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Horned Lark

Horned Lark—A One-of-a-Kind Bird

In this week’s column, Stan Tekiela shares with us about the Horned Lark, an interesting American bird. One particularly unique bird is the Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris). Several dozen lark species occur in the world, but only one calls America its native home. This small songbird is found throughout the U.S., in every state in the nation. It is also found from sea level to over 13,000 feet elevation. However, it has regional variations: The larks in California and the Pacific Northwest look very different from those found in the Midwest and East. Even though it’s widespread, I don’t believe many people notice this bird. It seems to be one of those species that everyone has heard about but hardly anyone sees or can identify. The Horned Lark is found in fields, open areas with short grass, and agricultural areas. It is also found along roadsides or just about in any open place without trees. It...

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Children reading books

Horned Lark—A One-of-a-Kind Bird

In this week’s column, Stan Tekiela shares with us about the Horned Lark, an interesting American bird. One particularly unique bird is the Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris). Several dozen lark species occur in the world, but only one calls America its native home. This small songbird is found throughout the U.S., in every state in the nation. It is also found from sea level to over 13,000 feet elevation. However, it has regional variations: The larks in California and the Pacific Northwest look very different from those found in the Midwest and East. Even though it’s widespread, I don’t believe many people notice this bird. It seems to be one of those species that everyone has heard about but hardly anyone sees or can identify. The Horned Lark is found in fields, open areas with short grass, and agricultural areas. It is also found along roadsides or just about in any open place without trees. It...

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Northern Leopard Frog

Frogs—Unexpected Desert Inhabitants

In all, around 4,500 species of amphibians occur around the world, but only a few dozen are found in the Southwest. All of our desert amphibians, with the exception of toads, require access to a water source to keep their skin moist. Not surprisingly, our arid Southwestern deserts are not ideal habitat for many such creatures. Nonetheless, a number of frogs and toads are found in the Southwest, and their special adaptations help them survive here. Many species are inactive or underground during the height of the desert heat, and some species can even sense when rainstorms are approaching (by feeling the vibration from thunder). After a storm in the desert, a chorus of frogs might just surprise you! Sonoran Desert toads (Colorado River toads) are olive, gray, or dark brown in color, and the underparts are lighter in color. The skin is mostly smooth and shiny. There are warts around the edge of the mouth and on the hind legs. Northern leopard frogs are...

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Bigfoot

Frogs—Unexpected Desert Inhabitants

In all, around 4,500 species of amphibians occur around the world, but only a few dozen are found in the Southwest. All of our desert amphibians, with the exception of toads, require access to a water source to keep their skin moist. Not surprisingly, our arid Southwestern deserts are not ideal habitat for many such creatures. Nonetheless, a number of frogs and toads are found in the Southwest, and their special adaptations help them survive here. Many species are inactive or underground during the height of the desert heat, and some species can even sense when rainstorms are approaching (by feeling the vibration from thunder). After a storm in the desert, a chorus of frogs might just surprise you! Sonoran Desert toads (Colorado River toads) are olive, gray, or dark brown in color, and the underparts are lighter in color. The skin is mostly smooth and shiny. There are warts around the edge of the mouth and on the hind legs. Northern leopard frogs are...

Read More
Great Crested Flycatcher

The Great Crested Flycatcher

In this week’s column, Stan Tekiela talks to us about the Great Crested Flycatcher, a very common but not commonly seen bird. There are a few birds that are very common but not commonly seen. In other words, these birds are found in good numbers all across our region, but you just don’t see them. One good example of this is the Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus). It is not a secretive bird; in fact, it’s bold enough to sound off with a very loud and distinctive call that echoes throughout the forest, announcing its presence. Starting in late spring and throughout the summer months, you can easily hear the distinctive “weeping” whistles high up in the treetops. Most birds will stop calling while nesting so they don’t attract attention to their nests, eggs, or young. But this is not true of the Great Crested Flycatcher—no, they keep on calling all summer long....

