Friday, February 10, 2017

El Paso Desert Botanical Gardens

Keystone Heritage Park and the El Paso Desert Botanical Gardens is an archeological site, wetlands, and botanical garden. The wetlands are home to many species of birds and are a migratory stop for even more. Over 206 species of birds have been spotted there. We visited here on a day when conditions weren't good for paragliding.

Northern Shoveler

I barely got the above shot before the Northern Shoveler (I think) took off. I managed to track it and catch it in flight. Even got reflections in both shots :-) Too bad the power pole was also reflected!

Northern Shoveler

Most of the birds were too far away for my regular telephoto. I would have brought the long lens, but I was expecting botanical gardens, not birds.

ducks & reflections

There were quite a few Killdeer around but it was hard to get close to them.


We were warned it was getting warm enough for the rattlesnakes to come out. We haven't spotted any, but I did notice this shed snake skin which I'm guessing is from a rattlesnake, given what looks like the rattles.

rattlesnake skin

Winter is a slow time in the botanical gardens, even in a warm climate like this. I still enjoy things like the seed pods. (Especially since I recently finished a whole book on Seeing Seeds. The others in the series - Seeing Trees  and Seeing Flowers are also great)  Easy to see why the one below is called Screwbean Mesquite.

Screwbean Mesquite

seed pod

And of course, the usual contingent of prickly stuff.

spiky plants

Cactus skeletons always fascinate me. They look a bit like the internal structure of bones. (convergent evolution)

cactus skeleton

We went to the nearby Magic Bistro (recommended) for lunch. (We'd already been there for supper and really enjoyed it.) It was even warm enough to sit outside, a treat we don't get in the winter in Saskatchewan! The sparrows also enjoy the patio, mostly as a place to scrounge food, but I enjoyed watching them and had to go and get my camera to take a few photos. (nice sharp shot for a change)


See all 17 photos as a slideshow or overview

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