Thursday, June 17, 2010

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

We visited the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It is a fun and fascinating mix of botanical garden, nature preserve, aviary and zoo. Different plant environments can be experienced in close proximity to each other. One has to wonder, as an iguana wanders by, if it was brought here to be seen, or lived here first and just appreciates the diverse plant life. This one walked past me as I was photographing a bird high in a tree.

Of course, the birds are free and uncaged, outside the aviary. This Hooded Oriole simply lives here. They're often found in urban environments in tall trees.

Many of the plants here were in bloom. This one might be an Agave.

Here's a white Yucca flower.

This next one is a Golden Barrel Cactus (if I recall correctly ... they're all labeled in the gardens ... I highly recommend a visit).

A few larger animals are in enclosures, but they have a very natural feel. The California Bighorn Sheep have steep walls that they can climb ... to a point.

Here's a petroglyph (more about that in the next blog post) from nearby Saguaro National Park.

The cat Cyndi saw in Madera Canyon from our cabin had white spots on the back of its ears, and this Bobcat has white spots on the back of its ears, too!

The River Otter has two viewing platforms ... one from above, and one through a glass wall to view it underwater from a short underground tunnel.

This shady rest area in the butterfly garden was my favorite spot to sit, as it became hotter and hotter as the day went by.

Another cool place, in more ways than one, was the aviary. This was quite large, and had some neat birds I had not seen before. I don't add captive birds to my Life List, but I always enjoy seeing birds (and getting out of the hot sun).

Normally I'm not big on non-native birds, either ... but in an aviary, why not a parrot? There are escaped or released introduced parrots living wild in many cities, like Miami, San Francisco, and Tucson.

We were not fortunate enough to see the Black-bellied Whistling Duck in the wild, but we did get to see them here.

This one is more often seen than heard, Bobwhite. And, it's the specific race of Bobwhite found in southern Arizona.

There was a separate aviary filled with hummingbirds. This was the first time I'd seen a hummingbird nest.

None of my wild Broad-tailed Hummingbird photos show of the color of the gorget the way this one shows. It's all about how the light strikes the bird, and this one would frequently rest on a branch near a bench, so I just sat and waited for it to visit.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

I believe the yellow-flowering agave-looking plant is called sotol, but I don't know the species. Those saguaro skeletons were amazing!