The other day, I noticed my big cottonwood had mysteriously been vandalized presumably by some kind of critter.
Other than the occasional ground squirrel, one woodrat, the usual house mouse, and a surprise bobcat visit years ago, there aren’t any large mammals about and certainly none of the porcupines or raccoons I see down by the river. The scratch above measured 4′ long, and from the other side
continues on up to 7′ high. There was a newsnote about a Black Bear at the nearby intersection about the time I noticed this – could it be? Google tells me bears like porcupines tend to girdle the whole tree so that’s not it, but I seriously doubt we’ve got wild teenagers cruising the neighborhood at night with axes or chainsaws. If anybody has a clue about what kind of critter might do this kind of thing, please let me know.
In other good news (yay!), my big lens came back a week early, and a big thank you to Nikon for that cool 5-year warranty that got it fixed for free! I mentioned last week that Embudito had really greened up and has lately been full of flowering plants and quite a few birds (close to 25 species recently), so I’ve been back a few times this week. Clearly, the rufous hummingbirds are grooving on the new red trumpet vine flowers that have sprung up, with pollen still dusting their bills.
Not too many butterflies around, but there were a couple of new ones for me. One I thought might be the Pahaska Skipper we’d seen earlier this year, we think may be an Apache Skimmer since it’s Fall, has white below the tips of the antennae, and seemed much brighter on the underside.
The other new one is a Canyonland Satyr that for once I figured out correctly before running it before my mentors, Rebecca and Matt.
Another interesting sight one day was this tarantula heading off on the annual migration they undertake around this time of year.
I tickled one of his eight feet with a blade of grass, which got him to assume this defensive pose, but he soon got over it and headed on his way. Nearby, this roadrunner was strutting his stuff, and I’ve noticed all of a sudden that roadrunners seem to be everywhere.
Then there was today, when Rebecca and I returned to Los Poblanos Open Space in hopes of finding a few more butterfly species among the huge number of Clouded Sulphurs that are tending the clover and alfalfa growing there. An amazing day for pictures, starting from the moment I turned off of Montano to park with this Ring-necked Pheasant right on the corner.
With Rebecca there, we did indeed see a few other species of butterflies among the hundreds of Clouded Sulphurs, including Western Pygmy-Blues, Cabbage Whites, Common Checkered-Skipper, and this one Monarch.
We also spotted a Fiery Skipper, who was really showing off his wings.
Skulking in the nearby olive tree with an eye on the Lesser Goldfinches, Blue Grosbeaks, and Rufous Hummingbirds hitting the profuse wildflowers was a Cooper’s Hawk.
Speaking of hummingbirds, there were plenty of them dashing about, protecting territory, and feeding on all those flowers. This one gave me a quick look at his shiny gorget.
And this picture just came out really well of a hummingbird hovering over a morning glory.