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:
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:
Yes, I am an opportunistic wildlife observer. So, yes, another western screech owl post. More than six weeks after fledging, the owlets are still hanging around with their mom and dad. In this clip, two fledglings are in the suspended bird bath with, who I believe, is their dad (based on plumage characteristics and over 4 months of observation). The temps have been high, 105 degrees and above (40+ Celsius).
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.
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′.
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:
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.
The little western screech owls fledged last night. After documenting them in their nestbox every night and some days for over three months I feel a bit sad and will miss them. They are now out in the wild world and will, hopefully, have successful careers as owls. They’ll still be fed by their parents for a little while longer as they learn to hunt and fend for themselves.
The western screech owl pair have been busy feeding three hungry owlets. The nestlings appear to be nearing the time to leave their nest. Last night both parents made over 16 feeding trips which included grubs, geckos, and a small packrat.
On previous nights, prey items also included a small bird, western blind snakes, spiny lizards, moths, and even a hummingbird. Seeing the dead hummingbird getting eaten by an owlet made me sad as hummingbirds are dear to my heart.
The young screech owls have also been spending time checking out their daytime word: