Thursday, February 16, 2017

Portal, Arizona

From El Paso we headed west. We took Highway 9 along the Mexican border, the same quiet road we did our high tows from. We stopped in to visit some acquaintances that I met at their summer home in Clearwater, BC. They live in Portal, Arizona - a tiny town on the edge of the Chiricahua National Monument. I like the idea of heading somewhere warmer for the winter, but the usual snowbird destinations like Phoenix don't interest me at all. Somewhere like Portal, on the other hand, would be great. It doesn't hurt that it's one of the top spots for biodiversity and especially bird watching. If you visit, don't miss the Chiricahua Desert Museum in Rodeo, NM. Among other things they have an amazing collection of (live) snakes.

Knowing that it's still winter at home in Saskatchewan, it's a treat to see the willow catkins out already here, and being visited by the bees.

bee on willow catkins

Of course, I can't resist the water. It especially stands out surrounded by the desert.

plant under water


The area around Portal has great mountain scenery.

sunlit trees


I was taking a picture of the detail of this plant, when I noticed it had an interesting occupant.

plant detail

interesting insect

At first I thought it was a spider, but looking at the photographs I think it only has six legs (and long antennae) which makes it an insect instead.

We saw lots of hawks along the roads. Eventually I got out my long lens and kept the camera on my lap while Shelley was driving. When we spotted a hawk, we'd try to stop (if there was a shoulder). Half the time just stopping was enough to make the hawk fly away. But occasionally they would stay to be photographed.


I think we were seeing at least two different kinds of hawks. I haven't got around to identifying them.


See all 23 photos as a slideshow or overview

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