12-spotted skimmer

Photographed on the banks of Frances Short Pond, Flagstaff, Arizona in mid-July, this is a 12-Spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella). Thank you to MrRoarke of Reddit for the help in identifying this beauty.

What’s With the V-Formation?

It is an inspiring, though common, thing to see flocks of ducks or geese flying overhead in V-formation. A duck flying alone is also beautiful, as is this mallard… http://www.wilcephotos.com/Northern-Arizona/JMW-Birds-Bees-Etc/i-qndbZbn/0/Th/BIF-Duck%3B%20BubblingPonds%3B%20IMG_9073%20C1PSD1-Th.jpg … but a group of birds synchronizing or coordinating their behavior presents us with a different kind of beauty.  This group of Canada Geese flying … More What’s With the V-Formation?

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

The Ducks That Swim in Circles

On a recent trip to the wonderful Sedona Wetlands Preserve, described in a previous post on this blog, I shot video footage of a fascinating group behavior by ducks, specifically Northern Shovelers. Shovelers are “dabbling” or surface-feeding ducks. The species has evolved a collaborative feeding strategy. Swimming in what John Andrew Eastman calls a “pinwheel” … More The Ducks That Swim in Circles

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

Sunrise over Flagstaff

It takes interesting cloud patterns to make glorious sunrises. These two sunrise shots were taken in Flagstaff, Arizona, in  October. Click here to view a wonderful sunrise over Des Moines, Iowa, and here to buy a copy of that photo.

Sunset in central Arizona

Sunday October 18 was a stormy day in much of Arizona. As afternoon turned to evening, storm clouds were trying to hang in there but were beginning to break up. That led to an amazing sunset, at least from what we saw in central Arizona as we drove from Flagstaff to Phoenix.

Sedona Wetlands: Birds and bees and butterflies

After some 20 years of meetings and countless hours of planning, the City of Sedona has developed a unique—and prize-winning— wastewater treatment facility. The treatment plant itself was finished some four years ago, but the unique thing about it is what happened next— channeling the highest quality treated water (meeting A+ Effluent Quality Standards) into … More Sedona Wetlands: Birds and bees and butterflies