Friday, November 18, 2016

Creature Feature Friday, the desert is alive...

I haven't written much about my trip to Arizona in October, but rest assured I've got lots of sunny photos to help get me (us) through winter. One memory that really stands out to me is the feeling of how alive the desert is. You can't walk 20-ft at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix without seeing a lizard. Geckos and mourning doves are daily visitors to my brother's house. Maybe these all stand out because what I'm seeing aren't part of my daily life at home? But then again take this plant I photographed at Arcosanti (amazing post coming soon). In this photo, which represents just a tiny bit of the entire plant, there are 4 different pollinators working away, I found that somewhat amazing.

Here's a better overall shot of the plant, which thanks to Facebook, and the Plant Idents page, I know is most likely a Baccharis, either B. sarothroides or B. sarothroides.

This little guy was beautiful.

Here's a better shot. It might be a Polistes aurifer? (again a Facebook guess)

There were also several of this beauty partaking of the floral goodness.

I saw a few colorful winged creatures on my Fatsia japonica blooms recently, I don't know if they were moths or butterflies. Still, I saw more during my 5 days in Arizona than I see in 5 weeks at home.

This little hopper (those patterns!) was hanging out next to a pathway at Arcosanti. I managed to quickly snap this photo before my nephew lunged to see him jump. What is it about little boys?

This! I wasn't even sure it was real at first. It was too glassy looking, and metallic, and just plain fake. But it's real, a little research says Plusiotis gloriosa, Glorious Beetle...ya, they got that right.

To add to the incredulity of the moment it was right there where our feet were tromping, any one of our group of 10 or so could have stepped on it. But we didn't.

Location change, now we're at the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG). This was one of several nests I spotted in large cactus. Another had a bird hopping about protectively. This is the only clear nest photo I got, no bird nearby.

This daredevil had just emerged from the spiky Agave when I snapped his photo. His tail is just a wispy little thing compared to the squirrels at home. Maybe it's because the plants are always grabbing bits?

I only took a single lizard photo, but encountered many. I do not like snakes but lizards make me so very happy.

A double shot! Red and blue...

Lots of butterflies on this (unknown) shrub Aloysia virgata (thanks Walt!) I only managed to capture one.

Ants! Had I not been in such a hurry to brush them off I would have had another (more dramatic) ant photo as they mobbed my ankle at a nursery we visited, biting and burning! Little buggers.

Ugh. Evil little white devils.

This little bird was singing the most amazing song as I left the DBG, the photo is poor, I wish I knew what he was. I also wish I'd managed to get a non-blurry photo of the quail running about. I grew up with quail making pilgrimages across our lawn and enjoyed seeing their jerky walk again.

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

32 comments:

  1. Great post! So many fab critters. I love the patterns on the grasshopper.

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  2. Just what I needed today. Thank you for transporting me to the sunny Arizona desert. I can't wait to go back--just six more weeks.

    I love that Baccharis. I think I have to have one.

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    1. Lucky you! Is your itinerary all set?

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  3. Unknown shrub is Aloysia virgata - larger cousin of the more common Alyosia citrodora (lemon verbena), which instead of lemon is redolent of almond and vanilla. Great shot.

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    1. Thank you for commenting with knowledge Walt!

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  4. It's like an entirely different world! Love that green beetle and all of the critters in this post.

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  5. Lots of cool critters here, but that beetle is amazing! I love watching dragonflies. There were red ones like the one you photographed all over my garden up until this week.

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    1. It was a good year for dragonflies here too, the red one and then a black and white one were regulars. They each had their favorite places to hang out too.

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  6. I'm so glad you posted a bit on this trip because we're tentatively planning one for after Thanksgiving and will add Arcosanti to the itinerary -- any other suggestions most welcome! Marty wants to visit the biosphere too. I bet those are the cochineal scale all over that opuntia!

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    1. I think you'll really love Arcosanti, we somehow spaced that you had to be on a tour to see the grounds, so be sure to check out their website and time your visit for a tour. Have you been to Taliesin West? Another great place to visit.

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  7. Your bird is perhaps a Curve-billed Thrasher, a common bird in the Sonoran Desert. They do have a very nice song, somewhat reminiscent of a Mockingbird. (They are in the same Mimidae family.)

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    1. Thank you Anon, I think you've got it!

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  8. Love this post. I think I might put bugs and birds as third in my heart, after plants and rocks! Glorious beetle, indeed. I wonder what it and its grubs destroy......The amount of life in deserts and desert climes always astounds me.

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    1. Andrew is the bug and bird lover around here, I feel a little guilty whenever I spot something really cool and he's not with me to see it.

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  9. I already miss the pollinators, so this post was very welcome indeed! (He says as the 80 degree weather is replaced by mid-30's) Love that grasshopper!

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    1. Your temperature swings are frightful.

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  10. Wow! Nothing like a different environment to see exciting things everywhere. Did not like the sound of the ant bites.

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    1. They looked pretty bad too. My flight home was delayed and I realized as I sat in a very crowded airport that my feet and ankles looked like I had some horrible disease, red spots all over. Luckily they were gone in about 24 hrs.

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  11. Great photos! I think you're very brave to zoom in for a close-up of a wasp - they're mean when disturbed. If you love lizards, you'd be happy down my way, where they're everywhere. I removed yet another one from the house a couple of days ago - they hitchhike in on the screen doors.

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    1. Funny I grew up with both snakes (rattlers, bull, garter) and lizards but the lizards have never creeped me out the way the snakes do.

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  12. Delightful post, especially since I'm looking at snow blanketing everything. I'm with Alan, that grasshopper is a beauty, but I'm grossly itchy after looking at the white yuck.

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    1. Snow...ugh. Tis the season though isn't it?

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  13. Excellent photos--enjoyed them all. Lizards are awesome.

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  14. I have those horrible biting ants in several spots in the garden. They are evil. The other critters in your post more than compensate tho.

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    1. I've only encountered those ants once here, on a dog walk. They didn't leave red dots behind though, like their AZ counterparts.

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  15. Just love seeing all those creatures - and now I know I'm not hallucinating: there really is a lot of it out here! Could do without fire ants and even Glorious Beetles (ha!!) as they have an obnoxious preference for flying straight at people's heads. But more lizards please... I'm looking forward to seeing your Arcosanti post :)

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    1. Then I'll count myself lucky to have seen the beetle on the ground, not flying at my face! Have you been to Arcosanti?

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    2. No, there are so many places here I haven't been to yet!

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  16. Great creatures. I vote butterfly, based on the antennae, but lovely either way.

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