Monday, June 29, 2015

Cactus Wren at Hole in the Wall, Mojave National Preserve

I was exploring Banshee Canyon at Hole in the Wall in the Mojave National Preserve when I spotted another bird species of the desert, a Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus). The pictures aren't as sharp as I had hoped, but it was a great distance, and skies were overcast. Still, it was nice to see some new species as we started our exploration of the Colorado Plateau.
Oh, you think a picture of a Cactus Wren should have a cactus in it? Okay, the bird cooperated for a moment while it foraged on the desert floor...
The strange looking rocks are boulders of rhyolite tuff, a rock formed in huge explosive volcanic eruptions, like St. Helens, but hundreds of times larger. The eastern Mojave Desert is an excellent habitat for the wrens, as the slightly higher elevations there produce more vegetation and therefore more insects for the birds to track down. The bird doesn't need open water, deriving what it needs from the food it eats.

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