Monarch Discovery

Google Doodles— the graphics atop Google’s splash page that change every day—are sometimes worth taking the time to consider. Such was the case with the 9 January 2016 Google Doodle. The Doodle acknowledges the “41st Anniversary of the Discovery of the Mountain of the Butterflies” The mountain in Mexico where the monarchs “overwinter” is the … More Monarch Discovery

What Wikipedia calls the “default desert bird”

If you have never heard of Curve-Billed Thrashers, you probably don’t live in or near a desert. But if you google “default desert bird” you’ll see a lot of text etc. devoted to Thrashers.  Unfortunately, the phrase “default desert bird,” with or without proper attribution is a misquote. At least Wikipedia rightly cites Dunne as the … More What Wikipedia calls the “default desert bird”

Four Raptors

Raptors are birds of prey. I try not to overuse the word “awesome,” but raptors are awesome, awe-inspiring. I love it when raptors, who have extremely sharp eyes, are so generous as to allow me to photograph them. So, I have gathered here, in one place, photos of four different raptors— three diurnal and one … More Four Raptors

What’s the beetle doing to its companion?

This brief video (about 7 seconds long) captures a pair of beetles, apparently “Darkling Beetles” (family Tenebrionidae). It shows one beetle touching the other with its antennae.  The video was shot September 5 on Fatman’s Loop trail (Mt. Elden area of Flagstaff, Arizona).  I removed the sound track and edited out most of the effects … More What’s the beetle doing to its companion?

A summer of learning: Butterfly upperwings and underwings

My first “wow” butterfly moment in the summer of 2015, described in Butterflies Part I, was really about butterflies and moths, and their antennae. The second moment of amazement is this realization: One butterfly, and in fact each individual wing of that one butterfly, can be very different when seen from above or below. Their … More A summer of learning: Butterfly upperwings and underwings

A summer of learning: How to tell butterflies from moths

It has been a summer of wonder and amazement, based on apparently chance encounters of this insect or that. But of course what we see— if we are watching—reflects what is here for now, in this season (or sub-sub-season). And so, it seems that one week, quite suddenly, our Cheshire neighborhood (Flagstaff, AZ) was home … More A summer of learning: How to tell butterflies from moths