Monthly Archives

May 2009

Horned Lizard Photo, Horny Toad

Arizona, Wildlife

When we were kids we loved catching what we called “horny toads.” (Look, wiseguy, we were 6 years old at the time and couldn’t pronounce “horned”.) We would find them in chapparal and open areas in Newport Beach where I grew up. The little horned lizards (Phrynosoma) weren’t particularly fast, and were safer to catch than rattlers (we caught of few of those too). The squat horny toads looked fat and ran funny. They were easy to catch with our bare hands. They would squirt blood out of their eyes on us, a defensive mechanism that several species of horned lizards possess. After getting a few drops of blood on us, we let the little guys go where we found them. Fast forward 35 years. I now understand that some horned lizard species are now highly threatened, feeding exclusively on certain ant species that themselves are disappearing due to development and loss of habitat. As the tract homes arrive, away go the native ants and thus the horny toads. I’ve been trail running for years and can only recall seeing one horny toad in the last ten years ago. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a horned lizard on Bill Forbes’ property, and to get a few photos of it.

Horned lizard.  When threatened, the horned lizard can squirt blood from its eye at an attacker up to 5 feet away, Phrynosoma, Amado, Arizona

Horned lizard. When threatened, the horned lizard can squirt blood from its eye at an attacker up to 5 feet away.
Image ID: 22964
Species: Horned lizard, Phrynosoma
Location: Amado, Arizona, USA

Shot at Bill Forbes’ Pond at Elephant Head, which I visited and described recently.

Desert Cottontail Rabbit Photo

Arizona, Wildlife

There were a lot of little desert cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus audubonii) hopping about all morning and evening. They were really cute, and quite bold, coming in to drink at the pond often and sniff about looking for seed and bits of food. No babies though.

Desert cottontail, or Audobon's cottontail rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii, Amado, Arizona

Desert cottontail, or Audobon’s cottontail rabbit.
Image ID: 22892
Species: Desert cottontail rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
Location: Amado, Arizona, USA

Shot at Bill Forbes’ Pond at Elephant Head, which I visited and described recently.

White-sided Jackrabbit Photo

Arizona, Wildlife

This white-sided jackrabbit (Lepus callotis) showed up briefly one morning at Bill Forbes’ pond. It did not approach too closely, unfortunately, and stayed in the shadows nibbling on fresh mesquite leaves, standing tall on its hind legs to grasp to lowest branches. I was amazed at how long its ears were, I’d never seen a rabbit like this before.

Antelope jackrabbit, Lepus alleni, Amado, Arizona

Antelope jackrabbit.
Image ID: 22910
Species: Antelope jackrabbit, Lepus alleni
Location: Amado, Arizona, USA

Shot at Bill Forbes’ Pond at Elephant Head, which I visited and described recently.

Round-tailed Ground Squirrel Photo

Arizona, Wildlife

This little round-tailed ground squirrel (Spermophilus tereticaudus) showed up beside the pond only a couple times, and I really only had one good chance to get its photo. I felt sorry for the poor thing, not only is it a puny raptor-morsel, but it has a wimpy tail compared to the Harris’ antelope ground squirrel I posted yesterday.

Round-tailed ground squirrel, Spermophilus tereticaudus, Amado, Arizona

Round-tailed ground squirrel
Image ID: 22896
Species: Round-tailed ground squirrel, Spermophilus tereticaudus
Location: Amado, Arizona, USA

Shot at Bill Forbes’ Pond at Elephant Head, which I visited and described recently.

Harris’ Antelope Squirrel Photo

Arizona, Wildlife

This little Harris’ antelope ground squirrel (Ammospermophilus harrisii) came to the pond to sip water and look for bits of food. Check out that cool tail, I bet Fonzie would wear a tail like that if he could. I nicknamed this guy Mike Tyson.

Harris' antelope squirrel, Ammospermophilus harrisii, Amado, Arizona

Harris’ antelope squirrel.
Image ID: 22900
Species: Harris' antelope squirrel, Ammospermophilus harrisii
Location: Amado, Arizona, USA

Shot at Bill Forbes’ Pond at Elephant Head, which I visited and described recently.

Mexican Jay Photo

Arizona, Birds

I’m posting one last photo from Upper Madera Canyon, this time a photo of a Mexican jay (Aphelocoma ultramarina). The wanna-be tough-guys were everywhere among the trees, spooking all the smaller birds. They would only shut up and settle down when the larger ravens rolled through. They are not as colorful as the Stellar’s jay but still fun to watch nonetheless.

Mexican jay, Aphelocoma ultramarina, Madera Canyon Recreation Area, Green Valley, Arizona

Mexican jay.
Image ID: 22959
Species: Mexican Jay, Aphelocoma ultramarina
Location: Madera Canyon Recreation Area, Green Valley, Arizona, USA

Shot at Bill Forbes’ Upper Madera Canyon “drip”, which I visited and described recently.

Acorn Woodpecker Photo

Arizona, Birds

Another photo from Upper Madera Canyon, this time a photo of a male Acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus). The females look very similar, with the exception that on females the white forehead is separated from the red cap by black.

Acorn woodpecker, male, Melanerpes formicivorus, Madera Canyon Recreation Area, Green Valley, Arizona

Acorn woodpecker, male.
Image ID: 22961
Species: Acorn woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
Location: Madera Canyon Recreation Area, Green Valley, Arizona, USA

Shot at Bill Forbes’ Upper Madera Canyon “drip”, which I visited and described recently.