A peak into the beauty and wonder of the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix

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Coyote Pups

I love the curiosity of the youngsters, and the looks on their little faces. At first when I saw these critters through the brush, I thought they were Jackrabbits, with those big ears. As they climbed up to their den area, I was pleased to see that they were young Coyotes. There were 3 of them, and they looked plenty healthy. I love how comfortable they are with one another...resting his(?) head on his brother's(?) rump.

Juvenile Great Horned Owl

One morning when I was out shooting, this curious teenager flew over to check me out. He was out testing his wings, gliding across the ravine, back and forth...such a powerful flyer. He spotted me and seemed unable to resist, and gave me a visit.  I was most pleased...

Mother Ground Squirrel nursing her young

I came across these jewels while hiking during the last of the daylight. I saw them moving energetically about, but I couldn't see them clearly because it was getting dark. They would clump together, then split up, like some kind of a game. I didn't realize what was going on till after I got home and looked at the photos on my computer.


Antelope Ground Squirrel out on a limb
One day when I was out walking on a path, I looked up and sat this. Actually this image was captured about 2 minutes into the episode. This is the second Ocotillo branch that I saw this critter traverse. It was surreal, how he moved back and forth across it so effortlessly, as though he was walking along the ground. This Ocotillo branch is narrow and round, and has hundreds of sharp 'spines' all along. The great lure to get this fella out on such a limb are the blooms at the end. Must be pretty tasty.
These little critters are some of the finest athletes I have ever seen. Their quickness, balance, and bounciness is most impressive.



Adult Coyote

This is one healthy canine. I wonder what his favorite meal is, maybe Jackrabbits, Cottontails, Ground Squirrels, or maybe Doves. Maybe a little of each. Whatever he eats, it appears that there is plenty.

I was quite surprised when I saw this one. It was about 4pm, and the park had a lot of traffic in it. He walked across one of the roads, behind the Ranger Station located in the middle of the park. They normally avoid the crowded areas, but he dealt with it.

I scrambled when I saw him, grabbing my camera and getting into a position to get a few good shots. I was most pleased to have succeeded.


Painted Redstart

These beautiful birds are a rare sight in the Park. He must have been migrating. He reminded me a lot of the Phaenopepla, the way that he would jump up and flap his wings a few times, flashing the white markings in his wings. It is quite acrobatic and beautiful to watch.

White-belted Ringtail Dragonfly



Saguaro Bloom


Jumping Spider

These are some of my favorite critters. They have so much personality and spunk, and the biggest mustache I have ever seen, relatively speaking.

Be careful though. If you get too close for a look, they may just jump onto your nose. This happened to my nephew once, and he jumped quite a bit too. If you see one, put your finger down and it may just boing right onto it.

Poppies, Barrel Cacti, and a Palo Verde tree



Map of Squaw Peak Park from the main entrance off of Glendale Ave.

all images on this page copyright 2008 Joe Phillips 

All Images on this page were captured in Squaw Peak Park, with the exception of the
Coyote Pups, who were in North Mountain Park.

Email address Joe(at)