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…

metamorphosis – larva to chrysalis

Queen Butterfly Caterpillar.  Copyright:  Greg Joder
Queen Butterfly Caterpillar. Copyright: Greg Joder

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:

life in my yard

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:

Female desert spiny lizard. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Female desert spiny lizard. Copyright: Greg Joder.

Wildflower blooms with some cool pollinator bugs:

Who knows what bee? Copyright: Greg Joder.
Who knows what bee? Copyright: Greg Joder.
Who knows what fly? Copyright: Greg Joder.
Who knows what fly? Copyright: Greg Joder.

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar dining on milkweed:

And, a desert milkweed seed pod:

Desert Milkweed Seed Pod. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Desert Milkweed Seed Pod. Copyright: Greg Joder.