Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Red Rocks NCA

After a delicious lunch, Cyndi's Dad drove east of Las Vegas, toward the mountains and took us to visit Red Rocks National Conservation Area. Hikers, horseback riders, and rock climbers all enjoy the sandstone formations and mountains beyond. You can see the hiking trails running up the ridge and also along the creek bed.

The Common Ravens enjoy the landscape, too!

The wildflowers here were stunning.

The Orange Globe Mallow grow in my yard. Who would imagine such color in a dry desert environment.

The cactus flowers, like this Beavertail Cactus were equally brilliant.

Cyndi used to spend time here as a youngster, so in addition to enjoying the beauty she enjoyed recollections of fun times spent in this area and told me stories of horseback rides and camping trips in these mountains. She was grinning the whole time. Mountains can do that for one's spirit, I've found.

Here in this wash an Ash-throated Flycatcher came very close to us. By now I was getting more familiar with this sort of flycatcher. Many of the flycatchers do look alike, but where they are found is a clue to their identity. The Ash-throated are more likely to be found in dry desert areas, while the Dusky-capped are more likely to be found in wooded areas.

This White-throated Swift went by and I was very lucky this time. Usually they're gone before I can raise the camera, but this one did a half-circle around me, staring down at the camera so I had time to focus and take one image before it rocketed off. The swifts are closely related to hummingbirds ... both types of bird have very little use for legs and feet and are aerial acrobats.

Cyndi pointed out this flower, Purple Sage. I had heard the word before, but had never seen these wonderful flowers on the sagebrush in the desert. What a colorful show!

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