Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Flora & Fauna

Today was a day for critters. Not just the chipmunks, who chirp at regular intervals throughout the day. No. As I was eating breakfast on the back porch, I heard rustlings among some plants. Not to mention the neighbor's dog carrying on. So I approached the sounds. Up rose three grizzled javelina, who sauntered slowly off into a shrubbier area where, presumably, they were invisible.

Turns out they had discovered a heap of dirt given me by another neighbor who was getting rid of his lawn. The dirt was moist, from watering. And it sat atop a two-year mulch pile. Home, no doubt, to some delicious grubs. Perfect for wallowing and for eating.

The animals returned at least three times. Currently they appear to be gone, but I wouldn't count on it. I expect them to return. Regularly.

But I was doubly blessed today. I saw one or two dark birds who flashed white on their wings as they flew. Phainopepla, which I haven't seen in my yard for several years. The mistletoe must be in berry, although I've read that these glossy black flycatchers also like juniper berries and similar fruit.

The picture above is courtesy of T. Beth Kinsey, who posts her photographs and writes her nature observations at Firefly Forest. Although Beth is in Tucson, many of the wildflowers and animals she photographs are found here in Prescott. She, too, has resident javelina, tho hers appear to be better behaved!

Firefly Forest is one of several good Arizona wildlife links I've just posted to the right. Three are specific for the Northern half of the state. Doug Von Gausig, of Nature Songs, specializes in recording the sounds of nature, but he also offers photographs of Verde Valley flowers.

Jim Morgan lives out the Walker Rd. and has photographed lots of local flowers. Catch them at Wings of Nature. And be sure to return -- he keeps adding to his gallery. Back in the Verde Valley, bookseller Lee Dittmann is compiling a Northern Arizona Flora.

Two of the links are more general. Biotic Communities of the Colorado Plateau is a general ecology reference, while Sonoran Desert Naturalist is good desert reading. And for tracking down plant IDs, I recommend the Southwestern Environmental Information Network.

Two other sites from Southern Arizona complete the current list. Curious about that -- nature bloggers seem more common in that part of the state than elsewhere.

If you have other Arizona/Southwestern wildlife sites to recommend, please pass the info along. I'm always looking!


Karen of Scottsdale said...

thank you for all the wonderful links to flora and fauna web sites-- I just love learning about all the wildflowers that grow in my yard. I can't really garden so mostly what we have is weeds, but now I know they are really wildflowers. Today I learned that I have a scarlet spiderling which I absolutely love.

Granny J said...

Thanks for your good words, Karen. The scarlet spiderling is a new one to me, but then I haven't kept up with what is wild in the Valley for a long time. I will be adding a new weather blog to the list tonight!

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