Thursday, April 29, 2010

Critters! Denizens of the Desert

One of the side-benefits to the hiking I do out in the desert is the chance to see wildlife.  Didn't see much during my stay in Bisbee; most of the mammals, such as deer and javalina, were hidden away during the day.  However, since being in Tucson, I was treated to a wondrous display of various desert creatures.  Most small, some warm-blooded, some venomous, some not. 

These aren't going to showcase my photography skills in any way, and certainly indicate the lack of a telephoto lens that would have helped show more detail.  But, I thought I would share them anyway.  Back in CT, I posted a series of animal photos that can be found here; these are decidedly different than those!

Enjoy these funny and imposing creatures that inhabit the Sonoran desert region.  I've identified the species, if possible, and included information on its location: 

Shell Shocked
This unidentified species of lizard is the only one of the batch that was not found during a hike; rather he was the unfortunate victim of my mom's dog's hunting instinct.  After getting her to drop what was in her mouth, I discovered he only had what appeared to be a minor injury to his leg.  Prior to carrying him out of the fenced yard, I decided to take the opportunity to try and photograph his wonderfully patterned skin.  He's perched on a weathered stump in my mom's front yard.  Probably too terrified to move, he sat obligingly .  I carefully placed him under a creosote bush near the house and left.  Later, when I came back, he was gone.  I hope this meant he recovered and went on his way.  

Hare in Repose
The last Friday I was in town, I went on a hike in SNP up the Sendero-Esperanza trail.  It was a glorious afternoon - sunny and rather hot.  Shortly after beginning it, I saw a pair of *huge* ears that could only belong to one of the countless Black-Tailed jackrabbits (Lepus californicus) in the area.  She's clearly wanting to avoid the heat, and made no immediate effort to go loping off as they usually do.  I carefully and slowly moved forward to get this photo.  Eventually, however, I got too close for comfort, so she got up and casually hopped off into the brush.  Love the ears!

Braving the Current
These striking black and white birds were in the Santa Cruz river, one of two (along with the San Pedro, near Bisbee) that runs from south to north on the west side of Tucson.   They were quite chatty, and watching them walk through the water on their long, stilt-like legs was amusing.  I'm not a bird person, so I have no idea what type of waterfowl they are, or whether they are migratory or permanent members of this riparian area.

A Cautious Glance
This small lizard, possibly a zebra-tailed lizard (Callisarus draconoides), was one of dozens along the Sendero-Esperanza trail.  Usually, they zip off into the brush, allowing nothing more than a quick glance.  However, slowly and carefully kneeling, while extending the camera, allowed me to get this shot of her before she skittered off up the slope.
This fellow was basking right in the middle of the Sendero-Esperanza trail, on one of the raised sections put in by a trail crew.  I believe he is a Common Side-Blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana).  I was able to get surprisingly close by using the same technique as with the above photo.  The texture, along with the beautiful texture and pattern, remind me of an elegant beaded design.

Having a Dirt Nap
April is rattlesnake season in the desert.  This western diamondback (Crotalus atrox) was right on the edge of the Cactus Wren trail, in SNP.  I ran along this trail regularly while staying in Tucson, and saw this gent on my last full day (Tuesday, April 20), and on my last run.  He was the 4th rattlesnake (and third species) I saw while I was in Tucson, and the only one I've ever seen sleeping.  He was situated near the trailhead access, and was still present when I ran past on my way back.  After I got home, I drove back with my camera, and was able to take several shots without disturbing him.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...