Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cute little Kit Fox at night!

Came upon this cute little Kit Fox near Boulder City last fall. It was used to begging for food and it was evident that people had been feeding it. It wouldn't let me get too close but I did manage to get a couple of photos. It would show up at dusk at the Boulder City Airport on a regular basis.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Saw the "old man" in Valley of Fire yesterday!

On the way out of Valley of Fire yesterday we spotted the old ram that I wrote about in a blog last week. He was in the same area that we saw him about 5 days before.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Update: Reunited w/ Ground Squirrel in Valley of Fire

On a trip to Valley of Fire today, we found the little Antelope Ground Squirrel that I blogged about last week. He was still as friendly as ever.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mojave Wildlife 2010

This is a slide show presentation of some of my best wildlife encounters in 2010.

To see the presentation in full detail, click anywhere on the screen and when the title appears in the upper left-hand corner (Mojave Wildlife 2010) click on it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The oldest Bighorn Ram I have ever seen . . .

Yesterday, at Valley of Fire, we came upon a Bighorn Ram by the campgrounds near Poodle Rock. It was all by itself. We got out and took some photos. I have never seen a older or mangier Bighorn in my life. We got back in the Trekker and followed the Bighorn back into the campground and was able to drive up very close to the old fellow for some very close photos.

This was the first look that we got from the road. You can see the campground in the background.

A closer look at the old boy . . .

It let us drive right up close and everyone got some great close-up shots.

This is one old, grizzled Desert Bighorn!
Click on the photo for a closer look.
A second click even zooms in more.

Now, compare the old boy to one of the Hemenway Park sheep in Boulder City.
Quite a big difference, isn't there?

The old Valley of Fire Ram seems to have lived a very hard life. Biologists say that Bighorn Sheep in Nevada live to be about 12 years old, even though their lifespan can be 20 to 25 years.
They say that Nevada sheep suffer from parasites like Bott Fly and Lung Worm that shortens there natural lifespan.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Close encounter with an Antelope Ground Squirrel today.

At the Valley of Fire today, this little guy came running up to my group with absolutely no fear at all. It is a White-tailed Antelope Ground Squirrel. One of my guests pulled a soda cracker out of her purse and crumbled it up and put it on the ground. We were able to get real close with our cameras, the closest I had ever been able to get.

After close observation of the squirrels behavior, I was able to feed it out of my hand. It was so cute. It would get a chunk of cracker and run off and hide it under a rock, and then run back for more. It wasn't completely tame however, as it would scurry away at any quick movements or loud noises.

In this close-up you can see how the squirrel uses its tail like a small umbrella, bending it back to protect itself from the harsh rays of the sun. When it is extremely hot, the Antelope Ground Squirrel goes down into its burrow and becomes very inactive, restricting its activity.

Caution: remember that it is a good idea not to handle small rodents in most cases as they can carry viruses and can bite you when you least expect it.

This is one of the ways that the Antelope Ground Squirrel cools down on hot summer days. It will lay flat out on the ground in the shade and cool it's body down.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest

Sometimes my Pink Jeep guests ask me what I did in Alaska and where I lived. This is a video presentation that I put together while captaining whale watching cruises in Sitka Sound. I lived in Sitka for 12 years.

One of the tours we did was called the Sea Otter And Wildlife Quest Tour. This video was made to promote the tour to people visiting Sitka on the cruise ships.

For a full view and better quality, click on the title in the upper left hand corner. (Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest) If the title is not there, click on the screen in the upper left-hand corner and the title should appear.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Red-tailed Hawk in Valley of Fire 11-29-2010

Red-tailed Hawk

Buteo Jamaicensis

On November 29th, 2010 I was in Valley of Fire and photographed the following wildlife:

Curious Facts from Desert USA

Hawks are carnivores (meat eaters) who belong to the category of birds known as raptors.

The Red-tailed Hawk is the most common member of the buzzard hawk family.

The eyesight of a hawk is 8 times as powerful as a human's.

Like all hawks, the Red-tailed Hawk's talons are its main weapons.

The Red-tailed Hawk has a hoarse and rasping 2 to 3 second scream that is most commonly heard while soaring.

85 to 90 % of the Red-tailed Hawk's diet is composed of small rodents.

The White-tailed Antelope Squirrel
(Ammospermophilus leucurus)
These photographs were taken at the White Domes picnic area in Valley of Fire State Park.

Some fun facts about the White-tailed Antelope Ground Squirrel
  • The White-tailed Antelope Ground Squirrel of the Southwest is one of the smallest ground squirrels on the planet.
  • These squirrels practice what is known as "heat dumping". When their body temperature reaches its upper limits they will get into a cool shady spot and lay down spread-eagle with their belly pressed against the cool ground. This releases the heat from its body to help cool the animal down.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Racetrack Playa - magical and mystical!

Here are some of my better Racetrack Playa photos. It is definitely one of my favorite Pink Jeep Tours. The Racetrack is a magical place. If you haven't been to the Racetrack yet, this blog will wet your appetite for sure!

Some interesting facts about the Racetrack Playa:

1. The playa is 1,650 acres.

2. The elevation of the playa is 3,708 feet.

3. It is assumed that the playa gets about 5 inches of precipitation per year.

4. 92% of the sliding rocks are dolomite. 8% of the rocks are granite.

Information came from Strolling Stones: The Mystery of Death Valley's Racetrack.

An interesting story about the Racetrack Playa:
One time I was guiding two photographers from Toronto out to the Racetrack. They wanted to get to the playa before the sun came up so that they could get pictures on the playa with the early morning light. I picked them up at Stove-pipe Wells at 2:30 am. We arrived at the Racetrack in pitch darkness. They wanted to get out to the edge of the rocks that have blown out from the nursery cliff so that they could photograph Northwest out over the playa without any rocks in the photos. I had only been there once before so when we stepped out on the playa it was all from my gut. I could just barely see the outline of the Cottonwood Mountains to the east. I pointed out in the darkness and said, "I think this is the way". About thirty minutes later, we stumbled onto the rock in the photo above in the darkness. It was the exact rock I had told them that I wanted to set up at. I have always had a good internal compass. The two photographers asked me how I got us to that exact spot without a GPS? Trying not to boast I said, " just a good sense of direction, I guess."

A few photos of the early morning visit to the Racetrack Playa.
I set my camera on the playa as the sky started to lighten.

The playa was absolutely beautiful as the dawn sky lightened.

The Toronto photographer clicking away as the sky brightened.

This is a photo that the photographers emailed me a week or so later. The man that is dying of thirst is crawling for a icy pitcher and glass of some beverage.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mojave Desert in Bloom 2009

This is a slide show of Mojave Desert Flowers. I put it together from photos that I took in 2009.

Click on the title (Mojave Desert in Bloom 2009) at the top left-hand side for best quality. If there is no title in the top left-hand side, click there and it should appear.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Red-spotted Toad

Bufo Punctatus - Red-Spotted Toad
These photos of a Red-spotted Toad were taken at the bottom of the Grand Canyon along the trail from the helicopter landing area to the boat dock. It is about a half mile below the Quartermaster Point area. The Red-spotted Toad survives the hot and dry spells in the canyon by burrowing way down into the mud.

Red-spotted Toads absorb moisture from damp rocks.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Autumn Leaves in Zions by Sierra - my daughter

Sierra is my 16 year old daughter. When we were in Zion's a couple of weeks ago, she took some photos of the changing leaves. The photos are beautiful and I wanted to display them on the blog. This is a photo of Sierra and I at the Las Vegas Pink Jeep 9th Anniversary party.

Great job, Sierra!