Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Usery Mountain Park is for the Birds. And the Squirrels.

We carry a bird feeder, pole, and songbird feed with us on our travels. We put it up to enjoy if we are going to be somewhere longer than overnight and it is permitted.

 We thought it was unusual that one of the first visitors was a love bird, but apparently there is quite a flock of the rosey-faced birds who live year-round in the park.

 Not at the feeder: a turkey vulture AKA buzzard.


 Dove (male and female), Quail, white-crowned sparrow in background, Abert's Towhee in foreground.  The quail and doves were paired up: male and female. The male quail are quite territorial; a dominant male was protecting the turf and chasing off all others.

 The male doves are larger and blueish in tone while the females are a dusty brown.

 A round-tailed squirrel joins the party. They look like small prairie dogs when they sit up.


A Gilded Flicker on the feeder, dove and white-crowned sparrows below.


House Finches on feeder, Quail, Doves, and Abert's Towhee on the ground. Note the black mask on the Towhee. 

 Cactus Wren. This wren or another spent quite a bit of time on the rear-view mirror of both the RV and the jeep looking in through the windows.


 Male Quail and a Curved-bill Thrasher.


 Thrasher digging through the seeds and throwing what he didn't like to the ground.


 Bird nest in a chain-fruit cholla.

Playfull Harris Antelope Squirrels:





There were also larger squirrels, one of whom seemed to be in heat.





 The Thrasher is back.



Desert in Bloom - Usery Mountain

And some interspersed sunset pictures. Just because.



Chain Fruit Cholla - they grow as tall as trees 



Creosote bush with closeup below



Ocotillo in all its glory


 Desert Marigold



Palo Verde tree




Jojoba: male above, female below



Buckhorn Cholla in several colors:






 California Buckwheat



Huxley stops to smell the flowers: desert senna  



Moonrise over the mountains.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Desert in Bloom - Joshua Tree

It is March and the Joshua Trees are blooming.








Bouldering Baby!





Rock flowers


 See the climbers?




 
 Tom takes picture of Jamie and Catherine exploring cave.

 Carolyn takes picture of Tom taking picture of Jamie and Catherine exploring cave.


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Keys View


It was the first time we had been up here when it was warm and calm rather than cold and windy. 




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Lunch at Hat Rock picnic area with walk on the nature trail 











 Moth nest full of wiggling worms.




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Descending to the south entrance . . .

 Blooming yucca


At the Jumping Cholla Garden


Stay on your own side of the fence!




 View down to the Pinto Basin




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Just after passing through the Cottonwood Entrance station we were surprised to come across the best display of wild flowers we have seen all season.


There is a profusion of flowers of all types in the meadow on the east side of the road and in the wash on the west.







 











 




Above were all pictures from the meadow. Below: from the wash.




Detail of blossoms:











Below: the tiniest of flowers. If you don't stop and look close you will miss them.  Each plant is followed by a closeup of its blossoms.