More Owls, and Then Some Insects

by Dan Weisz

On Thursday morning, we visited the house where the three juvenile Great Horned Owls have been perching in the patio, but they were gone!  Not knowing whether the rains kept them from returning home or whether they had just grown up and finally are staying out in the desert daily, we searched the huge desert wash behind the house.  After scanning the dense foliage for about ten minutes we spotted two of the owls about fifty yards away.  Can you see these two foot tall birds?

The distance made it difficult to focus, but you can see how well they are camouflaged in the thick tree.

We walked back to the house and circled around to try to find a better vantage point.  From our new spot, we could see the owl at the top of the mesquite.  He’s close to the saguaro but on the mesquite snag and he’s sleeping off his long night.

It must have heard our tromping through the desert so it looked to see its visitors.  After watching for a bit, we retreated and left the owl alone for the day.

At Tohono Chul Park, the butterflies are enjoying the many flowers that are blooming.  Here is a Painted Lady on Gregg’s Mistflower.

On the Painted Lady, one good field mark is the set of four small “eyespots” on the underside of the wing near the back. 

Here is a female Queen Butterfly, a cousin to Monarchs.

And at Sweetwater Wetlands, we saw a Robber Fly doing what Robber Flies do:  eat other bugs.  Here, it is munching on a bee while sitting on a creosote bush.

And here we have Fig Beetles doing what Fig Beetles will do:  make other fig beetles.  These bugs appear in June or July.  They can look black while flying but have a velvet green color with metallic looking legs.  They cannot bite.  While they love to eat their namesake figs, they will eat anything sweet including sap from our desert plants that are enjoying this monsoon weather.

Web presentation by Douglas Everett @ Hummingbird Market