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Children reading books

The Great Crested Flycatcher

In this week’s column, Stan Tekiela talks to us about the Great Crested Flycatcher, a very common but not commonly seen bird. There are a few birds that are very common but not commonly seen. In other words, these birds are found in good numbers all across our region, but you just don’t see them. One good example of this is the Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus). It is not a secretive bird; in fact, it’s bold enough to sound off with a very loud and distinctive call that echoes throughout the forest, announcing its presence. Starting in late spring and throughout the summer months, you can easily hear the distinctive “weeping” whistles high up in the treetops. Most birds will stop calling while nesting so they don’t attract attention to their nests, eggs, or young. But this is not true of the Great Crested Flycatcher—no, they keep on calling all summer long....

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Trilobites—The Stars of U-Dig Quarry

Jon Kramer, Julie Martinez, and Vernon Morris, authors of the book Dinosaur Destinations, explore the most exciting dinosaur and fossil sites near you. Today, we take a look at the U-Dig Fossils quarry located in Utah. Found about an hour west of Delta, Utah, the U-Dig quarry is the place to go if you want to find trilobites. Trilobites, which became extinct before the Age of Dinosaurs, were oceanic arthropods related to present-day spiders and scorpions. At the U-Dig site, zillions of trilobites were buried in the deep, dark muds of an ancient sea. Here, you find direct evidence of what scientists call the “Cambrian Explosion,” a period in time when life on Earth diversified very quickly. Trilobite populations, in particular, went bananas, and they ruled the Earth for many millions of years. Trilobites—Way Older than Dinosaurs Maybe we’re going a little off the dinosaur track here, but you’re gonna love it! Compared to trilobites, dinosaurs are young pups. Trilobites rose to prominence more than 500...

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Dinosaur Destinations

Trilobites—The Stars of U-Dig Quarry

Jon Kramer, Julie Martinez, and Vernon Morris, authors of the book Dinosaur Destinations, explore the most exciting dinosaur and fossil sites near you. Today, we take a look at the U-Dig Fossils quarry located in Utah. Found about an hour west of Delta, Utah, the U-Dig quarry is the place to go if you want to find trilobites. Trilobites, which became extinct before the Age of Dinosaurs, were oceanic arthropods related to present-day spiders and scorpions. At the U-Dig site, zillions of trilobites were buried in the deep, dark muds of an ancient sea. Here, you find direct evidence of what scientists call the “Cambrian Explosion,” a period in time when life on Earth diversified very quickly. Trilobite populations, in particular, went bananas, and they ruled the Earth for many millions of years. Trilobites—Way Older than Dinosaurs Maybe we’re going a little off the dinosaur track here, but you’re gonna love it! Compared to trilobites, dinosaurs are young pups. Trilobites rose to prominence more than 500...

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Monarch Butterfly

In today’s blog post, Stan Tekiela shares with us the intriguing world of the Monarch Butterfly. There are so many amazing and marvelous aspects of nature. Take the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus), for example. This may be the most familiar and recognized butterfly in North America, yet I’m not sure that it’s understood just how special this winged creature really is. It’s right under our noses, but we don’t seem to appreciate it. Unfortunately, due to unprecedented drops in population over the past 10 years, this butterfly is now being considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a candidate for the endangered species list. Recently, I’ve been photographing all of the life stages of the Monarch Butterfly in my studio, and I must tell you that I am so impressed with this insect. Even after 30 years of studying wildlife and traveling to the far corners of the world to photograph...

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Children reading books

Monarch Butterfly

In today’s blog post, Stan Tekiela shares with us the intriguing world of the Monarch Butterfly. There are so many amazing and marvelous aspects of nature. Take the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus), for example. This may be the most familiar and recognized butterfly in North America, yet I’m not sure that it’s understood just how special this winged creature really is. It’s right under our noses, but we don’t seem to appreciate it. Unfortunately, due to unprecedented drops in population over the past 10 years, this butterfly is now being considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a candidate for the endangered species list. Recently, I’ve been photographing all of the life stages of the Monarch Butterfly in my studio, and I must tell you that I am so impressed with this insect. Even after 30 years of studying wildlife and traveling to the far corners of the world to photograph...

Read More