Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Few AZ Wildlife Sightings

 Prairie Dog (above).  Desert Museum, Tucson.
Costas Hummingbird with his eyes closed (below)
 Costas Hummingbird
 Harris Hawk.  The Desert Museum near Tucson had a raptor demonstration while we were there.  A Peregrine Falcon and Barn Owl were also on view, but too far away to get decent photos.
 Harris Hawks are unusual in that they live and hunt in small family groups.  They are lead by an Alpha female and hunt cooperatively.


At one of the hotels where we stayed, a Goldfinch on a fountain.
At Tohono Chul Park, a Queen butterfly, Danaus gilippus.

Black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes), Tohono Chul Park.

 We saw Desert (Asclepias linaria) and White Stem (A. albicans) Milkweed everywhere, on hikes in natural areas as well as in every botanic garden.  Arizona had good summer rain this year, so flowers and butterflies were plentiful.  
 If it is full of Milkweed bugs and Milkweed aphids, you know it's Milkweed. 
 The lizards we saw in Arizona were larger and stouter than our own Western Fence and Alligator lizards.  This one at Tohono Chul Park was at least double the size of what I see at home. 
This one was on a wall at the Desert Museum:
 I am extremely happy to report that we didn't see a single rattlesnake anywhere.  May they live and prosper, and may our paths never ever cross. 
 

17 comments:

  1. Your photos of the Harris hawk are best I've seen.

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    1. They are magnificent birds. I sort of hanker for one of those bird-catching long lenses with big price tags, but I am Not Worthy.

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  2. Arrestingly excellent photos. They're refreshing to the spirit -- can only imagine how recharging the in-person experience must have been. Thanks so much for sharing them.

    I keep going back to the Costas hummingbird; something wonderful going on with the electric violet band on its chest and the acidic green-lit area of the canopy.

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    1. Thanks! All the AZ gardens we visited were so alive with all types of birds, cactus wrens everywhere, too. The bird I wish I'd gotten a shot of was the Steller's Jay. What a stunner that one is--I was too enthralled to raise my camera.

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    2. Of course this led me to look up the Steller's jay, and I can see why you were so enthralled. This might have been a particularly good year to see them where you were; from the Audubon site: "Occasionally stages large invasions into lowlands, perhaps when food crops fail in the mountains." Fire and drought have to have reduced food available in the northwest and western mountains this year.

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  3. Great photos from what was obviously a great trip! Your camera captured a lot. The hawk photos are especially good. One day I'll catch a photo of the red-tailed hawks that I regularly soar over the harbor area (although I may have to live to 98 to get it).

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    1. Thanks! We had a great time. We have lots of hawks around here but I rarely get a good chance to photograph them.

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  4. The Harris Hawk on the cactus is gorgeous! The swallowtail and the Queen butterfly are so unusual for us and so beautiful, but that big lizard is not my cup of tea, brrr.

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    1. The lizards eat so many bugs--they are good little creatures.

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  5. Dear Hoover, great photos of the birds, lizards, butterfly and plants, the little prairie dog is so darn cute. I like lizards, they are wonderful garden creatures, I don't like snakes at all.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. I have read that if the garden has lizards, it has no snakes, because the snakes successfully hunt the lizards. So the presence of lizards is doubly good! I have seen a gopher snake and a striped racer in the garden a couple of times, (and ran into the house) but never a rattler, thank goodness.

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  6. Do you know what that Leonotis-like plant is that the black swallowtail is on? I'm assuming it's a SW native; love the felty leaves, and of course the butterfly-attracting flowers.

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    1. Chuparosa (Anisacanthus thurberi), maybe?

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  7. OK, you need to start offering prints of your photos, starting with that first photo of the Harris Hawk. Love the little prairie dog too with both paws busy.

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  8. Gorgeous shots! And that prairie dog is a real cutie pie.

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    1. Thanks! Plants support wildlife--AZ was a dramatic illustration. Makes me feel good about being a gardener.

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