There have been a number of Great Purple Hairstreak Butterflies have been visiting the Desert Broom in my yard. In the following video, notice how it moves its wings as it moves over the flowers drinking nectar. Love how they look like antennae, confusing predators:
On my way back to Tucson from Boulder I spent a day in Moab, Utah. Usually, when I pass through Moab I take a lot of photos, but this time felt compelled to capture aerial scenes. In the following video there are clips of the Wall Street climbing area (great sport and crack climbing), Negro Bill Canyon (Outstanding riparian area with lots of biodiversity and a natural arch at the end) and the Colorado River (Great flat water for SUP, kayak and rafting):
I made a quick trip to Boulder, Colorado where I spent time with friends and exploring my old stomping grounds. I rode my mountain bike through the ranch which is now Open Space. This brought up feelings of joy, pain, loss and wonder… The old sign still hangs at the entrance:
I also spent time up in Nederland, Colorado and was able to make an aerial flight over Barker Reservoir and the Town:
And there was new snow in the high country:
This time from chrysalis (pupa) to butterfly. It took 9 days for the chrysalis to go through the cell growth and differentiation to become an adult butterfly. Visually, we can see the morphological changes which is magical in itself. What we can’t see are the changes the insect goes through on a cellular level, from larva to pupa and pupa to butterfly. The next photo, taken late at night before the complete metamorphosis, shows the chrysalis clearing to reveal the nearly developed adult butterfly. The video of the whole process follows.
Watching this process I’ve been wondering if the ‘mind’ of the insect remains intact through the whole process: did it know it was a caterpillar, then a chrysalis before becoming a butterfly? Please watch the following video in HD and full screen for best detail. To see the butterfly emerge from the chrysalis, skip to the 4:00 minute mark.
I took the following photos of Cruz, an orphaned mountain lion, at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the queen butterfly caterpillars that have been feeding on the milkweed and other plants in my yard. My wish was to see one go through metamorphosis, changing from a caterpillar into a chrysalis. After a couple missed attempts I was finally able to capture the transformation on video. The first part of the video starts at normal speed then into timelapse. The second part shows the main transformation in normal time. I recommend watching in fullscreen and in HD:
The desert milkweed I’ve recently planted in my yard has continued to support lots of butterfly and caterpillar activity:
Tropical Storm Newton recently passed through Tucson and it dropped a lot of water on the way. Enough that some washes flowed. The storm also brought in lost pelagic seabirds from the Sea of Cortez, like the Least Storm-Petrel. The Tucson Wildlife Center took in two petrels. Both did not make it as they had simply run out of gas. Here is their Press Release: Sea of Cortez Petrels.
This afternoon I spent an hour or so wandering around my yard to see what I could spy. Of course I had my camera gear with me and recorded what I consider to be some pretty cool critters.
First, A female Desert Spiny Lizard, on the rocks:
Wildflower blooms with some cool pollinator bugs:
A Monarch Butterfly caterpillar dining on milkweed:
And, a desert milkweed seed pod: