No? Neither had I. So when I asked Mike Foster from the Carr House in the Huachuca Mountains, and he quickly answered that it was a Prickly Poppy, I had to look it up. I consulted several Desert plant books and could not find it mentioned. Is it a plant-non-gratis? Beautiful as it is from the highway, unlike it’s cousin, (it is actually a poppy), it is thorny, albiet “prickly”. The Prickly Poppy, Argemone Mexicana, is native to Mexico and the southwest USA. It is a member of the Papaveraceae family. This year, 2013, the highways seem to be unusually gifted with them. It may have medicinal uses as well. … Continue reading
In the wild, packrats make their dens (called middens) hidden in thick clumps of cacti or in tight rocky crevices where only snakes can reach them. This is why some leggy lizards evolved into legless lizards called “snakes”. Under these hunting conditions, legs would be an impediment. In our yard, their favorite nesting places are either in a hole under our largest gaggle of prickly pear or the 1.3-inch-wide space between a retaining wall and our hot tub. Around human dwellings, packrats can be incredibly destructive. In the process of making their elaborate dens into comfortable, well-insulated, and nearly impregnable fortresses, they will appropriate almost any material, including twigs, discarded carpet or cloth, animal fur, dryer lint, cardboard, plastic … almost any clutter we leave around. But by far their favorite building material is found under the hood of a car that has remained stationary for one-too-many nights. A few … Continue reading
The Kissing bug, aka: Conenose bug or Mexican Bedbug is a member of the Triatoma species, whatever that is. The important point is that they are blood suckers and sneak under your pillow at night and wait for you to fall asleep. They then creep up on your lips, anesthetize them and begin their dirty work. As the season for opening your windows begins, I thought I would post a word of caution about the conenose bug. They are most active during the months of May and June. They co-habitate with packrats, so get rid of your middens. The worst of it all is that they can carry a disease called Chagas Disease, caused by a parasite, which can kill you. Here is an article on Chagas Disease by the CDC. Thankfully, Arizona screens blood donations for Chagas Disease, whereas Texas is not required to. Luckily, Arizona has seen few … Continue reading
They look like hairy pigs, but aren’t. The Spanish, who were the first Europeans to settle in Southern Arizona, called them “javelina” meaning javelin or spear. When you see the skull of a collared peccary, you immediately know why. Those tusks are impressive. Typically they weigh 35 to 45 pounds, but some males beef up [...]
We see a lot of visitors searching for answers. JUST ASK! If we don’t have the answer we will do our best to find it. … Continue reading
Arizona Game & Fish Department estimates that about 200,000 coyotes live in Arizona. They are equally at home in the wild, in our cities and in the suburbs; anywhere they can snatch a meal.
This critter is also known as a hornworm and can devastate a tomato plant overnight. It grows into a lovely, very large moth, that looks a little like a hummingbird in flight, thus earning the nickname, the Hummingbird Moth. Here is the critter in it’s Chrysallis phase. I think there is a worm in there somewhere. Yum. … Continue reading
This morning in my mailbox was the new Tohono Chul brochure about the upcoming Fall & Winter activities either at, or sponsored by, the Park. Graphically, this download-able brochure is one of the best I have ever seen. More importantly, it beautifully illustrates the Park’s amazing array of special programs, including: art, culture, music, gardens, [...]
Historians disagree about the meaning and source of name Arizona. Historian James H. McClintock notes that the name was probably derived from a native place name that sounded like Aleh-zon or Ali-Shonak which meant small spring or place of the small spring. The Dictionary: Tohono O’odham/Pima to English, English to Tohono O’odham/Pima indicates that Al Shon, translated as Place of Little Spring, is the place name Arizona. Current State Historian, Marshall Trimble, agrees with Donald T. Garate, Chief of Interpretation/Historian at Tumacácori National Historical Park, who studied the early documents referencing the place name Arizona while researching Juan Bautista de Anza, Basque Explorer. He believes that Arizona is a Basque word meaning The Good Oak Tree. Garate argues that early missionaries to the area did not note Arizona as a native settlement. The ranchería Arizona was established between 1734 and 1736 by Bernardo de Urrea, of Basque heritage born in … Continue reading
This Great Blue Heron landed briefly on a friends chimney Saturday afternoon. If herons are here there must be fish somewhere in Tucson.
