Sky Island Wildlife

I’m just back from a few days exploring one of Arizona’s sky islands. After receiving a bit of monsoon rainfall, the wildflowers and wildlife were quite abundant and the formerly dry landscape had turned green with new plant growth.

Can anyone help ID this plant? Copyright: Greg Joder.
Beautiful Lupine flowers with butterfly pollinator. Copyright: Greg Joder.

While exploring I also checked three trail cameras I’ve had in the region for several months. It was exciting to see all the critters captured by the cameras, including a sow black bear with two cubs.

I also had the chance to get this beautiful rattlesnake to move off the road:

Rattlesnake enjoying the morning sun. Copyright: Greg Joder.

 

A Big Little Owl & Black Bear Cub

Here are two interesting camera trap videos, one from my yard and one from Arizona’s Sky Islands. The first video shows an alarmed Western screech owl in a birdbath during the day. She was trying to escape the 107 degree temps and her nestbox was too hot. I think a Cooper’s hawk landed on the fence near the birdbath.

In this second video, a black bear cub has a swim with her mom then takes an interest in my camera trap:

Nighttime Wildlife Action

Last night was pretty interesting. Lot’s of wildlife action, though most fascinating to me are the screech owl and desert cottontail rabbit interactions. I am so comforted to know my backyard offers an oasis for the wild critters. What do you think?

Mountain lion and sub-adult kitten

On a recent camera check I found that something had dragged a skunk carcass near the camera (not me). The carcass attracted some attention from a coati, turkey vultures, and a mountain lion and her sub-adult offspring:

Western Screech Owlet Action

The Western Screech owl fledglings have continued to use the backyard waterholes and patio after fledging nearly two weeks ago. It appears the adult female is feeding them and teaching them to hunt while the adult male has not been captured on video since the little owls fledged.

Sky Island Camping and Camera check

This week I spent a couple days and nights in one of southern Arizona’s sky islands checking and setting new camera traps. The vegetation included oak woodlands and pine forests at elevations ranging from 5000′ to 8500′.

Sky island view. Copyright: Greg Joder.

Here’s a selection of photos showing the range of beauty in the area:

The camera traps caught a few interesting animals.  First, a group of wild turkeys. Watch with sound on:

Only one black bear came through since the last camera check a month ago. This one chose not to relax and wallow:

In all, it was an enjoyable two days away from all that’s not right in the world right now. Nature and wildlife are the best medicines. Zipper had a great time too, including naps:

Zipper enjoying a nap after adventuring all day…

More backyard wildlife action

It’s the time of year between winter rains and the summer monsoon season so natural sources of water for wildlife are running dry. In my backyard I’ve had the pond going for about 7 years and recently I put out a simple small water bowl in another pat of the yard. The water bowl is really the top of a birdbath and works well for the purpose.

Various visitors:

A peccary family:

A beautiful coyote and bobcat:

 

 

Black and Cinnamon Black Bears?

This morning I checked one of my camera traps and was happy to see it captured a sow and cub as well as a “cinnamon” black bear. According to Wiki, a cinnamon bear is a subspecies of the American black bear. Either way, it was so good to see a black bear cub and also a different color morph of the American Black Bear: