By Dan Weisz
When I was at the Gilbert Water Ranch near Phoenix, some Black-Necked Stilts were around. The population of Black-necked Stilts in southern Arizona has been growing and they are common here during the summers in appropriate habitat (the muddy edges of water, whether natural or man-made). The Stilt’s thin pink legs are about as long as the its body. The long black beak and black-and-white body make this bird look very delicate.
And it does have a black neck!
At Sweetwater Wetlands, I saw my “first” bobcat of the year. I would guess this is the female who has been living there for several years. I like the look of her entering the shadows. She seemed to be on a mission.
A friend told me about a massive Saguaro cactus in Avra Valley. She had counted 68 arms on it. I didn’t check her numbers but this is an incredible specimen. All of the other saguaros in the area looked normal but this one is making a statement.
In Tucson, Hooded Orioles have returned and have been busy building their nests in palm trees. They strip the fibers of the leaves and then weave a nest into the underside of one palm leave. If you live in Tucson, check out the undersides of all of the palm leaves you see.
At Agua Caliente Park, a harmless King Snake crossed the path behind us. These are non-venomous snakes who help to reduce the rodent population. They are known for eating small rattlesnakes as well.
Upon closer inspection (I didn’t get closer, I just zoomed in), two bulges are evident near the end of the snake. Apparently it had eaten something within the past few days!
For more information on this snake, see https://www.desertmuseum.org/books/nhsd_kingsnake.php
This Roadrunner doesn’t quite “have a tiger by its tail”, but it does have a Tiger Whiptail Lizard by the belly. After I spotted him, the roadrunner ran quite a distance in a hurry with the lizard, perhaps returning to his nest to feed his young.