Maricopa County Parks Eco-Blitz's Journal

September 01, 2022

September!! Turkey Vulture Challenge

Hello Fall!... well maybe not yet... here in Phoenix! But soon.

August Monthly Challenge Results- We had six docemented Striped-tailed Scorpions in three locations in August, but total of 12 documented for the year! Since they are elusive and come out at night, it is hard to get a pic in the parks! Great work team!

September Challenge is the Turkey Vulture! The flyer is located here
https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/assets/1/6/September_-_Turkey_Vulture.pdf

They have a black body and distinctive red head, but when in flight you would need your binoculars to view the red head.

Come join us for the Bats and Buzzards fest in Wickenburg sign up here: https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/events/bats-and-buzzards-on-the-bridge-wickenburg/0916221/
You wil learn all about these Turkey Buzzards and some great info about bats too!

The weather is cooling down, at least in the mornings and evenings..so it is a great time to get out to the parks and do some Ecoblitzing!

Get out there and have some fun while exploring.
Sincerely
Juanita
Natural Resource Specialist

Posted on September 01, 2022 17:58 by juanitajn5 juanitajn5 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 18, 2022

July Results and August Challenge

Hi Eco blitzers! How any of you made it out into the filed to look for our elusive banded gecko last month?

It has been a busy summer, sorry for the late notice we have a total of 6 banded geckos observed this year but only one from the past month. They are elusive and usually out at night. Good work Nick (cowturtle)

I apologize for the late notice for August Monthly Challenge Striped-tailed Scorpion. But you still have plenty of time this month to observe these species. For more information the Stiped tailed scorpion flyer is here: POWO</a
https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/assets/1/6/August-Scorpion.pdf

We already have four observations this month of the Striped-tailed scorpion. Join a ranger at one of the parks for an interpretive program y visiting our webpage here
https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/events/

There is a night time creatures program tonight at White Tank Regional park too.

Happy Blitzing!
Juanita
Natural Resource Specialist-Maricopa County Parks

Posted on August 18, 2022 17:57 by juanitajn5 juanitajn5 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 05, 2022

July Challenge-Western Banded Gecko

Join us in seeking out these amazing nocturnal geckos, they feed on insects including baby scorpions! So great to have around the house.

Click Here for the Flyer POWO</a

I did not get a chance to post the June Challenge as i was on vacation for the first period of the month.. my apologies. Hopefully you all were able to view the flyer on our social media pages if not it was the round-tailed ground squirrel and here is the flyer from last month Click Here for the Flyer POWO</a

Posted on July 05, 2022 14:24 by juanitajn5 juanitajn5 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 07, 2022

May Challenge: Common Chuckwalla

Been a busy time..sorry this is late.
May Challenge Common Chuckwalla

Click Here for the Flyer POWO</a

Posted on May 07, 2022 16:57 by juanitajn5 juanitajn5 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 05, 2022

April 2022 Challenge Palo Verde Trees

Sorry for the late notice. It has been a very very busy spring.
This months challenge is Palo Verdes Trees... Do you know how to tell the difference between the foothills and blue Palo Verde? Well your in luck, we are going to provide you with the skinny :-)

Palo Verde-
• Perennial tree grows up to 25-30 ft tall.
• Keystone species-meaning many wildlife species rely on them for shelter, food and shade. Primary nurse tree for Saguaro and other cacti.
• Photosynthesize through the bark. This is a drought adaptation as the leaves drop during long dry periods.
• Arizona State Tree

Characteristic differences:
Foothills Palo Verde
(Parkinsonia microphylla) :

  1. Teeny tiny leaves
  2. Seed Pods are constricted between the seeds
  3. The Flower has a white banner

Blue Palo Verde
(Parkinsonia florida)

  1. Leaves are in clusters
  2. Seed pods are not constricted
  3. Flower banner petal is yellow (can have small red/orange spots)
  4. Bark is smoother

Click Here for the Flyer POWO</a

They are in glorious bloom this month!
How many can you spot?
Enjoy April at the parks
Natural Resource Specialist-Juanita

Posted on April 05, 2022 13:59 by juanitajn5 juanitajn5 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 01, 2022

March Challenge

Can you believe it's already March? Happy Fat Tuesday!

Results from February Challenge we had 6 observations by four team members! Thanks, Team.

