Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Animals in Trees: Raccoon

When we lived in Bellevue, Washington our home backed up to a "Greenbelt" and although not exactly wilderness, did have its share of wildlife. Deer were frequent visitors as were raccoons. I remember once that seven raccoons were on our deck looking in through the sliding glass door. 

I suspect this is the most common "sighting" of raccoons -- i.e. backyard. So it is a bit of a surprise when I see them in true wilderness areas.

He is a photo of a raccoon family in a willow tree at Sweetwater Wetlands.


Monday, November 20, 2017

Animals in Trees: Porcupine

The "Common" Porcupine is actually not very common. In my 25 plus years of hiking in wilderness areas I can't count the number of porcupines I've seen one one hand. Part of this is because they are mostly nocturnal. But they do sleep in trees during the day as this one was near Dry Falls in Central Washington:

Common Porcupine

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Animals in Trees: Coatimundi

One of my favorite animals to photograph is the Coatimundi. 

The first photo gives the idea of how adept Coatis are in going from tree to tree. Coatis can weigh up to 18 pounds (versus about 2 pounds for a squirrel). Yet they move from tree to tree as if they were as light as a feather.

Coatimundi in the Galiuro Mountains

Coatimundi sleeping

I played hide-n-seek with this Coati for 20 minutes or more

Another sleeping Coati

Coati in the Chiricahua Mountains

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Animals in Trees: Bobcat

Bobcats have few predators, humans being the primary predator. They don't get along well with the Lynx, so their territories don't overlap much. (Bobcat, US - Lynx, Canada). Mountain Lions would also be a predator, but again Bobcats tend to stay at lower elevations to avoid Mountain Lions.

Bobcats, like other cats will scamper up trees if threatened. But primarily they go up trees to sleep or to get a good view of potential prey.

The Bobcat in this photo was sleeping -- though I woke him up with my presence.

Bobcat in Mesquite Tree

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Animals in Trees: Bears

I thought I'd do a fun little series on Animals in Trees. Of course, the most common would be squirrels -- and I include some squirrels at the end. 

Today, Bears:

Bears like trees. They go into trees for two reasons: First, for safety they may scamper up a tree to get out of reach of a potential predator -- humans. But secondly, for food. In the Spring it is fresh easily digestible buds or flowers. In the fall it is berries or pine nuts.

Cinnamon Black Bear going after pine nuts in Wyoming

Young Black Bear learning to climb

Young Cinnamon Black Bear trying to impress mom

Black Bear in Alberta, Canada going after new buds

Black Bear in Ramsey Canyon, Arizona

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

Note: We would like to welcome Reunion as the 137th country/territory to visit our Blog. Actually part of France, Reunion is east of Madagascar off the eastern coast of Africa. 

Christine and I took guests to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge yesterday. We walked the 1 mile loop around Grebe Pond. And while Aguirre Lake was dry, Grebe Pond provided some very nice birding opportunities.  

Lots of sparrows and yellow rumped warblers; with a small contingent of ducks and one great egret. But the highlights for the day were a single Snow Goose, a pair of Long Billed Curlews, and a pair of Prairie Merlins.

Oh, and a couple of young White Tailed Deer. Here are my favorite photos of the day:

Long Billed Curlew

Prairie Merline

Snow Goose

White Tailed Deer

Friday, November 3, 2017

Sweetwater Wetlands: animals

When I get a chance to go early, I am always looking for - and hoping to find Bobcats or Raccoons. Of course any time of the day there are Desert Cottontails.

One of the mornings last week I found an Arizona Cotton Rat:

And then a Coyote which was hunting in one of the Recharge Basins:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sweetwater Wetlands: other birds

NOTE: I would like to welcome visitors from Iran, the 136th country to visit our Blog. Just today there have been visitors from:   United States, Canada, Netherlands, Iran, Japan, Brazil, France, Thailand, Ukraine, Ireland, South Korea, and Romania. Regardless of politics or religion, we all seem to have a common interest in Wildlife. Thank you.

Continuing my birding at Sweetwater Wetlands:

Though I was really concentrating on those rare warblers, there were lots of other birds interested in getting a photo:


Cooper's Hawk

Gilded Flicker

Green Heron

Red Naped Sapsucker

Ruby Crowned Kinglet

Verdin building her nest

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sweetwater Warblers

Sweetwater Wetlands can be one of the very best birding sites in Southern Arizona. It would certainly be a mistake to go there just looking for waterbirds. At any time of the year you can find a few warblers and other songbirds. The past couple of weeks has produced the following warblers: Black and White, Black Throated Gray, Black Throated Blue, Common Yellowthroat, Chestnut Sided, Orange Crowned, Tennessee, Townsend's, Yellow, and Yellow Rumped Warblers. Yep, 10 in all.

I missed out on the Chestnut Sided and Black Throated Blue -- much to my disappointment. But that's often the case when looking for rare birds. It reminds me of a Daryl Zero quote:

"Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."

I did see the Townsend's but was unable to get a photo. I saw the Black and White twice but photos were not good. And I saw the Yellow very briefly though did manage a so-so photo.

Not very good Black and White Warbler photo

Black Throated Gray Warbler

Common Yellowthroat Female

Common Yellowthroat Male

Orange Crowned Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Yellow Rumped Warbler Juvenile

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Mountain Lemmon - Part II

Of course, birds aren't the only reason to make the trip up Mount Lemmon. Aside from the beautiful scenery and magnificent rock formations mother nature has given us plants and animals as well. Here  is a fun photo of two White Tailed Deer and then one of my favorite wildflowers, the Ivyleaf Morningglory.

White Tailed Deer

Ivyleaf Morningglory

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Birding Mount Lemmon

The best months for birding Mount Lemmon are April through the beginning of September. By October many of the migrants have moved on to their winter homes. Most of what remains are the birds that live in the Catalinas year round.

So I was somewhat surprised to see a Hermit Warbler the beginning of October:

Hermit Warbler
 The Olive Warbler is one of the few warblers that are year round residents:

Olive Warbler
Townsend's Warblers can usually be found year round though with much lower numbers in June and July (not a very good photo but just to confirm its presence).

Townsend's Warbler
Hermit Thrushes, Acorn Woodpeckers, Mountain Chickadees, Pygmy Nuthatches, and Western Bluebirds are year round residents so no surprise to find them on Mount Lemmon in October:

Hermit Thrush

Acorn Woodpecker

Mountain Chickadee

Pygmy Nuthatch

Western Bluebird

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Birding Mount Lemmon: Part II Others

Some other photos from my morning on Incinerator Ridge on Mount Lemmon:

Mountain Chickadee

Acorn Woodpecker

Hermit Thrush

Pygmy Nuthatch

Mountain Bluebird
It wasn't only birds though:

Ivyleaf Morningglory

White Tailed Deer