Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tortoise Eating Tuna

Another hot, humid, and beautiful day at Tohono Chul Park.
This is a desert tortoise:
Desert Tortoise 3-18-2013 8-39-40 AM 2580x2148
These are the fruit of prickly pears. Around here they are called TUNAS. Most birds and animals love them:
This video shows a desert tortoise eating a tuna.  YUM!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Camouflage in the Desert

Three weeks ago, my roving buddy and I were walking the Saguaro Discovery Trail at Tohono Chul Park looking for a nighthawk nest we had heard about. Suddenly,  a lesser nighthawk erupted from the ground and flew several feet away.

Where it had been sitting—under a cholla on the bare desert floor—was an olive green speckled egg.nighthawk egg cu 6-23-2014 9-06-43 AM 705x760

We did some research and learned that nighthawks usually lay two eggs. The chicks are semi-precocial, meaning that they can move about after they are hatched, but depend on parental care till they fledge, 17 days later. How can almost-helpless baby birds survive 17 days on the hot desert floor? The answer is that they are invisible!

nighthawk chicksB

nighthawk chicksA

These two amazing photos were taken by photographer John Durham and are used with his permission. He took them in the Altar Valley, somewhat southwest of Tucson.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

‘Twas the Day after Bloom Night

A cloudy, hot, humid day with much beauty remaining from the previous night’s night-blooming cereus celebration. Most of these photos were taken in the new front part of Tohono Chul Park.

postbloom pathway 7-12-2014 8-10-39 AM 3264x2448                                                             claret cup 7-12-2014 8-43-41 AM 2448x3264 

pb vista 7-12-2014 8-12-38 AM 3264x2448 pb wallflowers 7-12-2014 8-11-22 AM 3264x2448                                               mammalaria crown 7-12-2014 8-58-20 AM 3264x2448pb wallflowers cu 7-12-2014 8-11-28 AM 3264x2448