Monday, January 27, 2014

Anza-Borrego Desert: Cactus Loop Trail

Teddy Bear Cholla, Buckhorn Cholla, Ocotillo, Brittlebush, Creosote Bush. Cactus Loop Trail.
The desert is full of life and full of birds. You just have to work at it a bit to find and appreciate them. Verdin, Black-throated Sparrow, Cactus Wren, Costa's Hummingbird, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Phainopepla, Rock Wren, Roadrunner, White-winged Dove, Gambel's Quail, Le Conte's Thrasher, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Ladder-backed Woodpecker. These are some of the regular desert birds. Add water and migration and over 100 other species can be found at various times during the year.

Yesterday Marlene and I drove to the eastern edge of San Diego County to The Anza-Borrego Desert and the town of Borrego Springs.

There were just too many places to stop and we didn't get to half of the places I wanted to explore. That's all right. We'll do it again soon.

One place with a big list of birds is Tamarisk Grove Campground. We spent about an hour there at noon and encountered about 20 species of birds. Across the street is Cactus Loop Trail. I only went a couple hundred feet finding many of the species of birds in the first paragraph.

My grandparents were snowbirds, spending the winters in the sun. They often stayed near Quartzsite, Arizona, only a hundred miles or so to the east in the Sonoran Desert. I visited when I was in my teens and twenties. So these cacti were mostly familiar to me from 30+ years ago.

I ended up not getting photos of Barrel Cactus and Desert Agave (Century Plant), which were especially plentiful entering the Desert from the west as we descended from 4000 feet.

I also didn't photograph any of the trees--palo verde, tamarisk, and various mesquite. These trees are much more abundant in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and NW Mexico.

Enjoy these cacti, and let me know if I have misidentified them!
Hillside of Teddy Bear Cactus (also called Jumping Cholla) and Brittlebush.
I think this is Gander's Cholla.
I think this is Buckhorn Cholla and not Pencil Cactus as I first thought.
Hedgehog Cactus and Brittlebush.
Tiny Fishhook Cactus in bloom.
Beavertail Cactus
Ocotillo and Creosote Bush