This afternoon I went for a hike in Ventana Canyon to check on a trail camera (it captured a skunk and some humanoids) and was captured by the canyon’s fall beauty.  With the recent rains all the vegetation is green and growing and the wildflowers are out.  There is still water flowing in the creek and the butterflies were out in large numbers.  It would be a great time to be escorted through the vegetation by a botanist familiar with Sonoran Desert plants.  If you live in Tucson I recommend you visit the canyon soon while it is so alive.

yellow flowers ~ copyright g. joder

Dogface butterflies? Copyright g. joder

canyon tree frog ~ copyright g. joder


I’ve really been enjoying the peccaries (javelina) that have been regular visitors to the waterhole in my yard…  Click the image to learn more about them.

Javelina ~ copyright g. joder


For the last three or so years I’ve been posting photos, videos and very brief word-accounts of my biological field work in southern Arizona, focusing on Arizona Bald Eagles, the endangered Willow Flycatcher and the endangered Sonoran Pronghorn.  There have also been posts of a few road trips to Baja California, Mexico or Colorado, USA.  And there have been quite a few posts about the wildlife my trail cameras have captured at my house or nearby in the Sonoran Desert and photos I’ve taken wandering in the Catalina Mountains near Tucson.  Barring the metaphorical and unforeseen cement truck barreling across a crosswalk that I occupy, I hope to be able to bring a fresh new series of entries from a completely different part of the world.  A place that is pretty much the opposite of the Sonoran Desert.  My understanding is that the internet connection there will only allow for low resolution images to be uploaded, but not HD video.  So while I am at the yet-to-be-revealed location I will do my best to provide the best images I can of the work and location as well as wordy descriptions of what’s going on.  I depart on November 2nd 2014 and return in early March 2015.

In the meantime, I will continue posting images and video of where I am now that I feel worthwhile:

DSC_0867 monarch

Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge ~ copyright g. joder


The last few weeks I have been working again on the endangered Sonoran Pronghorn project.  The work area is in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.  In the interest of capturing some pronghorn on video I set up my camera near a wildlife drinker in the refuge.  The video shows 2013 bucks and 2014 doe and buck fawns:


This week I was invited to go with a friend to explore Quitobaquito spring in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  The spring is located a stones throw from the Mexico/US border and access to the area has been closed for several years due to the proliferation of drug smuggling and associated violence.  Since the road to the spring was recently opened (again) to the public, border patrol said they had only seen a handful of people visiting the spring.

The spring is home to endangered Quitobaquito desert pupfish and provides a way-station for migrating birds and acts as a water and food source for local wildlife.  We spent about two hours there and saw about 30 species of birds.

looking north from the Mexico/US border ~ copyright g. joder

The Mexico/US border by the spring . Mexico is to the left of the fence ~ copyright g. joder

The trail to the spring ~ copyright g. joder

Quitobaquito spring and pond from the air ~ copyright g. joder

Quitobaquito pond ~ copyright g. joder

Sharp-shinned Hawks? Copyright g. joder

American coot ~ copyright g. joder

blurry dragonfly ~ copyright g. joder


I recently explored a trail in the Catalina State Park near Tucson.  It is near the location of a recent reintroduction effort for Bighorn Sheep (http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/bighornSheep.shtml) and is classically beautiful Sonoran Desert.  With all the rains this summer the plant and insect life was plentiful.

grasshopper ~ copyright g. joder

flower ~ copyright g. joder

the trail ~ copyright g. joder

butterfly ~ copyright g. joder

cactus rock ~ copyright g. joder

tarantula hawk and wolf spider ~ copyright g. joder

horned lizard ~ copyright g. joder

Looking north west ~ copyright g. joder

 


tracks

16Sep14

It’s always nice to see an animal in person, but sometimes it’s even more fun to find evidence of their presence in the tracks they leave behind.  The following tracks were left in the mud on the bank of a receding mud puddle in the desert near Tucson.

The first set of tracks are from a a bobcat.  Notice the middle, or interdigital pad, has two lobes and there are no claw impressions:

bobcat track ~ copyright g. joder

bobcat tracks ~ copyright g. joder

In the next photo there are two different animal tracks.  The most obvious track is from a raccoon.  In front of the raccoon tracks you can just make out the zygodactyl tracks of a road runner:

raccoon and roadrunner tracks ~ copyright g. joder




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 184 other followers