Notes from the Field: Wildlife in San Antonio Canyon

Recently, Sky Island Alliance staff had the opportunity to take a group of reporters down to our Border Wildlife Study area so that they could see what’s at stake with the threat of more border infrastructure looming over the region. While we were visiting, we got the chance to visit one of our wildlife cameras that predates the study, as well as check for tracks and sign of wildlife within one of our old wildlife tracking transects: San Antonio Canyon.  

We stopped on the way down to San Antonio Canyon to check the dirt roads for tracks and were lucky to come across quite a number of species tracks, including turkey, deer, javelina, bobcat, and black bear. The bear tracks in particular seemed very fresh, likely having been put down by an animal walking the road earlier that morning.  

Front (at bottom) and rear (just above and to the right of the top of the ruler) tracks of a black bear. 


Once we reached the canyon wash, we were excited to find many more tracks in the sand and dried mud. We discovered more bobcat tracks and even found an old mountain lion track—which we documented on iNaturalist for Sky Island Alliance’s new 1,000 Cats Project.

It’s always fun to find evidence of these beautiful felines in the wild, but the most surprising tracks of the day belonged to a turkey vulture that had landed in the dust of the dirt road paralleling the wash and walked along its length for a bit.  

A couple turkey of vulture tracks left in the road at San Antonio Canyon.


We eventually worked our way up the canyon to a wildlife camera that we’d placed there years ago. For a time it had been maintained as part of other Sky Island Alliance projects, but it hadn’t been visited in nearly a year.

Fortunately, we found the camera none the worse for wear, and as it turns out, it had taken some great photos of wildlife using this wash to move through the mountains! Check out the photos of bobcat, gray fox, and hog-nosed skunk below.

A bobcat heads north as it travels the wash in San Antonio Canyon.


A gray fox and a hog-nosed skunk both find safe passage in the relatively undisturbed linkage of the San Antonio wash. 


A gray fox and a hog-nosed skunk both find safe passage in the relatively undisturbed linkage of the San Antonio wash.