Saturday, April 12, 2008

Critters updated

Of course, we'll never know just what happened. Last evening, well after nightfall, I heard the local ravens shouting -- a very unusual event. My take? I suspect that the neighborhood raccoons were raiding a nest. Today I found out that the dawg next door alerted his family of nefarious doings in the wee hours. They've still no idea what was up. One more mystery.

However, this hawk was very much out in the open, if an extra long shot away, on that recent outing to the Santa Maria river. I handed the camera to Dana who took a fine, steady picture tho the lens was stretched a bit beyond its resolving power (below).

Meanwhile, back in the city, the acorn woodpeckers have been around and about.

And the last bird note: a tiny nest I discovered while photographing trees as they leaf out. My guess is that it was built by hummingbirds.

In the mammal department: a friend who hunts passed along this picture, taken at night by an automatic camera set-up at his regular haunt over near Camp Wood. It's a ringtail, first cousin to the raccoon. I checked my references and this critter is indeed found as high as 6000 ft. in the Prescott area, preferably in rocky locations. The one time I saw a real live ringtail in nature was down in the Agua Fria canyon near Badger Springs. And in the daytime -- very unusual for this critter who's active at night. Ringtails were sometimes tamed by old-time miners as pets.

Another friend, Bobbi, contributed this picture of a new beaver dam at Stillman Lake. She adds that as many as five young beavers have moved into the Verde headwaters. They got ambitious, too (below), tackling a tree that's 12-15" in diameter. Very interesting: the LH and I found evidence of beavers at King Springs over in nearby Hell Canyon, but that is the only place we ever noted beaver-cut trees in the Upper Verde area.

And here's a relic from the previous owners of my building: a beaver-cut chunk of tree that was mounted over one of the doorways.

A week ago, this mourning cloak butterfly was patrolling out front along the road. The day was chilly and, periodically, the critter would alight, wings spread and then close them, soaking up sunlight and warmth. I never did see him/her locate -- or look for -- a flower.

And, in the reptile corner, a picture of one of my many little lizards who actually sat still long enough for a portrait. The Max cat is big on chasing (and catching) lizards, BTW.

The finale: an H.M. (Highly Magnified) horned toad replica I found at Watters on a recent visit. How could I resist?

Critter Links: Read all about the chicken whisperer over at The One Acre Wood; Escaping Suburbia posted a cool osprey picture and World Photos offers swans and geese along the River Main in Germany (Steve also has a rival grey squirrel visitor at The Red Squirrel. You might also find the Daily Mammal and the Nature Blog Network of interest. If you have the time! There's just a wealth of Good Stuff out there...


Anonymous said...

I do approve of you ersatz horntoad.


Anonymous said...

Critters are always fun to watch and shoot. Still a bit cold for the snakes and lizards here. I like that toad.

GJ, thanks for the mention.

Anonymous said...

The butterfly photos are a delight! The "sunbath" gave you a great opportunity.

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

Bro -- sad news-- that lovely horny toad was made of less than strong stuff; I discovered it had dropped off (or been knocked off by You Know Who) during the night and lost one of its eyes.

steve -- note my sad news about the un-toad. I will try some SuperGlue later this afternoon.

anon av -- I'm always happy when the chance for a butterfly or moth picture happens; I've find them ol\nly too elusive. There's that yellow swallowtail that patrols the street out front, for example. Never caught him/her alighting.

Anonymous said...

I love these! I seem to be especially taken by the second butterfly, where its wings are up. And the lizard looks like it was posing for you, just waiting for the snap!:-D
I also popped over to your Santa Maria River outing. Very beautiful stuff.

Thanks for both, GJ. Keep 'em coming!

Melanie A. said...

Oh, I love horned toads! I've lived far from them for a bunch of years, but still expect to see, and step around, one underfoot-- they were so prolific!

I hope your Watters 'toad isn't the only one you've been catching sight of these days.

Granny J said...

ad -- that butterfly kept coming back to the same spots; I wonder what about them was particularly attractive?

melanie -- too bad to be living somewhere there are no horny toads! Any more I see, I'll photograph for you.

Lucy said...

I wonder why woodpeckers wherever they are always have red heads?

Our (unhorned) toad tadpoles have hatched out in the pond now.

Granny J said...

lucy -- an interesting question. Now that I think on it, it seems that even our flickers, 1st cousins to woodpeckers, have a touch of red. also. Saw your wonderful tadpole pix; BTW, the horned toad is actually in the lizard clan. If you look carefully, he has a tail. I suppose it was the rounded body that gave the old-timers the idea that he's a toad.

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