Tuesday, September 4 (continued)
Cochise Stronghold Campground, Dragoon Mountains, Arizona
Reggie, Roger, and I stroll around the campground.
“Stop! You walked right past it! Look at this little green creature over here!”
“It’s a praying mantis!”
Listen up, boys and girls. A praying mantis is a mantid.
“What is a mantid?” one wonders.
Definition of mantid: “predacious, long bodied large-eyed insect of warm regions; rests with forelimbs raised as if in prayer.” — thefreedictionary.com
Fun facts about the praying mantis!
“A praying mantis has two large, compound eyes that work together to help it decipher visual cues. But strangely, the praying mantis has just a single ear, located on the underside of its belly, just forward of its hind legs. This means the mantid cannot discriminate the direction of a sound, nor its frequency. What it can do is detect ultrasound, or sound produced by echolocating bats. Studies have shown that praying mantids are quite good at evading bats.” — “Ten Fascinating Praying Mantis Facts,” thoughtco.com
Fun facts about the flower it rode in on!
The praying mantis here is astride a flower of the datura plant. I’ve seen daturas all over the place recently (late Aug., early Sept.). Mostly I’ve seen them along roads and highways. The toxicity of datura has earned it several other names: devil’s trumpets, jimsonweed, devil’s weed, hell’s bells, thorn-apple.
So . . .
What we have here is a praying mantis sitting on the devil’s weed.
Pray on, brother . . .
“Hell’s bells, boys! Detour around that devilish datura!”
This next photo displays a very large and unusual rock formation.
It resembles a giant squirrel monster or something. It’s difficult to tell from the photo how big and tall it is. I guess about eight feet high or more.
Knowing how Roger enjoys rock climbing, I invite him to climb onto the monster rock to give us a sense of proportion.
Can we blame him?
Let’s turn to a different sort of nature’s artistry, shall we?
Like this still life made naturally, without the “help” of human hand. A gentle mix of form, color, and texture . . . aahhh . . . lovely.
Not far from the scene above, we find a flotilla of ferns. This is their true color — blue-green waves!
Next: Indian paintbrush.
At Cochise Stronghold.
Monsoon season is still with us.
Typically, clouds darken in the afternoon (or they move in).
The crew and I are ready to go home anyway. We’ve had a full morning.
After refreshing ourselves with a drink of water, we board the Perfect Tow Vehicle and ride away from the Dragoon Mountains.
A short distance from the woodlands of evergreen, oak, juniper, manzanita, and Arizona Madrone in their seemingly haphazard arrangements, we find the man-made uniformity of trees in rows.
Hmm . . . What kind of trees are those? They don’t look like fruit trees. Nuts maybe?
And is that yellow bird of paradise growing wild at the fence line?
Reggie and Roger snooze during the long ride home.
(I take these photos out the open window of the PTV in order not to agitate the boys. They’re very sleepy!)
Later I research the area east of the Dragoon Mountains.
I want to find out what those trees are!
I load the day’s photos into Picasa photo editor, find the orchard photos, and enlarge a pink dot among a mystery tree’s leaves.
(Sorry for the poor quality.)
Hmm . . . Could it be?
Pistachios grow in southern Arizona.
I never would’ve guessed.
NOTE: Well, this wraps up our visit to Cochise Stronghold. If you are interested in visiting, you might enjoy the website, cochisestronghold.com. You’ll find a map, history, an extensive bird list, and backcountry climbing resources.
Interested in wine with your pistachios? Golden Rule Vineyards/Cochise Groves offers both! — Sue
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