Field Notes

Notes from the Field: Spiders Abound at Trail Cameras near the Huachuca Mountains

April 30, 2021

Checking the cameras in the Border Wildlife Study is always full of wildlife sightings and interesting plants. But when I checked a block of cameras in the Huachuca Mountain foothills last Monday, there was a particular emphasis on spiders! Spider #1: While hiking to one of the cameras in the native grasslands of the valley, I came across a…
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Friday Creature Feature: Black Bear

April 22, 2021

What marks spring in the Sky Islands better than the sight of bear coming out of hibernation*? In honor of this species—a harbinger of warmer months and blooming flora—we’re dedicating today’s Friday Creature Feature to black bear.  Name:  Common — Black bear  Scientific — Ursus americanus  Spanish — Oso negro   Description:  Almost everyone knows what a black bear looks like. Just…
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Las Primeras Percepciones en FotoFauna de Sky Island sobre la Fauna Silvestre de la Región

April 15, 2021

Nuestra primera visión sobre la distribución de la diversidad de mamíferos y aves en la región de la Isla de Cielo ¡Está aquí! Desde que inició el proyecto FotoFauna de Sky Island, en octubre del 2020, voluntarios y organizaciones de México y Estados Unidos han contribuido mensualmente con cerca de 450 listas de esta creciente…
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Two More Weeks to Join the 2021 Border BioBlitz!

April 13, 2021

The borderlands of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora contain a wealth of biodiversity.  White-nosed coati, Arizona gray squirrel, raven, and mule deer live and mate alongside black bear, mountain lion, North American porcupine, and rattlesnake to create one of the most alive and diverse regions globally. The birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects that live here take shelter…
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A Month of Good News for Large Cats in the Sky Islands

April 7, 2021

We at Sky Island Alliance love this region’s large cats. After all, how many places in the world can you find bobcat, mountain lion, ocelot, and jaguar all living together in mountain and grassland habitat?  The answer, of course, is not very many. We are lucky to live in such an incredibly biodiverse region.   Wild cats have…
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The First Sky Island FotoFauna Insights into Wildlife of the Region

April 1, 2021

It’s here—our first look at how the diversity of mammals and birds is distributed across the Sky Island region! Since launching Sky Island FotoFauna in October 2020, volunteers and organizations in Mexico and the U.S. have contributed nearly 450 monthly checklists from this growing network of cameras. Each checklist adds another piece to the regional wildlife puzzle—helping us see more clearly where wildlife species are present and absent each month across the landscape. We want to understand the distribution of a…
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Protecting Dark Skies Along the U.S.-Mexico Border

March 26, 2021

Dark skies are a remarkable feature of the Sky Island region. When true darkness blankets the landscape at night, it provides spectacular views of the stars and high–quality nocturnal habitat for numerous migrating and resident wildlife species.  Lighting along the U.S.-Mexico border as part of any border infrastructure system stands to disrupt the health and ecology of a tremendous number of species. In our Border Wildlife Study, we’ve found that…
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Community’s Choice: The Best 18 FotoFauna Photos of Winter 2021

Our December FotoFauna photo contest was so much fun—with everyone cracking wildlife jokes and enjoying exciting regional photos—that we decided to do it all over again! This time, the Sky Island FotoFauna network helped us whittle over 1,000 submissions down to 54 finalists across 18 categories: some new and some fan favorites returning from last…
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Actualización del Programa: El Estudio de la Fauna de la Frontera llega a su meta Primero Año

March 18, 2021

La semana pasada era monumental para nosotros. Exactamente hace un año, nuestra red de cameras comenzó a documentar la comunidad de fauna silvestre a lo largo de la frontera de México y Estados Unidos. En loa días que instalamos las cámaras y las dejamos para operar todos los días y las noches, en verdad no sabíamos…
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A Sampling of Flora in the San Rafael Valley: Shrubs

March 12, 2021

In A Sampling of Flora in the San Rafael Valley: Grasses, I mentioned how I’d recently picked up a plant identification book after years of slowly falling in love with the different flora that grows in this region. Part of this decision was thanks to first time I’d gone out into the field with our Springs Specialist, Sami Hammer,…
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