One of My Favorite Plants

  Summer rains fuel the blooming of many desert wildlfowers, including one of my favorite desert plants, Southwestern Pipevine ( Aristolochia watsonii ) our only native member of its family.  I like the flowers of the plant because they are so unusual looking.  The name pipevine is derived from the resemblance of the flowers to pipes […]

August Butterfly Bonanza

The monsoon season has brought about a big upswing in butterfly activity.  In my yard, Red Bird-of-Paradise, Butterfly Bush, Verbena, and Lantana are all in full flower and attracting butterflies like mad. Just in the past couple of days, I have seen Pipevine, ‘Desert’ Black, and Giant Swallowtails have been flitting around the yard.  Thay […]

Five-striped Sparrow in Montosa Canyon

I made a quick trip this morning to Montosa Canyon on the western flank of the Santa Rita Mountians to search for the Five-striped Sparrows that have been present there for over a week. When I reached Montosa, I was greeted by Sam, who works for Arizona Game and Fish doing educational outreach, and Christy, who […]

Mt. Lemmon Butterfly Sojourn

This morning I had the pleasure of leading a group of participants from OASIS on a butterfly field trip to the Santa Catalina Mountains on the outskirts of Tucson.  It was the first butterfly field trip for many of the participants and all were very eager to hit the cooler temps of the mountains. Our […]

Acacia Skippers

This morning I did some scouting for an upcoming butterfly field trip.  I hit a few spots at low elevations along the Catalina Highway.  The first stop I made was at Molino Canyon Overlook.  The first butterfly that I saw was a Pipevine Swallowtail.  This is not surprising as this species is a large butterfly […]

Madera Madness

It had been a couple of weeks since I had headed into beautiful Madera Canyon.  This morning I decided to change that.  It didn’t hurt that a rare stray bird, Aztec Thrush, was being seen in the canyon.  So, eager in anticipation, I headed out. I drove to the upper parking area and hiked up […]

The San Pedro and more Owling: Southwest Wings Part 2

The second half of the 2011 Southwest Wings Festival in Sierra Vista, started in a conference room of the Cochise College Library.  I gave a talk on Arizona’s mammals to a standing-room only crowd!  It was fun introducing visitors and residents alike to the diverse group of mammals that inhabit the Grand Canyon State.  Most of […]

Awesome Owling For Southwest Wings

The first two nights of owling trips for the 20th annual Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival have been resounding successes!  The birds have been spectacular and the participants enthusiastic. On Wednesday (August 3rd), we headed to Ramsey Canyon in the Huachuca mountains.  Our first targets were Mexican Whip-poor-will and Whiskered Screech-Owl.  As we headed […]

AOU Changes, Part 2

In the first installment of this article, I highlighted the additions to the U.S. bird Checklist, based on accepted records of species not previously in the U.S. or its territorial waters.  In this article, I discuss the splitting of species found in the U.S., as well as the fairly significant changes in warbler taxonomy.  Let’s […]

AOU Changes, Part 1

In July the American Ornithologists Union (AOU) published the 52nd Supplement to the Checklist of North American Birds.  The AOU Checklist is the official list of birds occurring in the Western Hemisphere from Panama to Canada, including islands in the Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands.  Most bird checklists are derived from, and generally follow, the […]

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