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Thursday, April 30, 2009

We Heart the Chihuahuan Desert

Warming up today, but Becca and I got out while it was still cool. We enjoyed the desert scenery as usual.

Yucca growing on the northeast flank of Tortugas Mountain.

Sotol in the foreground, yuccas in the rear.

The desert floor between here and Tortugas, Organ Mountains in background.

Blooming yucca and Ocotillo, Tortugas in the rear.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Short Westside Jaunt

A big Barrel Cactus on the Sunset Side of Tortugas.

A rocky arroyo on the western flank of Tortugas.

Our cabin in the wilderness.

A sandy arroyo in the foothills.

A Turkey Vulture riding a thermal overhead.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Quick Westside Hike

Had to get out early this morning for a forced hike. Becca didn't mind. The views were outstanding.

Those are the Franklin Mountains on the far horizon.

A lone hiker slogging up one of the steep trails to the top of Tortugas Mountain.

A rocky arroyo on the west side of the mountain.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Early Hike

Research Associate Becca and I got out on the trail early this morning, taking in the sights on the east side of Tortugas. Here's something that made us cringe: a large spider's lair.

The view across Tortugas's southern flank, looking toward Bishop's Cap and the Franklin Mountains near El Paso.

Here they are: Packrat and Becca.

Chihuahuan Desert vista.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another Sunday Outing

Research Associate Becca, Dr. K and I were taking in the scenery on the east side of Tortugas Mountain this morning. See for yourselves.

A healthy Sotol growing in a rocky ravine.

Strawberry Pitaya Cactus flower about to bloom.

Interesting cloud formation over the Organ Mountains.

Strawberry Pitaya flowers in full bloom. Notice the yellow pollen on the petals.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tortugas's West Side

It's been a while since I've photographed this mesquite and Strawberry Pitaya Cactus living in a controversial symbiotic relationship.

Ocotillo forest, Franklin Mountains in the background.

The road around Tortugas Mountain, looking toward the southeast.

Bees love Ocotillo blossoms, too.

Brilliant mesquite green.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back to the Wilderness

Research Associate Becca was oh so happy this morning when we hopped into the COCMobile for a research trip out to Tortugas Mountain. Just how rugged is this section of the Chihuahuan Desert? See for yourself.

Rocky desert vista.

A vehicle headed up the road to the observatory at the top of the mountain.

Yucca in bloom beside an Ocotillo, the Organ Mountains in the background.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Root Canal #1

No hike around Tortugas Mountain for the Beckster and I this morning. I was in El Paso having the pulpy matter removed from one of my teeth. So here are two photos that somehow remind me of the drilling process. A Hummingbird drilling an Ocotillo blossom.

The same avian creature getting deeper into the pulpy matter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Toothache Hike

It's hard to appreciate the beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert when one of my teeth is throbbing in pain. Nevertheless--after an emergency trip to the dentist this morning--the dogged Research Associate Becca and I went for a hike on the Sunset Side of Tortugas. Here's an arroyo whose water course has cut a deep bank.

First there was a bee, then there was no bee. It never came back.

The undulating dirt road on the west side of the mountain.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Few Shots

A hungry Black-Tailed Jackrabbit loves the Variegated Agave.

The rocky mountain foothills.

On the east side of Tortugas, Becca and I photographed this cave in the mountain foothills.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monte Vista Monday

Becca and I were out on the east side of Tortugas enjoying the warm weather this morning. We spotted this adolescent bird at the top of a boulder. At first I thought it was a Rock Wren, but it looks more like a young Western Kingbird.

The boulder (right) where the bird perches.

Typical Chihuahuan Desert scene.

Ocotillo lollipops.

Small plane over the Organ Mountains.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Services

Research Associate Becca, Dr. K, and I were out around the mountain this morning. Beautiful day. Here's a look at the west side of Tortugas.

Here's a Black-Headed Oriole feasting on an Ocotillo blossom.

Here it is looking pensive (anthropomorphically speaking, that is).

A look across Tortugas's flank to the Organ Mountains.

Mesquites leafing out in an arroyo bottom.

Heat is On Again

Headed down LDR-A arroyo to yucca shade for Wils The desert floor hasn't been cooling off very much during the overnight hours, and the ...