Thursday, March 26, 2009


Although we have been having blue skies and sunshine in Chicago lately it has still been very cold so I was more than happy yesterday to board a flight for San Diego and then when we landed, drive out into the desert. Anza Borrego to be exact. We had visited a couple of years ago, very briefly so we decided we wanted to see a bit more of the area.

The difference this time is that there has been a fair amount of rain in the area recently so the desert is actually very much more colourful than on our previous visit. As you can see from the Red Ocotillo Fouquieria splendens (sorry hard to see in this picture but I will do better in a later post!)

Having previously mentioned my 'prickly' nature it should come as no surprise that I like cactii! And even they are blooming right now. This is a Beavertail Cactus Opuntia basilaris

and these are the much maligned Teddy-Bear Cholla Opuntia bigelovii

After we had arrived and got settled into our room we went to the Visitor Center,

we knew it was too late for it to open but there is still always plenty to see around it and, sure enough, it didn't disappoint. It always surprises me how many hummingbirds I see when I come here. The light was failing so forgive me if I have this wrong but I think this is a Costas Hummingbird Calypte costae

And how could I possibly not take a photo of this little chap, even though he was shouting very loudly at me for most of the time I was there!

We walked around for a while but the light was starting to go so we couldn't take any more photos. It was fantastic to just sit and listen to the coyotes calling to each other ad enjoy the twilight but I had one more treat in store for me. On my last visit I hadn't had a good sighting of a Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus so, just as we were walking back to our car, he appeared

He continued the theme where the ground squirrel had left off and gave us a good telling off for getting in his way when he was busy hunting bugs!

What a perfect start to my visit to the desert.

Photo Credits - CJT & Dominick V


Anonymous said...

Oh..nice that you get to go out west. I have never been farther west than Ohio..I love the differences in all the plants...Have a good time...

Louise said...

I LOVE cactus blooms, and you got some stunners. I also love roadrunners. They are a bit more common to me than cactus blooms, but I still love every sighting.

Doug Taron said...

I'm jealous!!! Beavertail cactus has always been one of my favorites. Very nice photo.