Well this summer has been hot. We have had record heat and typically during the heat of summer I keep water in a bird bath out behind my house for our wild animal neighbors. Also my little pond attracts a lot of birds and animals that fences do not bother. The local wildlife agencies actually began encouraging people to put out water for our wild animal neighbors during the record heat this year. This way any animal in heat related distress has some chance if they can find water. I think that is a good idea. Humans typically cause the "ground water table" in areas they occupy to drop. This is especially true in the desert because humans use a lot of it. This means it is likely there would be far more natural water features in the area without human occupation. Therefore... we should replace this lost resource for our wild animal neighbors. Wildlife agencies seem to also be going to this line of thinking in this area. Here are some pictures of various critters visiting this year. This is a little "Elf Owl" sitting on the rim of my dog's water dish. The dish is 8 inches in diameter on the rim, so you can see he is only about 5 inches tall. This is the third summer I have had this little guy showing up on days when the temperatures approach 110. If it is cooler than that and he does not show up, but he was here every night during our record heat this year. He seems very trusting or at least not very fearful of me. Once I did not realize he was there and I walked out toward my fence in the dark. I suddenly saw him fly away and he had waited until I was only about 2 feet from the dish before he bolted. I went and sat back down, he returned within a couple of minutes. I took these two pictures of this roadrunner about 10 minutes apart during the heat of the day. This guy started showing up at about 110 degree days. This is taken on one of the days we hit 115 degrees and on all of those days he showed up here at the pond and cooled off for about 30 minutes before moving on. He was more interested in just cooling off than drinking. Coyotes are common and come by every day. This one likes to come talk to my dog... and does not seem afraid of my 100 pound shepherd. Coyotes are notorious around here for using a female in heat to lure a male dog, or a young coyote pup to lure a female dog out away from their house area so they can ambush and kill the dog as a pack. They are extremely smart. Coyotes are the only wild animal documented as one that expands and thrives in population as human population rises in an area. This is opposite most wild animals. This western Diamondback rattler greeted me this year right before monsoon season started. He is outside my fence and therefore not a problem for me or the dog. This one as you can see is about 11 years old by his rattle. Rattlesnakes are the most polite venomous snake on the planet. They give you 20 to 30 foot warning to not approach in most cases. I had this deer walk up one morning at about 5:40am. I see these guys pretty often also.... which of course also attracts mountain lions. I have not been able to get a picture of a mountain lion yet, but I have seen a mountain lion within 200 feet of my house twice in the last 3 years. Arizona is full of Hummingbirds. This young female has "claimed the tree over my pond" as her tree. She protects it ferociously. This hummingbird is at the little waterfall on my pond often either drinking or bathing but most often zipping around eating bugs flying in the air as it is in this shot. With the start of our Monsoon season comes the "Monsoon Beetle" which can be huge. These guys spend most of their lives as a grub underground but during monsoon rains they morph into this beetle for 30 days. They do not eat during this 30 day period as a beetle, they are intent on finding a mate. They have large mandibles which are used if needed to fight for a mate. This one is as large as a full size Bic lighter.... big... I quickly rescued this guy from my porch before he got into areas I know are treated to kill bugs. They are pretty docile but do look ferocious. there will be more pictures in the future.