Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sonoran Desert-November 12

Saguaro National Park has within its boundaries two entirely different kinds of landscapes. Nowhere else in the United States does the ponderosa pine and the saguaro exist within close proximity to each other. The park not only has the Sonoran Desert,but also the Rimcon Mountains. On our drive in the park yesterday we not only saw desert plains but also foothills and canyons. The desert is quite different than the Chihuahan Desert in which we hiked a couple of days ago. The Sonoran has fifty different species of cacti. We were grateful that the Visitor's center had a small cactus garden in which were represented many of the trees and cactus we would find in the park,and they were identified with little signs. One picture I have posted here is of the staghorn cholla-quite colorful this time of the year with its red fruit. The other picture is representative of the different cacti which we mainly saw. The barrel cactus is in the foreground,and the prickly pear is near it. For some strange reason we learned that the barrel cactus always points south. One other item before I close off here. I espied a dark blue tufted headed bird while in the park. It was a phainopeplas(I had to do some research to figure out that name). It is also called a silky flycatcher. We also saw a lot of the cactus wren-can't miss him what with his lively chatter! What intrigued me was watching the birds alight down on the cactus,which probably is nothing in comparison to the fact that they make their nests in the arms of the saguaro. What better protection is there for the young from birds of prey!

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