west bank edges above the dam had collapsed. I took a few photos (see below). Mother Nature still rules!!

All Photos by Fred Heath 1/21/2017
Bridge one

Sabino Dam

Dam Bridge

Bear Canyon Bridge (is under there)

Thanks, Fred, for being on the scene!

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Window Peak area with ponderosa pines (~7200 ft elevation); note saguaro in foreground (~4200 ft elevation)

Photo by Marty Horowitz 1/28/2017

Click on this photo for a larger view!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ephemeral Beauty

Frost spikes on prickly pear skeleton, 1/25/2017

All photos by Marty Horowitz 1/25/2017