Monsoon Flooding

There have been a number of days here in Tucson when the monsoon rains have caused a lot of flooding. Today I checked two of my trail cameras and found that one of them captured two flooding events. The following clips are chronological and if you keep an eye on the rock in the upper right you’ll see how high the flooding range is. The water level rises and falls greater than 6 feet between each heavy rain event and in a short period of time:

Sphinx Moth Caterpillars

This spring I planted several Sacred Datura plants hoping to attract Sphinx moths.  The trick worked and now there are a dozen or so Sphinx moth caterpillars pretty much defoliating one of the Datura plants.

Sphinx moth caterpillar on Datura. Copyright: Greg Joder.

Hummingbird Nest Update

The little female Broad-billed Hummingbird continues to incubate her two eggs. She also performs a lot of nest maintenance each day, adding more material or adjusting what she already has.  In order to capture still images of her I set up my DSLR on a tripod with telephoto and on time-lapse, shooting one photo every minute.  Here are three of the best captures:

It’s hot out! Copyright: Greg Joder.
Nest material. Copyright: Greg Joder
Hunkered down. Copyright: Greg Joder.

more nest building and first egg!

Yesterday the little hummingbird continued working hard building her nest.  She’s using small twigs, leaves, grass seeds and spider silk among other things.  Both of the following videos are best viewed in HD and full screen.  Here’s yesterdays action:

And here is today’s action.  More nest building and her first egg:

I have been keeping a small jar with fur from my dog Ham (now in doggy heaven). This morning I decided to attach some of her fur to a piece of wire and hang it in the flight path of the nesting hummingbird. Sure enough, she found it and started using it in her nest:

Hummingbird Nest Progress

About a week ago I noticed a hummingbird landing on and placing random bits of plants on a hanging vine in my patio.  It was so random I didn’t bother setting up the camera.  I figured it was too late in the season for nesting.  However, during the last few days I realized the female hummingbird was actually making a nest.  So I finally set up the video camera to record her progress.  I think she is a broad-tailed hummingbird.  What do you think?  More to come:

Monsoons

After what seemed an eternity of dry hot weather, the monsoons have finally arrived.

This is the time the desert plants and animals become more active and the Sonoran Desert morphs into a living terrarium with the simple addition of rain. Because of this it is my favorite time of year, despite the high temps and humidity.

This afternoon I set two new camera traps in a mountain range SE of Tucson. On the way to the sites I had selected I came across some common, but beautiful insects:

Figeater beetle, Cotinis mutabilis. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Pepsis wasp/tarantula hawk. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Queen butterfly. Copyright: Greg Joder.

More Wildlife

Despite the recent absence from my blog I have continued to capture photos and videos of things that interest me.  Most recently, I’ve been focused on Sonoran Desert nature.  Here are some favorite videos from the last few weeks.

Western Screech Owl and a Red-spotted Toad:

A Datura bloom time-lapse:

A Desert Kingsnake:

Round-tailed ground Squirrel Family: