A Beautiful Mushroom

Admittedly, some editing was required to lend such a dramatic contrast. That said, this young scaly pholiota mushroom was still a dramatic and beautiful stand-out in the dreary forest. Photo taken in Bald Eagle State Forest, PA, USA.

Agile Sheep

Now estimated to only stand around 20,000 individuals, researchers place the original desert bighorn sheep population to have numbered over half a million. Their current numbers are actually a huge improvement over the 1960’s, when there were only approximately 6,000 left. The population growth of these endangered mammals can largely be attributed to federal and state protections, in addition to strong reintroduction efforts. Needless to say, just seeing these impressive creatures in the wild was an incredible experience. The novelty to watch and photograph them for several hours was extraordinary.  Tucson, Arizona.

Ambush

Pictured are two short-eared owls. The individual in flight decided to dive-bomb the perched owl in what appeared to be a territorial stunt. Photographed near Washingtonville, PA, USA.

Barred Owl

The barred owls in Okefenokee Swamp often liked to sit in trees (sometimes only a few feet above the swamp), constantly scanning the quagmire for snakes and frogs. They weren’t afraid to hunt at any hour, day or night. Photo taken at Stephen Foster State Park, GA, USA.

Basking Bullfrog

A very large American Bullfrog, pictured basking over the murky, vegetated waters of his/her swamp home. Photo taken in Harrisburg, PA, USA.

Bishop’s Hat

The flower of a bishop’s hat cactus, observed at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, AZ.

Bobcat Bath

Witnessing a wild bobcat clean herself less than 30 feet away from me was downright incredible! This observation was entirely unplanned and occurred during a short walk. Cats will be cats! Tucson, AZ.

Brown Anole

Brown anoles are an invasive species which have effectively displaced their native green kin in many sub-arboreal habitats throughout Florida. This fellow is performing a territorial display. Photo taken at Lake Louisa State Park, FL, USA.

Butterfly Wing

When we so closely examine such a thing as a butterfly’s wing, the texture looks so much different. This specimen was a well-preserved monarch butterfly, encountered on a damp, chilly morning hike. Photo taken in Loyalsock State Forest, PA, USA.

Cardinal Jumper

Sometimes photo subjects are encountered in the funniest places. While searching for fossils, this little cardinal jumping spider was unearthed from a layer of rock in which she was hiding. Photo taken near Beaver Springs, PA, USA.

Charming Chipmunks

Seemingly accustomed to free food, these adorable creatures had no reservations in approaching strangers. Thankfully, they choose such a beautiful vista as their foraging grounds! Zion NP, UT.

Chiricahua Sunset

Nearing the last 1/3 of a 10 mile hike, I came upon a sign for “Inspiration Rock.” Despite my knee’s excruciating pain and with sunset quickly advancing, I suspected that something named “inspiration” on one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever traversed had to be worth a looksy. This was the best decision I’ve made in ages. Enjoying a nearly 360 degree view littered with hoodoos and other brilliant rock structures, completely alone in the Chiricahua wilderness was worth any bonus knee pain.

Common Yellowthroat

This is one of my favorite warblers! Meet the common yellowthroat. These tiny songbirds thrive in brushy wetland areas, spending their time hopping around and picking off small insects. It was a delightful surprise to encounter him in the middle of winter. Tucson, AZ.

Coyote

Being such intelligent and adaptable creatures, I have an enormous amount of respect for coyotes. They are very quick to adjust their habits based on environmental changes, as well as human development. These canines eat a wide variety of food items, including mammals, reptiles, birds, fruit, and even vegetable matter. Not only are they prevalent throughout the desert, but coyotes thrive in the middle of large cities.  Picture Rocks, AZ.

Emerging From Cover

The perfect camouflage artist, this bobcat seemed to materialize from the brush. Tucson, AZ, USA.

Great-Horned Owlets

In an apartment complex in the middle of city, there sits a great pine tree. This tree offered the perfect urban nesting site for a a pair of great-horned owls and their family. Tucson, AZ.

Grizzly Twins

Although they will no doubt eventually part ways, these young adult grizzlies have decided to stick together for now. Grand Teton NP, Wyoming.

Grumpy Owl

An Eastern Screech Owl of the rufous (red) color phase, catching some pre-sunset illumination. Photographed near Turbotville, PA.

Gulf Fritillary

One of my absolute favorite butterfly species, the gulf fritillary. It’s enjoying the nectar of a butterfly milkweed plant. Both of these species were a very unexpected sighting for me in such atypical habitat. Madera Canyon, AZ.

Javelina Herd

I crouched down to snap some eye-level shots of this javelina herd (there were 10, total), admittedly getting a hair too close. Sitting approximately 20 feet away, I felt pretty content. Before long, however, one of the younger members of the group started getting curious, meandering steadily closer to me. I methodically backed up as he/she gained ground. The youngster was soon within an arm’s length, at which point I decided to back up a bit faster. This startled the adventurous one, drawing the attention of several others who rushed in to protect their comrade. I bolted over a nearby fence and the javelina lost interest. Catalina Foothills, AZ

Metallic Sweat Bee

These tiny, beautiful sweat bees go by many names, “Green Metallic” being one. Extremely effective pollinators, these insects collect both pollen and nectar to feed their young. Shown on mint flowers. Photo taken in Winfield, PA, USA.

Milkweed Beetles

A lovely pair of red milkweed beetles perched on a well-chewed common milkweed leaf. Photo taken in Selinsgrove, PA.

Mother and Baby

In a tender moment, mama javelina nestles her baby. Tucson, AZ.

Perfect Portrait

When staring into the eyes of a wild creature, look closely and you may see your own consciousness reflected back. Tucson, AZ.