papagos

Pop! goes the round-tailed ground squirrel.

Round-tailed ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus), at Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona. These little imps have an oversized but distinguished name in Spanish: Ardillón cola redonda. For a second time I watched a mother squirrel chase away a much larger roadrunner that got too close to her burrow. I guess the behavior is not as remarkable as I first supposed. 

2

Common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), at Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona.

This mother and chick perversely refused to swim into the same frame. 

UPDATE 20 October 2015: This bird is now officially recognized as the common gallinule (Gallinula galeata) due to a taxonomic split.  Many thanks to dendroica for the correction. My old Sibley Field Guide is out of date. 

3

Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), seen on my morning walk in in Phoenix, Arizona. 

These sheep are actually denizens of the Phoenix Zoo, in Papago Park. Geologically, the park comprises a grouping of sandstone monadnocks - isolated hills of red rock that rise abruptly from the surrounding terrain. The zoo has built its bighorn enclosure on the side of the southernmost hill - visible from the park’s trails, and a pleasant surprise for the urban hiker.