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:

Night Blooming Cactus Timelapse

A cactus that I replanted from a short stalk about three years ago finally decided it was time to bloom. I have no idea what species this is. Still, beautiful and fragrant. I was hoping there would be a few bat or large moth pollinators, but it appears only small beetles, moths, and bees visited the flowers. The time-lapse below is about 6 hours compressed into four minutes.

 

Night-blooming cactus flowers, the morning after. Copyright: Greg Joder

There were other cactus around the yard that were also blooming this morning:

Copyright: Greg Joder.
Pollination in action. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Mini cactus forest in bloom. Copyright: Greg Joder.

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?

Bobcat Kittens!

I’ve had a camera trap set on my backyard pond going on 7 years continuously. I generally check the cameras every morning to see what critters have stopped by. In that time I’ve found adult bobcats to be quite common. However, this morning I was surprised to see the resident bobcat had brought her young kittens in for a drink last night.

 

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:

The Screech Owlets have left The nestbox

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.

Two of the three owlets a few days before fledging. Click on photo for more images. Copyright: Greg Joder.
Western screech owlets. Click on photo for more images. Copyright: Greg Joder.