Greased lightning

Greased lightning is the nickname we gave to these little rodents as they shot across the desert landscape foiling many of our attempts at photographing them. The White-tailed Antelope Ground Squirrel is a common to abundant desert dweller across the southwestern United States.

Right at home in this desert landscape the White-tailed Antelope is a diurnal mammal that feeds on a fairly omnivorous diet including seed, plants, arthropods and other insects as well as carrion.

They nest in underground burrows dug into the soft desert soil and use the burrow both as protection from predators and too keep cool during periods of extreme heat and cold.

Take a look at those little critters scurrying around the desert and you may just notice some greased lightning aka the White-tailed Antelope Ground Squirrel.

Greased Lightning in action.

Here, there and everywhere

Still dressed in their summer coat this Ermine was doing what Ermines do. Looking and running and looking and running over here, over there just about everywhere in search of their next meal. Because an Ermine has such a long slender body and high metabolism they rapidly loose body heat needing a fairly constant caloric input. This means an Ermine needs to eat about 75% of their body weight in food every day. Thus they spend most of their waking hours in search of the next meal.

Anything over there?

When the hunting is good Ermines store food in their dens for the lean times.

Maybe over there?

Just about now this guy should have changed into their winter coat of pure white except for that black-tip on the tail. Seeing them bounding through the snow on a snowy winter day is a sight we look forward to.

Everybody loves Rabbit Brush

Just a few weeks ago the Rabbit Brush was in full bloom and hosting quite a party where everyone was invited. Rabbit Brush is a native plant found over much of the western United States that blooms in late fall providing one final burst of color before winter arrives. According to the USDA, Rabbit Brush:Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus, provides both nesting habitat and forage for a wide variety of birds, insects and small mammals. One of the more frequent visitors to the party were White Crowned Sparrows.

In this case an immature White-Crowned Sparrow seemed to be foraging for insects.

Another visitor we noticed on more than one occasion was the Monarch Butterly stopping by for a sip of nectar as they migrate south for the winter.

Last but not least the Ruby-crowned Kinglets found the party too good to ignore and we frequently saw them foraging through the bushes in each of a meal.

A beautiful plant and a welcome splash of color as snow is forecast for the weekend.

And speaking of weekends, have a great one.

Inching along

Inching along from top of the plant down enjoying a meal along the way.

Caterpillars seemed so common in my youth but even while out and about most every day their numbers seem small. Perhaps it’s our location but maybe not. We were excited to find two species inching along on a late fall day. Both similar yet very distinct.

So mysterious and wonderful these creatures seem in a life of transformations.

Inching along until their next incarnation.

Uncut

Uncut_01 copy

A nice bouquet of wildflower left uncut yet not unnoticed. Above: Richardsons Geranium.

Uncut_02 copy

These Alpine Forget-me-nots were only a few inches tall yet still swaying tightly as the wind was blowing that afternoon.

Uncut_04 copyUncut_03 copyUncut_05 copy

Some blooms were just starting others were wide open.

Uncut_06 copy

Blue flower melding with a bright blue sky were also on tap.

Uncut_07 copy

The Forget-me-nots not only came in blue but in white and grew no more than 2-3 inches tall.

Uncut_08 copy

Happy Friday and wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Campion

Bladder_flower_781276 copy

Campion or “bladder” flower is one of those weed or wildflower flowers. Our local agricultural extension classifies it as a nuisance. We have several species in our area and this one is either a Bladder Campion: Silene latifolia or Parry’s Campion: Silene parryi. My untrained eye is unable to distinguish between the two and even if it is a weed it is a fine looking weed. 

Monday morning meeting

Morning_meeting_1

Monday morning meeting are no way to start the week unless it’s a nice short meeting with a fine coworker as was the case with this little butterfly. We met out in a field, cup of coffee in hand, had a quick discussion that was completely on point, then got right to work. No, not all meetings are bad.

Like Music

Like_music_001A field of flowers like notes on a staff creating a not only a sight but filling the ears with a harmonious sound.

Like_music_002

There are indeed times when the wildflowers sing. Like music, your favorite music.

Like_music_003 copy

A feast for the ears as well as the eyes.

Like_music_004