Monday, October 24, 2016

Butterfly Research

Should I run?
I love seeing butterflies out in the desert, but I don't specifically go looking for them.  If I get a good image of one, though, I'll do my best to identify it, either by examining one of my books on insects of the Desert Southwest or consulting various websites.  I've seen the butterfly pictured below several times, but I never imagined it was called a Common Buckeye.  What's so common about it, I wonder.
Early start

Down to the sunshine

High desert

Immersed in the grassland

Odd place to take a nap

Why is it an odd place?

Down the arroyo

Shadow and light

Which weed?

More high desert

Absolutely no idea what this is

Don't recognize this

Just went of Tortugas

Stingleaf flowers

Common Buckeye on a Stingleaf flower

Can't get enough of the Stingleaf (Cevallia sinuata)

Same Stingleaf flowers in pastel

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pleasant Sunday Trek

Rugged eastern face of Tortugas Mountain
Dr. K, Becca and I ran into three other outdoor enthusiasts behind Tortugas Mountain this morning, a hiker and two runners.  One of the runners was a guy named Pete who's been running around the mountain for three years (not perpetually).  We did a long hike behind and far west of the mountain, which is the normal one we usually do when we trek this side of Tortugas.  The weather was pleasant, though "warming up nicely" the longer we were out there.  We're supposed to hit 82F today, which is slightly above average.
Trail behind the mountain

Trail that wraps around Tortugas Mountain

Looking back at the way we just came

Break time on a gravelly embankment

Near the far point of today's trek

Want to come to my pad?

Dr. K and Becca heading back

Don't mess with Stingleaf

Way way ahead of the pack

Saturday, October 22, 2016

No Roaming Charges

Fall comes to the Chihuahuan Desert
Becca and I did a long, leisurely roam in the desert west of Tortugas Mountain this morning, exploring several different arroyos.  It was relatively cool starting off, but the temperature rose fairly quickly.  We're headed for a high of 86F today after a high of only 74F yesterday.  The rest of the week looks to be in the mid-80s--not too bad for late October.  Dr. K was in Tempe, Arizona yesterday where the temperature was 97F; way too hot for this time of year.
Straight shot west

What is Becca staring at so intently?

Oh--Becca spotted a mountain biker

House Finch

Heading for a low-lying arroyo

The view eastward

The Chihuahuan Desert is a high desert, between 3,500 and 5,000 feet

Exploring a dry wash (aka "arroyo")

Plant island in an arroyo

How to relax at the beach

Headed up that-a-way

We'll be exiting the arroyo soon

Soaptree Yucca

We got sidetracked up a narrow, grassy arroyo

Huge, old Soaptree Yucca

How the Chihuahuan Desert looks in autumn

Various stage of Ocotillo leafiness

Too much air traffic

Friday, October 21, 2016

Cool Friday

Heading west towards the outback
Becca and I got an early start on a cool Friday morning:  52 degrees with a slight breeze.  I wore a windbreaker for a good portion of the hike.  When I finally took it off, just making idle chatter, I said to Becca, "What do you think of the new shirt your mother bought me?"  Then it struck me:  an image of Becca's real mother in a clothing store picking out items I might like.  I LOLed.  Then it occurred to me that I'm probably crazy, first for conversing with my dog, and, second, for laughing aloud at the insane image that popped into my head.  I guess that's what spending hours out in the desert will do for you. :)
We've discovered several freshly-dug dens recently (this looks like fox)



Darn those sun blemishes

About to enter a familiar arroyo

Pointy perch

Chihuahuan Desert arroyo (aka "dry wash")

Climbing creosote-stubbled hills

Far west of the mountains

You can tell we had wind last night

A mesquite slightly taller than me

Over hill and dale

Doing what we both love to do:  bushwhacking

Failed experiment

Sitting down on the job

I am an island

Will the critter search prove fruitful?

Roadrunner grooming on an Ocotillo branch

Fluffing itself

Looking for prey

I can almost taste it

Say's Phoebe the Roadrunner tried to catch

Back at the mountain