nectar feeding bats

It’s that special time of year in the Sonoran Desert when the Lesser Long-nosed bats return to the region.  If you live where the bats forage and you leave hummingbird feeders up at night, you will know these bats have arrived by the evidence of empty feeders and sticky sugar water left on the ground in the morning.  They are sloppy eaters.  The Lesser Long-nosed bat is a nectarivore and feeds on the blooms of Saguaros, cardón cactus, agave and other night-blooming cacti.

I recently set up one of my motion-activated wildlife cameras to catch these endangered mammals in action.  First, here’s a video of the bats feeding from a flower on a night blooming cactus in my yard:

And here is a video of them feeding from a hummingbird feeder I set in my yard just for the bats:

Butterflies

On my way to check my wildlife cameras in the Rincon Mountains near Tucson I came upon these butterflies. Does anyone know what plant this is?

Butterfly. Copyright: Greg Joder
Queen Butterfly. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Pipevine Swallowtail. Copyright: Greg Joder.

Hummingbird Nest Update

The little hummingbird continues to incubate her two eggs.  Based on information I’ve read the incubation period is nearing its end and soon her offspring will hatch.  In the meantime, she patiently sits and waits for her kids to crack open their eggs and begin begging for food.

Broad-billed Hummingbird on Nest. Copyright: Greg Joder.

more nest building and first egg!

Yesterday the little hummingbird continued working hard building her nest.  She’s using small twigs, leaves, grass seeds and spider silk among other things.  Both of the following videos are best viewed in HD and full screen.  Here’s yesterdays action:

And here is today’s action.  More nest building and her first egg:

I have been keeping a small jar with fur from my dog Ham (now in doggy heaven). This morning I decided to attach some of her fur to a piece of wire and hang it in the flight path of the nesting hummingbird. Sure enough, she found it and started using it in her nest:

More Wildlife

Despite the recent absence from my blog I have continued to capture photos and videos of things that interest me.  Most recently, I’ve been focused on Sonoran Desert nature.  Here are some favorite videos from the last few weeks.

Western Screech Owl and a Red-spotted Toad:

A Datura bloom time-lapse:

A Desert Kingsnake:

Round-tailed ground Squirrel Family:

 

Desert Broom

There are several Desert Broom shrubs blooming in my yard.  This plant blooms in the fall, well after the monsoon wildflowers do.  Like last year, I’ve been reminded that a plethora of insects love this plant:

Queen Butterfly on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Queen Butterfly on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Snout Butterfly on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Snout Butterfly on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Katydid on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Katydid on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Metalark Butterfly Species on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Metalark Butterfly Species on Desert Broom. Copyright: Greg Joder.

caterpillar ~ chrysalis ~ butterfly

The queen butterfly chrysalis that I’ve been watching went through another stage of metamorphosis this morning (video below).

Queen butterfly chrysalis. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Queen butterfly chrysalis. Copyright: Greg Joder.

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.

Chrysalis metamorphosis. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Chrysalis metamorphosis. Copyright: Greg Joder.

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.

Adult butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Adult butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. Copyright: Greg Joder.

lesser long-nosed bats

Lesser Long-nosed Bat. Copyright: Greg Joder.

It’s that time of year when the nectarivorous bats raid my hummingbird feeders each night.  I love that the bats visit.  All I have to do is make more sugar nectar each week since they’re pretty sloppy at the feeders.  Unlike hummingbirds, bats can’t really hover, so they end up doing crazy acrobatics in order to capture just a taste of the sugar water:

If you happen to live in Tucson, there is a local bridge that is well-known for its bat colony.  Every evening tens of people turn out to watch tens-of-thousands of bats emerge from the crevices in the bridge and fly off for a night of hunting: