Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Birds, Bugs & Blooms in the San Simon Valley (Part 2)

The Chiricahua Mountains are rich in bio-diversity. They include numerous sky islands. One of the key elements of a sky island is separation by physical distance from the other mountain ranges, resulting in a habitat island, such as a forest surrounded by desert. The sky islands of Arizona and New Mexico are said to be the most studied sky islands in the world. We see vehicles from universities from  all over the country. They come to study plants, snakes, butterflies and other insects. 

Please enjoy some of the photos of the incredible life we've seen here.

As we were walking through the town of Portal, we heard a loud buzzing noise above our heads and looked up to see a massive swarm of migrating bees. Apparently they pick a spot to rest and all of the bees in the hive swarm around the queen to protect her.

Migrating Honey Bees
A side note: a few days later, Bob & I were both stung by very aggressive honey bees (otherwise known as Africanized Bees). These bees had taken up occupancy at a number of different places at our RV park. The park owners, Rusty & Tim, quickly took care of the problem by bringing in a Bee expert from Bisbee, Arizona.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Bordered Patch Butterflies mating
Bordered Patch Butterfly
Ceraunus Blue Butterfly
Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly
Desert Millipede
Eastern-tailed Blue Butterfly
Glorious Beetle
This Glossy Snake was crossing the road on our way up to Rustler Park. This is a non-venom snake. You can tell it is a Glossy Snake by the dark line running from the eye to the back of the jaw.
Golden-banded Skipper
Green Lynx Spider
Javelina: these mammals are not related to pigs but to the peccary family of Central and South America.
Many-lined Skink
Mexican Amberwing Dragonfly
Mexican Fox Squirrel
Northern Cloudywing Skipper
Orange Milkweed
Pearl Crescent Butterfly
Pipevine Swallowtail
We think this is a Black-tailed Rattlesnake. Folks come from all over the country to search for and study snakes here in the Chiricahuas.
Short-horned Lizard

These Horse Lubber Grasshoppers were all over our RV Park. They started appearing after the rains began. Their eggs overwinter in soil and can survive mild drought, hatching after spring rains. In good years adults appear from August through November. In very dry years the eggs may not hatch. This year is a good year!
Spotted Blister Beetles-yes when squeezed they will emit a liquid that will cause blisters
Tarantula Hawk which hunts Tarantulas
Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly- the butterfly in the photo below is actually laying eggs!

So many cool beetles & insects.....we could not find names for them all....

Upright Prairie Coneflower
Western Wallflower
Yarrow's Spiny Lizard

A new mammal for us... this White-nosed Coati, also known as Coatimundi, was watching us from the rocks above. They are relatives of the raccoon and pretty cute!
The World is Full of Beauty & Wonder,
Turtle & Hawk

No comments:

Post a Comment