Thursday, February 25, 2016

Days of miracle and wonder

These are the days of miracle and wonder
- Paul Simon

The desert is a different place. The lack of water has led evolution down different paths than more temperate climes.

Ocotillo are like bundles of sticks with thorns, when it rains they grow leaves and flower and then drop them to go back to waiting.

ocotillo flower

Bright purple prickly pear cactus with spines longer than your fingers.

cactus buds

Century plants (agave) bide their time for years, storing food and water for one glorious final fling, sending a giant stalk skyward to flower and seed. A final fling that leaves it brown and dead.

Crucifixion thorns and resurrection plants.

Blind prickly pear cactus with no obvious spines, just fuzzy patches which turn out to be spines after all.

Cats claw bushes, also known as "wait a minute", which is what you need to do if you make the mistake of brushing up against them.

Palo verde trees that do without leaves and just go with green stems instead.

Despite the lack of water, the Texas Bluebonnets (lupines) were blooming, although only beside the roads as far as we saw.

Texas bluebonnets

Javelinas named after the Spanish for spear, that look like pigs, have feet like deer, and are actually related to hippopotami.


Roadrunners that would rather run than fly and who bribe their girlfriends with tasty lizard morsels.

Other birds are the same as what you'd find elsewhere, like these great horned owls that hung out around the Cottonwood Campground.

Great horned owl

Although there weren't many flowers, there were still a few butterflies around. This one was quite small and looked nondescript from a distance, but was actually quite pretty close up.


There were a couple of bright red birds around - vermillion flycatchers around the campground and northern cardinals near the rivers.

Vermillion flycatcher

Northern cardinal

Earless lizards have wonderful coloring on their sides if you can see them up close.

Earless lizard

The day we left the weather changed and it actually rained a bit.

Big Bend landscape

For more photos, see all 45 as a slideshow or overview

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