A run-in with a skunk

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.


Frequently while we are out delivering our newspapers, we see, hear and smell all kinds of wildlife. Last week, we posted about seeing a mule deer doe and her baby, we even posted a great picture of the two of them. Most of the time though, we are not so lucky to capture pictures of the creatures we see, which is the case of the skunk Al stumbled upon last night.

As mentioned above, we included smell and boy do we smell a lot of skunks while we are out. Everyone once and awhile we will see them from our cars but never face to face. That all changed last night! Al was delivering papers in a very large apartment complex and as she walked around a corner, there was a skunk standing in the middle of the sidewalk. EEEEKKKK! We startled each other! Al took a step back and the skunk slowly turned around and showed her its lovely raised tail and tush. Al stood still and silently pleaded with the skunk to not spray her. Luckily her prayers were answered and the skunk crept into the bushes and Al continued on with her delivery.

This interaction led to some research about skunks that we thought we would share with you:

  • Skunks can be found from the southern parts of Canada, throughout most of the United States and into the northern parts of Mexico.
  • They have great sense of smell and hearing but poor eyesight. They can only see about 10 feet in front of them.
  • They can spray a target 10 feet away (Al was definitely in the spray zone).
  • Skunks are omnivorous.

Hopefully one day we will be able to capture a photo of a skunk without being sprayed!

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Wordless Wednesday #26 | Gulf fritillary on lantana flowers

Wordless Wednesday #26 | Gulf fritillary on lantana flowers

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

gulf fritillary on lantana flowers arizona
If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Wordless Wednesday #25 | Vermilion Flycatcher

Wordless Wednesday #25 | Vermilion Flycatcher

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 3 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Vermilion Flycatcher are members of the tyrant flycatcher family which is the largest family of birds with over 400 species. Vermilion Flycatchers are unique to the family because most are a drab brown color and these guys are bring red/pink. However this coloring only occurs in males while females are brown; this phenomenon is called sexual dimorphism.
vermilion flycatcher
If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Wordless Wednesday #24 | Giant Swallowtail on a Desert Bird of Paradise

Wordless Wednesday #24 | Giant Swallowtail on a Desert Bird of Paradise

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

We love butterflies. Lucky for us, there are 250 species of butterfly in the Sonoran Desert. Giant Swallowtails are an interesting species because of their unique flight pattern; they appear to be hopping through the air. We caught this one while on a mid-afternoon stroll, having a snack on a Desert Bird of Paradise.

giant swallowtail on a desert bird of paradise
If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Wordless Wednesday #23 | Female House Sparrow in a Saguaro

Wordless Wednesday #23 | Female House Sparrow in a Saguaro

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

This week’s Wordless Wednesday photograph is of a Female House Sparrow nesting in a Saguaro. House Sparrows are usually very flighty and don’t stay still long enough for us to take great pictures of so this was a pleasant surprise.

Sparrow in a Saguaro

If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the this photograph are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Wordless Wednesday #22 | Juvenile Roadrunner

Wordless Wednesday #22 | Juvenile Roadrunner

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 2 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Today’s Wordless Wednesday photograph is a juvenile Greater Roadrunner. We normally only see large, adult roadrunners in our area, so this was a first for us.

Roadrunners are members of the cuckoo family and can be seen as far west as California and as far east as Louisiana. You can read more about them and hear their castanet-like rattle and other unique calls at Allaboutbirds.org.
Wordless Wednesday Juvenile Roadrunner

If you enjoy this photograph, you can purchase a print of it through our Zazzle store, where you can order prints of our other photographs as well. A card version and postcard version of the Juvenile Roadrunner are also available. Happy Wednesday!

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Wordless Wednesday #20 | Flowers of Madera Canyon

Wordless Wednesday #20 | Flowers of Madera Canyon

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Last week, we shared photos from our trip to Madera Canyon. We had a few more that didn’t make that post. Wordless Wednesday seemed like the perfect day to share them with you! We were able to identify these flowers from a bit of research…

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Bigelow’s Beggarticks

Bidens bigelovii

We found the first two on wildflower.org, the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.

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Prairie Verbena or Dakota Vervain 

Glandularia bipinnatifida

This last one was a bit more difficult because it looks like many other yellow wildflowers in Arizona. In the end, we found it the swbiodiversity.org SEINet catalog of Arizona flora.

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Lacy Tansyaster

Xanthisma spinulosum

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Woof Trekking Dispatch #12: Madera Canyon, Santa Rita Mountains, September 2016

Woof Trekking Dispatch #12: Madera Canyon, Santa Rita Mountains, September 2016

posted in: Dispatches, Living in the Southwest, Nature, On the Road, Woof Trekking | 2 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

A couple weeks ago, we decided to go on a spontaneous Woof Trek. We hadn’t gone Woof Trekking for several months and everyone was ready to hit the road. We hopped in the car and traveled across the valley to Madera Canyon.
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Madera Canyon is about 30 miles south of Tucson and is located in the Santa Rita Mountains. The Canyon is part of the US Forest Service. When some people think of the desert southwest, they think that it is just a flat desert, however that is not the case. Madera Canyon is a perfect example of this.
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Tucson itself is surrounded by four different mountain ranges, with the Santa Rita’s being the one to the South. Madera Canyon is big birding location as it is a stopping point during migrations north and south. We missed the migration this year, but will be returning in the future to see some of the unique birds. We packed a picnic lunch and drove up to the highest paved area, called the Mt. Wrightson Picnic Area and Trailheads.
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The elevation at this point was 5400 feet and it was slightly cooler than the valley but not by much. Izzy and Nana were itching to go explore the Canyon, but had to wait for us to eat lunch first.
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We brought a little battery operated fan because Izzy runs warm temperature-wise due to all her fur. We needed a bigger fan – like one of those on the sidelines at football games. But she stayed hydrated and that’s most important.
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After lunch, we set out on a couple of the trails. There are an abundance of trails in Madera Canyon, but we are amateur hikers so we didn’t go too far. Our first little hike was at Madera Canyon Picnic Area. We walked over to see the creek that runs down the canyon.
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Nana wasn’t a big fan of the running water, but Izzy was fearless.
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She hopped up onto a giant boulder and smiled.
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We drove up around the camping area and saw a couple of plants we don’t normally see in Tucson. We saw an agave with these crazy looking seed pods growing out of the center. It was unlike any agave we had ever seen.
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We also saw these pretty bottlebrush flowers.
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Our final stop was the Proctor area, near the entrance/exit to the Canyon. At this stop, we hiked around a paved loop that was about 2 miles long.
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When we were eating our lunch earlier in the day, we saw some blue colored berries on the ground and we didn’t know what kind of tree they were from. On this trail, we found a sign that said that the area has a lot of Alligator Juniper trees, thus solving the mystery of the berries. If you look at the bark, you can totally see why they named them Alligator Junipers.
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Another interesting feature of this trail were these boxes on posts. They are houses for bats! We knew that Arizona had a lot of bat residents but from informational boards on the trail, we learned that of the 45 bat varieties that live in the Unites States and Canada, 28 can be found in Arizona. Wow!
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As we walked further on, we found a wooden bridge that crossed the river.
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Sun’s out, tongue’s out.
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Overall, Madera Canyon was great fun! We will definitely be back!

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Wordless Wednesday #17 | Wild Flower

Wordless Wednesday #17 | Wild Flower

posted in: Living in the Southwest, Nature, Our Work, Photography, Wordless Wednesday | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour”

From Auguries of Innocence by William Blake

A Desert Marigold
A Desert Marigold


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