|Cactus Wren feeding at Saguaro Cactus blossoms|
Yesterday started with me eyeballing a Harris Hawk that soared past my rental car as I headed for the north district of Saguaro National Park. Wish the bird had been heading for the park so we could rendezvous there. Despite it being largely Harris Hawk free, I enjoyed most of my morning, driving the 8 mile loop, taking short - and I mean short - hikes along the route. Of course, the only reason I ever set foot in deserts, now I'm not a field biologist anymore, is to take pix. In other words, I don't do it for exercise or for love of sandy gravel, I do it solely for the photo ops.
|Managed a through-the-cactus shot of this little Harris' Ground Squirrel|
|A trotting and looking annoyed, a Gambel's Quail hen|
|Gila Woodpecker engaging in deep research|
As I did last year, I checked every Saguaro cactus along that long, l-o-n-g route hoping to see an Elf Owl peeking out of a cactus hole: no such luck this year.
Post-Saguaro NP I decided to check out nearby Colossal Cave Mountain Park. The park was HUMONGOUS with two distinct areas to it. The first was, no surprises here, is the cave.
|Cave and its Entryway on the left, HUMONGOUS rest of park, on right|
The butterfly garden was in the La Posta Quemada Ranch portion of the park. The ranch has a riding stable (no I also won't ride when the temperatures mean both the horse and I are sweaty at the stand-still). There on the Ranch stood the HQ, which in the 1960s was a ranch house with a family. Here's a view inside the HQ.
|Today a park HQ, once-upon-|
a-time ranchero living room
V. lovely building, and it must have been fun to live in, that is, not to beat a dead & ailing horse, if it had air conditioning. Anyway, had a modest sandwich centered lunch bought at the HQ, then headed off to the butterfly garden next door.
|Butterfly Garden and teeny bit of desert tortoise habitat|
|I present her majesty, the Queen Butterfly|
The butterfly garden was a nice end to a short week in southeast Arizona. How much do you want to bet, the minute I leave for home, the Plain-capped Star Throats will invade once again?
UPDATE: Yes. In mid July, a Plain-capped Starthroat flew into Madera Canyon for a few day's visit. Hum... just how did that bird know I'd left?