Parque Natural Mexiquillo


A Stroll and the Zoo

The hills are alive with color. The thunder storm we had last week set the plants into a frenzy of reproduction. We saunter along the Ocotillo Trail that winds through the hills above Carlsbad. We were rewarded with a spectacular display of color.

Ocotillo, the trails namesake

In dry times Ocotillo carries on photosynthesis though it's green bark, in wetter times leaves sprout . 

The Zoo

Carlsbad has an excellent zoo and gardens focusing on the local flora and fauna.

There are wonderful dioramas explaining the history of the area. 

270 mya, the Permian Period, this area was a shallow sea located at the equator. This is a model of the luxuriant reefs that covered the ocean floor. 

Present Day Fauna

Unlike his brethren, Burrowing Owls are active during the day. They live in burrows, ones they dig, or more often abandoned prairie dog holes. 

Turkey Vultures can soar for hours on thermals expending little energy in their quest for carrion. During the winter they migrate to Mexico.

The Peccary, or Javelina, evolved in South America and migrated north, only recently arriving in Arizona. Javelina bones are not found in Arizona archaeological sites and early settlers made infrequent references to their occurrence.

Harris' Hawks don't migrate, preferring to live year round in areas of desert scrub with mesquite, cacti and yucca. 

Desert Black Bears are lankier and less stocky than Black Bears elsewhere, which aids in dispersing excess heat. 

Prairie dogs. 

Two painted and a large Spiny softshell turtle.

Quick and agile, Gray Foxes can sprint up to 28 mph. They can forage in trees, but are rarely found sleeping up high. They make their dens closer to the ground. 

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