Southern California

29th April - 7th May 2006

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Named after the Spanish Explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish word 'borrego' which refers to the Bighorn Sheep found within the park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park covers over 600,000acres and is the largest desert state park in the United States.

California Quail (Callipepla californica)

As with all deserts, the best places to view wildlife is at oases. At Yaqui Well the bushes were alive with numerous migrant Nashville and Wilson's Warblers.

Nashville Warbler (Vermivora ruficapilla)

Tamarisk Grove campground is an excellent site for viewing owls. Long-eared Owls are usually very shy and easily disturbed, but here they nest in the trees at the entrance station just opposite where I pitched my tent. Barn Owls can also be seen flying in the area.

Long-eared Owl fledgling (Asio otus)

The peak of the wildflower blooming is from January to March, so it was getting a bit late when I was there but there were still numerous cacti in full bloom creating a splash of colour in an otherwise brown landscape.

Engelmann's Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii)

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)

California Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceous)

Silver Cholla (Opuntia echinocarpa)

Silver Cholla (Opuntia echinocarpa)

Prickly Poppy (Argemone corymbosa)

One group of creatures I don't really associate with deserts are frogs, and I was a bit suprised to find this beautifully camouflaged California Treefrog close to the Palm Canyon oasis. The river was still flowing quite strongly so there were plenty of damp places for it to sit without fear of drying out.

California Treefrog (Hyla cadaverina)

Whitetail Antelope Squirrel (Ammospermophilus leucurus)

San Jacinto Mountain California map Salton Sea NWR