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Old Dec 23, 2007, 12:31 AM   #1
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The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is about more than just animals, it is a botanical garden, too. The plants are all well marked, giving the scientific name along with any common name. Sometimes its a bit difficult to figure out - I don't think this dour fellow is a creosote bush.



The Saguaro cactus is an odd looking plant - the holes are often used for homes:



These look almost like snakes instead of plants.



Any angler can probably guess what the common name is for this cactus.



There are all different kinds of agave - many have interesting patterns on their leaves.



Cholla cactus might look like fuzzy plants from a distance, but that fuzz is more like spikes. Definitely not something you want to fall on top of:



The museum is on a rise and overlooks a pretty valley. Their coyote doesn't seem to be interested in the view from his perch, but I found it lovely.



I hesitated to post these as so many people are posting awesome winter pictures, just in time for the holidays. Somehow these just don't seem to fit in at all, but since I had posted the pictures of some of the animals, I figured I should post some cacti too.
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Old Dec 23, 2007, 1:11 AM   #2
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I like your crops on the agave and cholla, and the last one has a great third dimensional feel to it. With all those cacti around, it is fitting that a Cactus Wren would be the character doing its best to hide the creosote bush sign with its tail.
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Old Dec 23, 2007, 7:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
I hesitated to post these as so many people are posting awesome winter pictures, just in time for the holidays. Somehow these just don't seem to fit in at all, but since I had posted the pictures of some of the animals, I figured I should post some cacti too.
These are wonderful shots of a world that is almost as alien as the surface of the moon to those of us in the South. When I think of a botanical garden, I tend of think of lush, green with brilliant floral displays, but your shots carry their own stark beauty.

I really like the pic of the coyote and the cactus wren.

Paul
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Old Dec 23, 2007, 9:09 AM   #4
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I wondered if that was a cactus wren. Someone had pointed one out to me earlier (a wild one) but it was little more a small brown blur. I didn't realize that they had such lovely tails until I saw this one in the aviary. I'm really not much of a birder, even when trying to capture very tame, captive birds in the aviary I didn't do very well. So often my focus was off, the birds moved before I pressed the shutter or I just framed them poorly. All of you posting perfect wild bird pictures have my respect.
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Old Dec 23, 2007, 2:35 PM   #5
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Harriet, the Cactus Wren is the largest and most beautiful of our native wrens, and is usually associated with the desert, but you don't (didn't) have to go to the desert to see them, as there is (was?) a local coastal population in southern California, thought by some to be distinct and endangered.They built thier football sized covered nests in patches of Opuntia cacti, rather than the chollas of the desert. Many (most?) of these birdswere in the area of Orange Countythat burned in the recent fires, and what was left of their habitat that hadn't been lost to development was destroyed. Sometimes they dive into their nests when threatened (to be protected by the cactus spines), so it is not known how many may have perished. And they haven't caught the arsonist tht started it, either.
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Old Dec 23, 2007, 6:08 PM   #6
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I have a hard time accepting the idea that someone would intentionally set a fire under those conditions. Hopefully they will catch the person who started it - they caught the guy who was supposed to be responsible for last year's Day Fire a couple of months ago. It's sad to think about the California Cactus Wren losing its habitat in such a senseless act of violence.

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Tucson, and want to go back sometime. There is more to see in the area and I'd love to go back to this museum, too. We spent most of one day there. I only did one short hike (in Catalina State Park) - we spent most of our time seeing the sites (San Xavier Mission, Old Tucson, Titan Missile Museum, Pima Air and Space Museum, copper mine tour in Bisbee, wandered around Tombstone because it was on the way to Bisbee, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument).
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Old Dec 23, 2007, 6:12 PM   #7
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Harriet, these are all lovely. But, I especially like the wren and the blue sky against the cactus one.
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