A lovely Western Screech Owl visits a water feature in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, and ponders a loved one with whom this place was once shared. Then flies away in pursuit of the dream... The photo at the end behind the credits is this little owl's home -- inside a cavity way on top of a tall saguaro by my house. Look closely --- you can barely see it! I've got more footage of it singing there!Uploaded during the Annular Solar Eclipse of 2012.
Right before sunrise, we went outside to watch the Perseids meteor showers, but instead were greeted by this gorgeous Mojave rattlesnake. Perhaps it's one of the locks from the Medussa's head killed by Perseus, the Greek hero who these showers are named after. At any rate, we released the snake in a safe place over a mile from our house. While it may be the most lethal, fast, and aggressive of the rattlesnakes, I think it is also the most beautiful. I suppose the Medussa would turn people to stone if her hair were filled with Mojaves! ;)Remember - you can always tell a Mojave from a Diamondback by the head and the tail. In the Mojave, the white bands are larger than the black bands on the tail. Plus the dark stripes on the side of the head go straight back to the ears and not down the side like the Diamondback.
Watch out mice! Pituophis melanoleucus is comin' to get ya! While the gopher snake may look and even sound like a rattlesnake at first sight, it does not have rattles and is not venomous. It kills its prey by constricting. It is the best rodent control available so we happily let them be. To see one imitating a rattlesnake, watch my video "Gopher Snake Imitates Rattlesnake." We found that one in a closet! We put it back outside in the hope it would stay under the house and not in it. Last year we found two of them intertwined under our duck's pool. This one may be one of the resultant babies. We have not had a mouse problem since. So we love our gopher snakes and are very grateful to them!
This desert creature jumps and climbs all over red-barrel cacti covered with thorns without getting hurt. You won't believe it until you see it. I'll give you one hint: It's not a bug, bird, or reptile!
I thought I would share some footage of my resident cardinal couple for Christmas. While I have some great pix of the female, my footage of her is lost for the time being. Meanwhile, enjoy the pix and the male prancing around the water feature!
My second "rare bird sighting" of this beautiful species so far out of its normal range. Accompanied by black-headed grosbeaks, finches, doves, and hummingbirds, all competing for feeding space. See how the locals react to this stunning newcomer who seems to take it all in stride. . .
A common "city" bird (House Sparrow) gets mistaken for an exotic migrant from Mexico, but not for long! It is, however, a migrant from Europe, having been introduced to Central Park in New York City over 100 years ago. Here it is in the Sonoran Desert, far away from the city doing its thing.
The anaconda is one of the largest snakes in the world. It is giant a constrictor living in the waters of northern South America. Never in my life did I imagine I would ever see a live one, let alone hold it, film it, and just be with it!
At least a dozen or more tiny little Gambel's Quail chicks with their parents in the wild - probably not more than a day old. Just TOO cute for their feathers (or lack thereof -- they're mostly down right now!)