Is That A Bird Nest or What?

During my daily neighborhood walks, I look for plants and animals new to me. Recently I was looking for active bird nests for my possible participation in Nest Watch. With focused eyes toward tree tops, shrubs and cacti, I saw a hefty silhouette of something and thought it may be the start of some bird’s nest-building. Here is what I saw … look closely in the top quarter of the photo below:

As I walked closer to the tree, I observed it was not a bird nest. And what was in the space remained in place, not bothered by my approach. Upon closer inspection I observed a ground squirrel, sitting on the tree branch riding the wind as the branch bounced up and down, looking at me! The ground squirrel never moved as I took a couple of photos with my phone. These photos allow you to more easily see the ground squirrel:

Usually I see ground squirrels on the ground:

But the winning, most fun observation for me was when 9 months ago in our backyard I saw this ground squirrel pulling on our prayer flags! 

It is important to keep our eyes open, even during our daily neighborhood walk or looking in our backyard. There may be a fun observation to be made by you! What will you see? No idea until you get out there and look; have fun!

What do you see?

You are on the trail, you hear movement and see something coming down a tree limb and you are not sure what it is … and there may be two somethings! I am showing the 3 photos I took as I tried to figure out what was causing the movement within 10 feet of me. Photos have not been edited so you have a chance to see what I saw and in the order of what I saw.

If you read yesterday’s blog post you might have a hint. Do you see two bobcats? Yup, that’s what was happening … two bobcats on the move …. off a tree limb and walking along yet I could not see them beyond these couple of peeks. I love nature!

Butterfly … Queen or Monarch?

I discovered butterflies can be as difficult to photograph and identify as birds! It finally dawned on me to wait for a butterfly to land on a flower,  photograph it, and then identify it. Any photo of a butterfly in flight has not been worth saving, but a few on a flower, well maybe yes!

My next question to myself, am I photographing a queen or monarch butterfly? To refresh my memory, I checked my resources and now know these are all queens. Notice in the dark orange of the wings there are occasional white dots; therefore, it is a queen butterfly in photo above and below.

Next question, is it a male or female butterfly? When their wings are open, a male will display prominent black markings, often referred to as the “family jewels”, but they are defunct pheromone sacs once used to drive the female butterflies crazy. And now you know! In the photo below, a male Queen butterfly.