March Challenge is the Sara Orange-tip Butterfly

Butterflies....butterflies, butterflies...who doesn't love butterflies?
Let's meet the Sara Orange-tip Butterfly (Anthocharis sara)

  1. They are the first to appear in Arizona during later winter/early Spring
  2. They feed on Crucifers, rock cress, and mustards.
  3. You can find groups of males performing a behavior known as "hill-topping". This means that they are patiently waiting for females at the top of the hill, which provides the best view to find a mate.

Click Here for the Flyer POWO</a

I spotted 2 Desert Pima Orange-tip butterflies a few days ago on fiddlenecks. They are similar to the Sara orange tip with orange tips but are yellow. It was very exciting :-)

Let us get out there and find these beauties.

Thanks for your helping create real-time data sets with the biodiversity of the parks!

Sincerely
Natural Resource Specialist
Juanita

Posted on March 01, 2022 21:12 by juanitajn5 juanitajn5 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 08, 2022

February Challenge!

Results for January Challenge: 4 observations at three Parks (Dec-Jan)

February Challenge ! Lets see if we cant document some Black Throated Sparrows this month!

Did you know that Arizona’s diversity of birds remains high during the
winter months? This month, we’ll learn all about the Black-throated
Sparrow. While this breed tends to stay in Arizona year-round, they
can migrate short distances. Here are three more things you may not
know about the Black-throated Sparrow:

  1. They are primary ground foragers and tend to forage near or
    under shrubs and cacti

  2. They mainly eat insects during the breeding season, which is
    roughly early March to early October.

  3. The females will make cup-shaped nests approximately one foot
    above the ground on the north or east side of cacti and shrubs

Click here for Flyer POWO</a

Perfect Weather..... go out and enjoy!
Juanita
(Natural Resource Specialist)

Posted on February 08, 2022 15:48 by juanitajn5 juanitajn5 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 06, 2022

Happy New Year! January Challenge

The January Monthly Eco-Blitz Challenge may be late but not forgotten :-)
We are excited to announce this months challenge Christmas Cholla very attractive and festive!
Three things you did not know about Christmas Cholla.

  1. They have white flowers, but most of us recognize them by their bright red fruit and contrasting green stems (similar in color to evergreens).
  2. They are the thinnest cholla, with stems a quarter inch across.
  3. They grow to about 4 feet tall.
    Click here for Flyer POWO

Sadly we did not have any posts for the December Challenge of White Crowned Sparrow? Maybe that is a species that needs to be put on the spring months March-May

Lets see how many Christmas Cholla we can spot out there.. Let get out there and enjoy this weather!!
Maricopa County Parks-Natural Resource Specialist

Posted on January 06, 2022 21:22 by juanitajn5 juanitajn5 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 01, 2021

December Challenge

Well the weather in the Phoenix metro area is perfect for getting out to the parks!
Feel free to check out the parks webpage to learn about upcoming programs so you can learn first hand about these birds. Click here MaricopaCountyParks

This month the challenge is locating as many White-crowned sparrows as you can. They like to hang out it in groups among low shrubs, or eating seed on the ground. Here is the flyer

POWO

White-crowned Sparrows are very common birds that can be
spotted in the Sonoran Desert during the winter months - usually
October through March.
They can easily be identified by their distinctive black and white
striped head, gray face and underparts, tan back, and pink bill.
You may find them fluttering about the parks feeding on seeds
from grasses, forbs, hackberries, and wolfberries.

Happy Holidays!!
Maricopa County Parks-Natural Resource Specialist

Posted on December 01, 2021 19:19 by juanitajn5 juanitajn5 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 01, 2021

November Monthly Challenge

November's focal species: Monarch versus Queen butterflies:

Identification Tips: When wings are folded, Queens appear solid orange compared to the varying shades of a Monarch. The Queens’ solid dark orange is interrupted with occasional white dots–nothing like the striking stained-glass veins and color pattern of the Monarch. With their wings open, the difference is even more obvious. The Queen is solid, the Monarch has varied coloration.

Did you know that butterfly populations have been decreasing over the years? In fact, in 2020 the western Monarch butterfly numbers dropped dramatically, the California overwintering preliminary counts reported a low 1800 monarchs with 95% of the results completed, this is was way down from the 30,000 that had been counted for the two consecutive years prior (2019 and 2018).

Link to the challenge flyer https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/assets/1/6/November_-_Monarch_and_Queen_Butterflies1.pdf

Posted on November 01, 2021 21:08 by juanitajn5 juanitajn5 | 0 comments | Leave a comment