What is Nature's Archive?

Nature's Archive is a natural history and backyard biology site focused on the animals, insects, and plants of the desert southwest and California.  The initial incarnation of the site was to simply keep family and friends abreast of the interesting encounters we have here in the American West.  Over time, it has been refined to generally profile individual encounters with slightly more depth.

A secondary goal of the site is to highlight quality photography, acting as a companion to, my photography site. has full sized photos of this and additional natural settings, available for download or sale in print forms. It also serves as a location for 'documentation' photography (i.e. photos that perhaps are not of great quality, but enough to document a siting or encounter).

Who is Nature's Archive?

My name is Michael Hawk, and I am a photographer, network engineer, and most importantly a nature lover living in California. I am continually amazed at the natural diversity of the west, and love to share what I learn on Nature's Archive.

My love of nature photography really took off when I moved to Arizona in 2006. Prior to moving there, I had the typical stereotypical view of Arizona - lots of desert and a few mountains in the North.  However, a growing interest in birding resulted in me quickly discovering the Sky Islands in Southeast Arizona, which provide some of the most habitat diversity in the United States (for example, you can transition from low desert to desert grassland to oak forest to pine forest, all with riparian variations and within a 25 mile span).  Further, Arizona offers the only rivers that originate in Mexico and flow into the United States, creating corridors for plants and animals to migrate northward.  All of this results in diversity of species of plants, animals, birds, butterflies, and other insects that are unmatched.

Now in California, I get to enjoy the same diversity - but now with oceans too!

My primary goal with this website is to continue to learn about the natural world, and share interesting items as I go. I hope you enjoy it!