Saturday, September 24, 2011

Painted Desert

Still recovering today from our trek through the Petrified Forest and then the Painted Desert.  I guess I'm a rain forest kind of girl.  The desert is so beautiful but, of course, it is also hot and dry.  It takes a lot of getting used to.

This was our environment...and I want to share some of the beauty today.

 A sage thrasher sits high up in a juniper tree.  This is in an oasis where there are some trees.

Grasses grow.  This one had such an interesting seed head.  

Everywhere you look in the Petrified Forest part of this desert are pieces of what once were ancient trees.  And are now transformed into jewels that gleam like rainbows in the sun.

The globe mallow has tiny orange flowers which glow against the sand.

A yucca seed pod waiting for animals or birds to eat the seeds.

The earth is so parched but it makes interesting patterns when it cracks.

There  are a lot of ravens in the park and they are protected.  With their black plumage they are terribly unsuited to live here and find it very hot.  Most of the time the are trying to find any shade they can where they sit with open beaks and pant.  Apparently, they usually travel with their mates.  We  found one lonely one in a parking lot whose mate had died.  He hung around for the company and shade - not the food.  There was  none.

And, I found this quite beautiful, too, although I know most won't.  This beetle (around1.5 in) has just died.  There are many ants salvaging what they can to survive in this harsh world.

This is called Blue Mesa (colors are so hard  to capture in photos here with the bright sun) and those brown logs are actually totally rock now. 

Time to renew the lip balm, drink some cool water and find a shady spot.


Ginny said...

I'm loving this, it's one of my favorite posts of yours! The sage thrasher, how is it different from a common thrasher? It looks HUGE! The petrified wood looks like an opal! It is beautiful!! So interesting about the crows (can you tell we are birdwatchers?). Most creatures are adapted to their environment. Wonder why they don't fly somewhere cooler, or do homing instincts just keep them there?

Farm Girl said...

It is beautiful. I love going through there. I bet it is very hot this time of year.
So glad you are having a nice time.

Emille said...

I still have a rock from the petrified forest! And our kids riding horses around here. The colors of the painted desert are awesome!

EmptyNester said...

I love traveling vicariously through your trip!

Lindy MacDuff said...

I can only imagine how miserably hot it was there in September. The only things that matter are water, hats, sunscreen, and find the shade!

You certainly found colorful specimens. I think the Globe Mallow is one of the prettiest desert flowers.


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