Tadpoles and a Raccoon Party

I was surprised one morning to find that the waterhole in my front yard had a bazillion tiny tadpoles swimming about.  They are tiny and many in number.  Since the monsoon rains started I’ve seen a couple toads around my house and I think they were red-spotted toads, so it looks like they may have had some kids.  I’ll follow up with more video as the toadlets develop into toads:

Raccoons have been regular visitors to the waterhole in the back yard.  So much so that I usually just delete the video from the trail camera.  In this case I thought that these three were worth sharing with the world:

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stumpy-legged creature and more

When I checked the camera card in my trail camera the other morning I was surprised to see an odd stumpy-legged creature.  It was a brief glimpse, but one long enough to be able to recognize the animal as an American Badger, Taxidea taxus.

On the other end of the spectrum, I set up a time-lapse camera on a night-blooming cactus in my yard:

It’s monsoon season and so if you go for a hike at Sabino Canyon, you may run into one of these:

If you don’t already have a black-light flashlight, I recommend buying one to search for these:

Despite the gloom-and-doom loss of biodiversity and native habitats, seeing these critters around and near my home makes me happy…

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eek! a snake!

The other day I came across this beautiful tiger rattlesnake.  I will never understand why people insist on killing these beautiful creatures.   Please, don’t kill rattlesnakes – Don’t tread on Biodiversity! ;0)

How do you feel about snakes?

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Millerbirds

While at Midway I met several people who lead quietly interesting lives.  Megan is one of those people.  Before arriving on Midway to work with the Laysan Duck she studied Millerbirds in the field on Laysan Island in the Hawaiian archipelago.  This winter, while working on Midway, she put together some of her video on the endangered Millerbird and recently posted it here, on the American Bird Conservancy blog:  Megan’s Millerbird post.  The blog post covers the history and success of the translocation of Millerbirds to Laysan Island.

Here is one of her Millerbird videos:

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coyotes & bobcats

During the night there are visitors to my yard that I would not see if not for the use of a trail camera.  Most mornings I eagerly check the camera for any videos it may have captured.  I’m always happy when the camera captures a visit from a bobcat or coyote.  While many people view these animals and pests or dangerous, I view them as welcome visitors, aesthetically pleasing to see and as being critically important for a diverse and thriving ecosystem.  One of my former co-workers at Game and Fish once told me that he “loved bobcats more than any other animal.”  He then continued, describing how he and his friends often went ‘predator hunting’ and would kill bobcats.  Just for the fun of it.

I say:  Love the coyotes and bobcats and share this land with them…

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Midway Revisited …

Midway Atoll is still fresh on my mind.  I spent 4 months there and came back to Tucson in mid-March 2015.  While I was at Midway I was able to post some videos that I thought were worth seeing despite the slow internet connection.  I also managed to capture a lot of video that I have not reviewed or edited.  The following video is some of that and shows just a few short scenes of a magical few months of life in the middle of a bird colony:

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birds-eye view

Occasionally a Cooper’s Hawk will visit my back yard, usually swooping in fast and low looking for a quail meal.  The other day one decided it was time for a bath. You can hear the worried quail chattering in the background:

Since I can’t fly (yet) I still try and get aerial views of my world.  Here’s a short aerial I took at the Molino Canyon overlook just off the Mount Lemmon highway:

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