I’m back from my trip to southwestern Utah earlier than I hoped to be but there were not that many birds to photograph this time of the year and despite coming home early I still had a wonderful time exploring an area of Utah that was new to me. It started at Gunlock State Park; which I have been to before, but the lower altitude of the Mojave means hotter temps and that can be uncomfortable for camping. The reservoir at Gunlock State Park is much lower than it was in 2010, they really need water there.
The sunset made for spectacular colors on the clouds overhead. At first this cloud was kissed with gold.
Then pink hues and just a touch of gold.
Then deeper violets and blues just before it got dark. It was warm but the little bit of a breeze made it quite comfortable.
The next morning found me in an area I have never been to before, Beaver Dam Wash Conservation Area and the Mojave Desert where Joshua Trees are the tallest trees around. Joshua Trees are in the Yucca family and their bayonet shaped leaves look as sharp as any Yucca I have ever seen.
Joshua Trees were given their name by the Mormon settlers but long before they arrived the Cahuilla Native Americans used the leaves to makes sandals and baskets and harvested the seeds and flower buds and still identify with this plant as a valuable resource and call it “hunuvat chiy’a” or “humwichawa” and if I can learn to pronounce those words it would be my preference to use what they were called before the pioneers arrived.
The birds in the Mojave were few but I can see why spring would be a better season to visit for more bird activity plus I would love to see the desert in bloom. I saw so many different kinds of cactus under the Joshua Trees and I could visualize what it must look like. The birds I saw the most of were House Finches and that took me a little by surprise because I have grown to think of them as urban birds and I was glad to be proved “wrong”.
I did see two Red-tailed Hawks on the way to Lytle Ranch one of them was close enough to even take images of as it perched high on a dead Joshua Tree. When I first saw the hawk I thought its tail looked a bit odd then I realized that it was the dead leaves of the tree not its tail. The bird stayed put for a long time and didn’t flinch even when a cattle truck rumbled by…
And just when I was about to put my camera down without even a warning poop it lifted off.
I enjoyed my journey to Beaver Dam Wash and the Mojave Desert even though I didn’t see the birds I hoped to photograph, every journey is an adventure. To be savored. To be relished.
Life is good.