Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Roving in Tohono Chul Park

One of the regular things I do as a docent is “rove” on Monday mornings. In the cool weather, I rove from 8 to 11, and once it gets hot, from 8 to 10. My job is to interact with visitors and be aware of what is going on in the Park. It is a wonderful “job” to have, a way to be out in the beauty of nature and spend time with like-minded people. I thought I’d give you a look at yesterday’s rove, which was fairly typical for this time of year.

I started by walking from the front of the Park to the North Trail, a 1/2 mile trail that meanders through natural Sonoran desert. Along the way I checked out the birds, including a family of Gambel’s quail: parents plus four fairly young chicks. They would not pose for a photograph.

It was already in the eighties as I approached the large sentinel saguaro about halfway down the path:

saguaro 6-4-2012 8-22-40 AM 910x2005 This saguaro has a windowwindow 6-4-2012 8-22-18 AM 3616x2712 through which you can see its ribs and vascular tissue.

While on the trail I also took a look at the night-blooming cereus buds. This picture shows two very ripe buds that will probably open before Bloom Night,  when all the cereus in the Park bloom together (see my post on this amazing event from a couple of years ago).                                                          Cereus 6-4-2012 8-20-20 AM 1198x842    Night-blooming cereus with buds

Leaving the trail, I walked through the behind-the-scenes propagation area, where volunteers prepare plants for sale in our greenhouse, then on to the Desert Living Courtyard, where we have a pond containing Desert Pupfish, an endangered species that we breed in cooperation with AZ Game and Fish. These little fish can reputedly live in water up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit! The males turn fluorescent blue when they are ready to breed.

                                                                      pupfish 6-4-2012 8-35-19 AM 2369x2073Desert pupfish

I stopped by the hawk nest, but was unable to photograph the baby hawks. I also stopped at the Bell’s vireo nest, but the female was not there and hadn’t been seen all morning. I hope she is all right.

I continued to wander around the Park, talking to my fellow docents and our dozen or so visitors, and enjoying the beautiful, beautiful desert and its critters. The next thing I knew it was ten o’clock, ninety degrees, and time to go home.


  1. Sounds like your entering the 'hunker down' season. Beautiful fish though! Any details on the breeding program appreciated!

  2. Yes; we hunker down here in the summer, while you back easterners hunker in the winter. It all evens out. I don't have any details on the breeding program, but will make it a point to find out. We're also protecting a breeding population of the Sonoran Topminnow, but it doesn't get all fluorescent.

  3. Anonymous11:24 AM

    What lovely posts and beautiful photos. I feel like I am enjoying a quiet and very peaceful walk with you. Thank you for the morning meditation. Nancy

  4. Anonymous11:26 AM

    Hi Kathryn, What a lovely post. Such gentle, peaceful beauty in your park. I felt like I was strolling beside you. Thank you for the morning meditation.

  5. Thanks for your comment, Nancy. It means a lot, coming from you!

  6. Anonymous12:36 PM

    Thank you, what a nice way for us eastern hunkerers to enjoy the desert. Sue

  7. Thanks for commenting, Sue! I miss you on the rove! :-(