One of the great things a trail camera can tell you is:  What’s living in my yard?  So far the trail camera has captured skunks, coyotes, raccoons, rabbits, birds of various species, javelina’s and bobcats.  It has also captured a couple snakes and lizards.  In the last 24 hours it has captured round-tailed ground squirrels, kangaroo rats and a spiny lizard:







The roots of an Platanus wrightii, also known as an Arizona Sycamore or Álamo, have captured a block of banded gneiss…

Arizona Sycamore roots ~ copyright g. joder. Click on the photo to learn more about banded gneiss.


Here are a couple photos I took this week.  One is of a cactus bloom in my yard and the other is a coral bean tree I saw in the Catalina Mountains.

Cactus in bloom. Cactus belong to the Cactaceae family. Click on the photo to learn more about cactus ~ copyright g. joder

Coral bean shrub with seed pods. This plant belongs to the Fabaceae family. Click on the photo to learn more about these plants ~ copyright g. joder

Here are a few photos I took in the past few days after the big rain…

This western banded gecko was on my porch.  Poor thing lost its tail.

western banded gecko ~ copyright g. joder

This little desert tortoise was out foraging in Sabino Canyon.

desert tortoise ~ copyright g. joder

I had never seen lizards copulate, until yesterday.  These are zebra-tailed lizards.

zebra-tailed lizards ~ copyright g. joder

This western desert tarantula was sitting outside its den, perhaps waiting for dinner to be delivered.

western desert tarantula ~ copyright g. joder

This is a gravid zebra-tailed lizard.  I saw this one in Ventana Canyon.

female zebra-tailed lizard ~ copyright g. joder


The raccoons have been visiting the waterhole pretty much every night.  I’m not sure how well they can see in the dark, but this raccoon didn’t seem to notice the rattlesnake.  Toward the end of the video you can see the snake taking a drink…

Monsoon Rain


The monsoon rains have finally arrived in the Sonoran Desert.  The arrival of the monsoons usher in a distinct season in the desert southwest.  After the monsoon rains begin, the desert comes alive.  The plant life leafs out and wildlife emerges from dens, burrows and holes in the desert soil.  Once the rains begin an evening hike in the desert will bring you desert tortoises, Gila monsters, tarantulas, Sonoran Desert toads and much more.  The monsoon rains are often localized.  While one area receives no rain on a given day, another can receive so much rain that flooding occurs.  Just yesterday the Tucson area desert was the happy recipient of a massive downpour.  My neighborhood had about 2″ of rain in less than an hour.  This U of A video captures the beginning of the event:

This afternoon, while wandering in a small canyon in the Catalina Mountains, I came across this Black-tailed Rattlesnake, Crotalus molossus.   It was really docile and even though I got pretty close to take photos it did not rattle or get in a defensive posture like western Diamondback and Mojave rattlesnakes often do.  What a beautiful creature!

click on this photo to see a video I took of a Black-tailed rattlesnake ~ copyright g. joder 2014

click on the image to learn more about black-tailed rattlesnakes ~ copyright g. joder 2014

click on the image to see more of my photos of Sonoran Desert critters ~ copyright g. joder 2014




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