Thursday, June 17, 2010

Saguaro National Park

We visited Saguaro National Park on our way to Las Vegas.

The Saguaro stretch for miles. These are some very old cacti.

When they die they leave these skeletons in the hot sun.

In the mornings they were covered with large white flowers with yellow centers.

I already showed this petroglyph with a picture of a California Bighorn Sheep at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum ... but this was just one of a large assortment of these rock writings.

Here's a view from a bit further away.

And further still. I imagine the creators of this rock art must have done it in the wintertime, when the temperatures would have been more conducive. It was quite hot while I was there. Maybe above 90 degrees.

We drove on a dirt road through Saguaro National Park, which I'm not easily persuaded to do with my street car. The road was in fairly good shape. We saw some birds in the Mesquite and stopped to investigate. Though quite far off they were obviously Gnatcatchers with a black cap. Sorry they're so hard to see in this photo, but it was exciting to see the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher for the first time. They didn't seem to mind the hot and dry desert environment.

As this lizard ran across the road it curled it's striped tail forward over its back. Both Cyndi and I immediately thought it was a scorpion. It really had the mimicry perfected.

And, my favorite image from this hot, dry place ... even here hummingbirds thrive. The Costa's Hummingbird lives in the desert and displays a gaudy purple moustache-like gorget.

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