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.
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:
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:
2018 was an an interesting year in terms of wildlife adventures. Early on there was time on Operation Milagro, working with Sea Shepherd in their efforts to save the vaquita from extinction. Later in the year I was again onboard a Sea Shepherd ship on Operation Treasured Islands, a campaign in support of Mexican biologists studying everything from plankton and plastics to pacific mantas and Hammerhead sharks. As with previous stints with the organization, one of my main tasks was drone operator, as well as deck crew.
Most of the year I was home in Tucson keeping my eyes open for interesting wildlife and maintaining my own set of 10 camera traps. I also continued my informal, long-term (4+ years now) wildlife monitoring project at the The Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch of the National Audubon Society. This project also uses approximately 10 camera traps set up in strategic locations, such as water sources and wildlife trails in order to document what species may be present or just passing through the area.
In both cases, my cameras have captured fun videos and images of desert tortoises to Mountain lions.
Here’s to hoping 2019 brings more wildlife beauty and conservation moments and opportunities. Happy New Year!
This trail cam capture was a fun surprise, a band of white-nosed coati foraging in a creek-bed. I set up the cameras about two weeks earlier, hoping to catch bears or mountain lions. I was happily surprised to see the cameras had captured the action of this band of coati as they worked their way down the creek. Pay close attention to the youngsters as they climb up and down trees and explore: