When I got home from Bolivia, I found this dead Western Threadsnake, Rena humilis on my carpet. Thank goodness for a dry climate that mummifies little things like this before they can rot.
With just under two weeks between tours back at home, I made the most out of my time. In the past few months three of my nieces had babies, so I quickly knitted hats for two of them.
I also had a chance to visit with my friends David and Andy Sonneborn and helped them load this sculpture, which they had bought at a gallery in Tubac, into their rental car.
We did a bit of birding on the nearby Santa Cruz River where this Western Tanager was a bit on the late side.
Then I had a short private tour of three and a half days for a single client who has been on a few regular tours with me. Pam and I started in Madera Canyon, awash in fall colors.
I got an unintentional response from a Whiskered Screech-Owl, which surprised me by flying in and landing just a few feet away from me.
We enjoyed the birds at the feeders, including a Blue-throated Hummingbird, and then this White-nosed Coati came in and took his fill.
We stayed three nights at the Amado Territory B &B, which had some nice birds, including a big flock of Lawrence’s Goldfinches. There were a few nice moths a the porch lights each evening, such as this tiger moth Ectypia clio.
One of the more rewarding birding spots we visited, for the views and variety of plants and birds was Rock Corral Canyon.
We found a pair of Black-capped Gnatcatchers here; there have been a few pairs in this canyon ever since the original invasion was detected about 15 years ago.
There were plenty of butterflies too, this puddle party consisting mostly of Mexican Yellows, Eurema mexicana.
We also birded along the Santa Cruz River where we spotted this Arizona Mantis, Stagmomantis limbata.
This formerly Magnificent, now Rivoli's Hummingbird, was at the Paton’s Birding Center.
An amazing stinkhorn mushroom was in the lawn there, Lysurus cruciatus. As an aside, this generic name was shared by a couple South American birds – Sooty-faced Finch and Olive Finch – as botanists and zoologist have completely separate nomenclatural rules. But they were moved into the brushfinch genus Arremon recently.
We ventured as far as Huachuca Canyon, hoping for the Sinaloa Wren that was being seen sporadically.
Under our picnic table was this odd, beardlike growth.
Closer inspection revealed it to be a roost or hibernaculum of dozens of daddy longlegs.
The small stream here had a few Painted Damsels, Hesperagrion heterodoxum.
Our last day saw us northwest of Tucson in the Santa Cruz Flats, hoping for the often elusive Mountain Plovers. We didn’t see them but saw plenty of other birds. This Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk was apparently back on the same power poles for the second or third year in a row.
Much of the habitat there is intensive agricultural, if not disused wasteland, so I was surprised to find this Great Blue Hairstreak, Atlides halesus in a patch of desert broom.