I had heard rumors that thousands of bats live under the North Campbell Street bridge (just south of River) and that they take flight at sundown in the summer. This urban legend seemed more plausible when I found out that docents from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum are there every Thursday evening to share their knowledge [...]
The frogs were sunning themselves in the riparian exhibit at the Desert Museum last week. … Continue reading
This is Rowdy The RoadRunner. Photo taken last week. He looks startled. No way. Just mugging for my camera. All the animals at the Desert Museum do that, don’t ya know.
These white cows are affectionately known as “The Girls” in Arivaca, Arizona. Headed down the main street they appear to be headed for La Gitana Cantina, bragged on as being the oldest continually run saloon in the state, circa 1880. This scene is typical of the view you may see while visiting Arivaca. Quaint and slightly off center. The natives are friendly. Enjoy!
The night-blooming Cereus, the native Arizona kind, typically blooms only one day a year. When I say, one day a year, I mean one day, all around town, the same day. It does not vary except what day that is. When I first moved here, I was cleaning up Buddy’s tootsie rolls, I came across one of the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen. Not to mention the strong honey fragrance that it put out. It was attached to a plant that I would have eventually pulled out, mistaking it for a dead stick. The “root”, by the way, is a tuber. The Tucson Botanical Gardens celebrates this event every year, keeping a watch for this yearly show.
These are two of my favorite photos. It gets hot here and even the snakes need a break. As luck would have it, this was a harmless Gopher Snake. The differences can be subtle. The jawline is different. A rattlesnake has a triangular shaped jaw and oh, rattles. The coloration is much the same as you can see. This watering can is extremely small, not more than 12 inches tall. This was an interesting find. Be careful where you put your hands! … Continue reading
This spectacular grasshopper will intrigue the newcomer to Tucson with its size and color. The Horse Lubber Grasshopper, scientific name,Taeniopoda eques, can generally be seen in the late summer on the outskirts of the Tucson Area. Cool, huh. -kr
The Palo Verde are in bloom. For about three weeks. Allergies abound. But, WHO cannot say this is Beautiful. This is the desert. … Continue reading
The Junior Ranger program exists throughout the National Park Service. Last weekend we took Anna and Isabella to Tumacácori National Park. Isabella (7) enjoyed finding the different pictures along the way. She received a badge and a certificate at the end. There are other Junior Ranger programs at other National Parks, including Saguaro National Park. Visit the National Park Website for more information. … Continue reading
Camping in Comfort
We are always looking for comfortable places to stay at affordable prices. Roper Lake State Park just outside of Safford, offers 8 lakeshore cabins for rent yearround. A steal at $55 a night, 2 day minimum, 14 day Maximum. Visit the official website
for more information.
Photography Copyright © Arizona State Parks
Photo Courtesy of Mary Scott - Arivaca, AZ
As every birder probably knows local Audubon Society pages are a great resource and reference for Birding and ecology.
Check out the following page for Birding Trips.
Audubon Field Trips
Other events and Educational courses sponsored by Audubon can be found here.
One of the best kept secrets is the fact that the USDA Forest Service has cabin rentals, two of which are located in the Cochise Stronghold, Shaw Cabin and Half Moon Ranch.
You don’t have to live here very long before you start noticing the odd, the strange, the weird, and the funny. I laughed out loud when I first saw this sign at the NW corner of La Cholla and Ruthrauff. Just what a growing family needs: grocery bags full of alcohol, nicotine,caffeine, and sugar. Send [...]
Would you like us to post an event? Please fill out the form on the following page: Post an Event. Allow two working days to respond. Would you like to tell us more about a posted event? You can do it here as well. Thanks! … Continue reading
If you would like to make a suggestion, clarify a point, or ask a question, we would love to hear from you. Contact Us! You may also visit our Fan Page and post a comment on Facebook at: Southern Arizona Guide Fan Page BE sure to LIKE our page. … Continue reading