ARIZONA-SONORAN DESERT MUSEUM – MARCH 24-26:
We planned on going to this living desert museum for two days. After checking the fee structure we became members for the year, and decided we would probably go for three days. This “Museum” consists of all living things found in the Sonoran Desert. A great many of the birds fly free here and enjoy the environment – phainopepla, cactus wren, curve-billed thrasher, sparrows, Gambel’s quail, flickers, ravens, pyrrhuloxia, and hummingbirds. They also have a very nice hummingbird aviary as well as a walk-in aviary, both of which provide a shady environment for a break from the desert sun.
Each morning we were there at the opening bell and stayed well into the afternoon. We took a couple of breaks, one being after the first raptor show which started at 1000, to enjoy a free (to members) iced coffee and a small pastry at Phoebe’s Café. Another respite was a visit to their art gallery at this time featuring student work. The students are from the art classes provided at the Museum.
|SATIATED GROUND SQUIRREL|
|GREY FOX SUNBATHING|
|MOUNTAIN LION ON THE PROWL|
|MOUONTAIN LION LOOKING|
They also have various reptiles on display including rattlesnakes, and a number of lizards.
plants here are growing in their native habitat and seem to be thriving: saguaro,
claret cup, hedgehog, barrel, fish hook, cholla, and beavertail cacti; a number
of variety of mesquite, palo verde trees, penstemon, ocotillo, and several
agave. There were many more plants, too many to photograph, and too many to
list them all here.
|SONORAN SPINY-TAILED IGUANA|
|EASTERN COLLARD LIZARD|
|CLARET CUP CACTUS|
|CRESTED BARREL CACTI|
Probably the biggest single draw here is the Raptor Free Flight Show which takes place twice a day. To get a prime location for viewing and photography of the birds one has to get to the gathering site 30 to 40 minutes before the show. They fly a variety of birds – chihuahuan raven, barn owl, great horned owl, Harris’s hawk, greater roadrunner, ferruginous hawk, gray hawk, peregrine falcon, and prairie falcon. and local red-tailed hawks.
|GREAT HORNED OWL|
|HUMMINGBIRD ON NEST|
|CACTUS WREN AND NEST|
|CACTUS WREN POSING|