Tuesday, February 6
The crew and I are having a grand time exploring Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona.
After eating breakfast, making preparations for the day, and working on the blog, we board the Perfect Tow Vehicle and rumble down one of the many dirt roads in the refuge.
As one of the refuge’s brochures points out, a slow-moving or parked vehicle is an excellent blind for watching wildlife.
As we mosey down our road in the PTV . . . .
Suddenly a javelina jumps out of the tall grass and crosses in front of us!
I grab the camera, but before I can stick my hand out the window, the first javelina is gone and a second one disappears right behind the first.
Now I know for sure that the many hoof tracks we see around here belong to javelina. Man, those things are big!
This excursion turns into a scenic tour of the vegetation near our camp.
Maybe you can help with the identification of these plants.
They remind me of century plants I saw in Florida. That was a long time ago.
“Gosh, they’re all over the place!”
“Pretty weird, eh, guys? Only a couple minutes and our world has changed.”
“We’ll get out and walk in a little bit. I promise.”
Before putting the PTV in drive, I lean out my window and point the camera upward.
Just for the fun of it!
“Okay, let’s see what’s up ahead.”
In about a quarter-mile we enter yet another world.
Whereas the grasses in the photos above and around our campsite are a pale tan, here the grass is gold. Huge swaths of gold . . . gorgeous!
(The photo above and the next ones of this area were taken with a long zoom. My panoramic shots didn’t come out well. I cropped these shots out of those. The zoom and cropping create a painted quality that I think is pretty neat)!
“Okay, this is a good place to get out and walk around.”
Reggie and Roger wiggle and squirm on the passenger seat.
I trot around the PTV to let them out on the tether. I’m excited about the photo possibilities.
We walk a short distance . . .
Oh, there’s a deer!
The deer is hardly more than a speck from where we stand. Well, I’m standing. Reggie and Roger are pulling this way and that.
“Hold still a minute! I need to get this photo!”
I don’t know if the golden grass is native to Altar Valley or if it was introduced as a food source for wildlife. Unlike the pale tan grass, the golden grass is loaded with seeds. If you look closely at the foreground of the next pic, you can see the stalks of seeds.
At the present time, rain is in the forecast!
I do hope it rains! When Bridget, Reggie and I camped here in February of 2016, wildflowers were in bloom and a great many birds had arrived. I’ll never forget the Vermillion Flycatchers. I haven’t see any this year.
On the road again, we come around a bend and . . .
“What the heck is that?”
Bright yellow globes the size of softballs hang from the branches of a mesquite!
What? Did someone decorate that tree? That is very weird.
I pull up to the tree, park, and get out for a closer look.
No, that’s not plastic. That’s some kind of fruit!
Why hasn’t it been pecked by birds or eaten by other wildlife? This is a mesquite tree. Is it the fruit of a vine?
I take a close-up photo while standing in the brush.
I don’t hang around to inspect further, being uneasy about what might be near my legs and annoyed with my presence!
In the previous post I included a photo of a cactus.
It looked like a barrel cactus to me. Readers said yes, it’s an elongated barrel cactus.
Interestingly, as one reader informs us, the cactus has another name — Compass Cactus. It was given that name because it grows in the shade of a mesquite and bends toward the southern sky.
Compass Cactus… I like that!
I set out to see if it does point south.
I find a very tall specimen. This one is about five feet tall and has a distinct bend.
Yes, it’s pointing south!
As for our walk, we find several great campsites which I’ll share in an upcoming post.
See what I mean about having a grand time?
I haven’t shown the half of what the crew and I have been doing the past few days. This is the kind of living that I crave. My happiest moments are in the natural world, shared with my precious crew.
Even when they go insane on a peaceful stroll . . . .
Talk about other worlds . . . . What planet did these two gremlins come from!
NOTE: Thanks to those who identified the plants in this post. The plants that have the tall stalk are yuccas. (They aren’t century plants, as I originally thought.) The mystery fruit is coyote melon, also known as buffalo balls.
For details and links, join us in the comments section! — Sue
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