Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunny but Windy Sunday

Black-throated Sparrow singing like a lark
Unlike yesterday, this morning it was uncrowded on the near side of Tortugas Mountain so Dr. K, Becca and I took a nearly two-hour hike along the high foothills and then into the outback.  We saw three mountain bikers when we were headed back in, but didn't encounter them nor any other outdoor enthusiasts.  The Sunset Parking lot was quite full when we passed it on our way to the car.  All in all a very nice trek in splendid weather.
Parry's Agave I've been monitoring for several weeks

Fruit of White Ratany (Kameria bicolor)

Tortugas and the Organs

Desert Zinnia

Up close and personal with a Soaptree Yucca

Resting in an arroyo

Becca taking it easy

Forging ahead of the packrat

Dr. K and Becca

This and the next three:  Soaptree Yucca flowers

Closeup of a blossom

Up periscope

Twin stalks on one yucca

The desert west of Tortugas Mountain

Large mesquite growing on an arroyo bank

Prickly Pear flower

Prickly Pear flowers vary in color, often on the same pad

Can't wait until this show premiers

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Jam-Packed West Side

Cottontail fleeing evil Grackle at waterhole
I don't know what was happening on the west side of the mountain this morning, but when Becca and I got there at about 7:30 the Sunset Parking lot was full and cars were lined up along the entrance road.  So we headed around to the other side of the mountain where there was only one car in the Monte Vista parking lot, and that person left as soon as we started off on the trail clockwise around Tortugas.  With the exception of the two bikers we encountered we saw nobody else on that side of the mountain.  It was like being in an uninhabited country.
Mexican Bird of Paradise

Trail on the high plateau

Scaled Quail

Becca on the trail that circumnavigates the mountain

On the horizon 40 miles distant:  the Franklin Mountains near El Paso, TX

Happy hiking around the mountain


Mountain biker on a difficult stretch

High on a cliff

Scott's Oriole

Same Scott's Oriole

Looking toward the sun at the Organ Mountains

The cactus-studded flank of Tortugas Mountain and the Organ Mountains

Mormon Tea flowers

Mormon Tea flower

Rose-like flowers of Mormon Tea


A little less stark

Road to the edge of the mountain

The Organ Mountains look like colored-paper cutouts

Apache Plume

Apache Plume

Apache Plume

90-degree change in direction

Closer look at the angle

Almost back to the car

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Flight Plan

Honeybee on Ocotillo flower
Becca and I did a moderately long hike west of Tortugas Mountain this morning running into just two other hikers, though we did see two others at a great distance.  We were able to get our trek in before the temperature climbed too high; we're headed for 89F today.  Soon I'll have to switch over from our furnace to our evaporative cooler, though we haven't used the heater for the past two weeks.  It was beautiful out in our section of the northern Chihuahuan Desert, and we saw a lot of interesting sights.
Along the high foothills trail


Prickly Pear Cactus flowers opening

Not apointillis painting, but a Whitethorn Acacia bush

This and the next 8:  same hummer

This show will be opening soon

Whitethorn Acacia flowers

Pale Evening Primrose packing it in for the day

Becca knows how to take a break

There she is doing it again

Desert Crossroads
Posted the wrong Mockingbird photo above

Wooly Paperflower, Scorpionweed and Range Ratany