Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rock n' Roll Wrennaissance

I have a rocky relationship with this species of Wren. When times are good, we'll often find each other hiking around Camelback or Squaw Peak Mountain, looking for bugs and enjoying the early morning weather. But then for no reason at all he'll disappear for months on end! No phone calls, no notes, not even a goodbye... 

Even if this inconsistency keeps us on the rocks, it's always a delight when the Rock Wren does show up. They prefer the rocky, arid, low mountain terrain that can be easily found throughout Arizona, but as their charming calls echo among the canyon walls, it can be tricky to pick out these camouflaged flirts.

With its soft browns, gentle eyes, and faint white spotting on the back, the Rock Wren is the paragon of demureness, the shy and understated quality found in many ground-dwelling birds. At least, that's a human perspective. To the Pimpla Sanguinipes, the Rock Wren is another beast entirely. This little digger wasp found himself between a rock and a hard place.

It's the Hard Rock Cafe...
This particular Wren was hanging out in the western, shady side of the Papago Park bluffs. It was a fun challenge to pick him out of the granite rocks that are strewn all over the trails. If you click on the bottom photo and zoom in, you can see the wasp's head on the Wren's granite countertop. I believe he left it there as a warning to his enemies. Rock on.