Caterpillar to Chrysalis

Queen Butterfly caterpillars are eating their way through the leaves on the milkweed plants in my yard.  This is just fine by me.  While I’ve been hoping for some Monarch Butterfly caterpillars to do the same, I have yet to see any.  As far as the Queen caterpillars go, several have already morphed into butterflies as, evidenced by the chrysalis skeletons left behind, while others have only just started.  Here’s a short video I made of the metamorphosis process at normal speed, from caterpillar to chrysalis:

Queen Butterfly chrysalis. Copyright: Greg Joder.

In this video I speed up the 45 minute process to two minutes:

Mountain Lion Family

Yesterday I made the hike out to check on two camera traps I have set up in a wash in the Sonoran Desert.  This is the same wash where my cameras captured three mountain lions when the cubs were nearing a year old (Second video below).

The following video was captured just last week.  I’m so happy to see they are alive and well!

nectar feeding bats

It’s that special time of year in the Sonoran Desert when the Lesser Long-nosed bats return to the region.  If you live where the bats forage and you leave hummingbird feeders up at night, you will know these bats have arrived by the evidence of empty feeders and sticky sugar water left on the ground in the morning.  They are sloppy eaters.  The Lesser Long-nosed bat is a nectarivore and feeds on the blooms of Saguaros, cardón cactus, agave and other night-blooming cacti.

I recently set up one of my motion-activated wildlife cameras to catch these endangered mammals in action.  First, here’s a video of the bats feeding from a flower on a night blooming cactus in my yard:

And here is a video of them feeding from a hummingbird feeder I set in my yard just for the bats:

Total Solar Eclipse

On a whim I met my brothers in Wyoming at Glendo State Park for the 2017 total solar eclipse. Our camp was within 500 meters of the center line of totality. Since I made the trip without much planning, I had only a video camera, DSLR with 400mm lens and no appropriate filters for looking directly at the sun. Because of this we were only able to capture images once the moon completely blocked the sun.

Total solar eclipse. Copyright: D. Joder

As the sky rapidly darkened, the white pelicans flew back to the lake to roost and the nighthawks began flying, looking for bugs. The air also changed, growing colder. The scene at totality was surreal. I felt as if I were in a sci-fi movie. When I looked at the sun I saw a dark black circle surrounded by expanding plasma jets. We could see stars and planets!