Photo of the Day 4.12.20


LCNCA Easter bike ride (4 of 6)
Calochortus kennedyi – Desert Mariposa Lily

How special that I found some Desert Mariposa Lilies blooming on Easter day in the grassland!!  Jim and I decided to take an afternoon bike ride on a new dirt road we discovered here in the NCA.  We detoured onto an unmarked road, curious how far it traveled and, if it was the same path that climbed the plateau we could see in the distance.

LCNCA Easter bike ride (6 of 6)
Look closely and you can see a flat-topped mesa with a dirt road winding up to the top.  

We parked the bikes at the bottom of the plateau and hiked to the top.  It’s a high spot in the grassland and the view was amazing!  As I was walking back down the hill, I noticed the yellow flowers of a Mariposa lily.   They were so unassuming and sparse that they were hard to spot and I had not even noticed them on the hike up.  I have not seen them blooming anywhere else but in this isolated location.  What a treat!!  🙂

LCNCA Easter bike ride (3 of 6)
It was so windy on the hill that I had trouble getting a clear photograph.  That’s Jim’s finger in the lower right hand corner of the photo trying to steady the plant so I could get a good focus!!

On our way back to the campsite, we stopped off at Cottonwood Pond.  I had taken an early morning walk down to the pond and had once again watched “my” two red-tailed hawks soaring high above the land.  One did eventually land in the Cottonwood tree across from the pond.  I also enjoyed the antics of several birds while I sipped my coffee and ate my stroopie.

LCNCA Easter bike ride (2 of 6)
This Western Meadowlark has been a mainstay along the road leading to the pond!
LCNCA Easter bike ride (1 of 6)
The Western Kingbirds have been very active around the pond lately!

Sharing a perching spot with the Kingbirds this morning was a very vocal Red-winged Blackbird.

And, of course, the swallows were abundant.  And I have a confession to make regarding the swallows!  Jim was still not stirring when I embarked on my walk this morning.  He mumbled a good-bye and said maybe he would meet me down there later.  I spent a considerable amount of time at the pond observing the birds and watching the hawks.  Jim never showed up so I headed back.  We must have missed each other – as I walked back on the road and he had bushwhacked through the wash to get to the pond.  When he returned, he told me he had seen a woman at the pond and struck up a conversation with her.  He mentioned to her our fascination with the tree swallows.  She quickly corrected him – noting that they were, in fact, Northern Rough-winged Swallows.  He explained to her our indecision over what type of swallow they were and thanked her for the identification.  So, being the very novice birdwatcher that I am – I am grateful that he happened upon this more experienced birder!!  I am happy to admit my error!!

I will be correcting my blog posts where I mention tree swallows!!  If you know me like my family does, you know that I do not like to be inaccurate!  But, having said that, I still think I could have identified tree swallows initially here at the pond.  It’s hard to miss their iridescence.  I suspect they were migrating through but the Northern Rough-winged swallows are the more frequent residents.  So, this afternoon, when we stopped at the pond I examined the swallows more closely with binoculars – waiting patiently for one to land so that I could get a good view.  I wanted to verify the identification for my own satisfaction.  And, sure enough, it was obviously the Northern Rough-winged Swallow!  Thank goodness we now know for sure that we have identified them correctly!!  🙂

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