Thursday, February 27, 2014

2/27 Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ

I have been here twice in my motorhome, and I HATE the road driving in because it is so narrow, curvy, and without any shoulders.  I cannot help but hang over the middle line going around curves, so it is a little scary.  However, it is a beautiful place, especially on a very pleasant day.  Decent RV parking, which is nice. 
 

 
First time I ever came here was in about 1996 with my older son.  He would not tell me the temperature, but I know it was close to 110 degrees!  Today was nicer.
 
The museum is really a combination botanical garden and zoo.  It is much less groomed and is therefore more natural looking than the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, but I really like them both.


This is some sort of yucca, I think.

This is creosote bush.  It is in bloom everywhere in the desert this month.

 
The sign says this is a strawberry hedgehog cactus. It is just beginning to bloom.

This is a rare crested saguaro.  They do not know what causes this, but the museum has two that were transplanted from elsewhere.
 
This tiny hummingbird has made her nest within easy reach of anyone entering the hummingbird house!  She did not seem to be afraid of all the attention she was getting.  They say the eggs are the size of Tic Tacs. I can't imagine how tiny the babies are.  There were a couple of nests, but this was the easiest to photograph.


 
 There is also another bird house.  These mourning doves were eating watermelon.  I think the smaller birds in front are Inca doves.  They blend in very well with the desert soil.

This little Inca dove has made her nest right next to the path through the bird house. She did not seem worried at all. We watched her turn her single egg and then settle down again.

Is this a painted redstart???

Steller's Jay, I think.  These birds are known as camp robbers as they will hang around campground and people and steal whatever they can, edible or not.  I think it is a male due to the topknot on its head.

This female seemed to be nesting on the ground.  She was sitting on a small depression and was being groomed by the male. 

This female big-horn sheep is smart to be staying up high. 

The male and another female were down at the bottom.  He was VERY interested in the female, sniffing her rear and following her around.
 
This is a cactus wren and a brittle bush in full bloom.  Brittle bush is one of the most common desert plants so the desert is now full of yellow flowers.

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