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More than petroglyphs and a shade-seeking squirrel

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At Petroglyphs National Monument in Albuquerque on June 13th I saw plenty of flowering broom dalea plants (Dalea scoparia). Unlike the squirrel that tried to stay in the shade, these plants thrive in heat and bright sunlight. Here’s a closer look:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 20, 2017 at 5:02 AM

More than petroglyphs

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I photographed more than petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque on June 13th. Presumably to avoid the heat of the sun, this squirrel kept scrunching itself down into some of the narrow shadows cast by a picnic shelter.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 19, 2017 at 4:46 AM

Petroglyph National Monument again

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On June 13th we visited Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque for the second time, our previous visit having been in the fall of 2014. This time we walked a trail we hadn’t on that first visit, the Cliff Base Trail in Boca Negra Canyon.

The third picture gives you a feel for the desert landscape around there.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 18, 2017 at 4:59 AM

Petroglyphs

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After the recent posts with nature photographs from Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, a couple of people asked to see pictures of petroglyphs, so here goes. The first photograph is from September 23rd; the flowers at the base of the rock are broom snakeweed.

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This second picture is also from the Boca Negra Canyon section of Petroglyph National Monument on September 23rd. This time the plant at the lower right is a four-wing saltbush, Atriplex canescens.

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And here are some petroglyphs from September 30th at the Deer Valley Rock Art Center in northwest Phoenix. Note in the lower right what appear to be two male deer.

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© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 9, 2014 at 5:29 AM

Sometimes nature suggests human activity when there has been none.

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Sometimes nature suggests human activity even where there has been none. As soon as I saw these natural patterns at the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada on October 24th they reminded me of the petroglyphs you looked at last time.

Thanks to three commenters on that previous post, I now know that the darker markings on the stone shown here are likely to be desert varnish. The areas that tend toward black would have more manganese in them, and the reddish areas more iron. Live and learn.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 6, 2016 at 5:00 AM

What’s that on the flat rock?

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As intriguing as the rocks themselves are at the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, when we visited on October 24th we found that some of them also offer up traces of human activity from bygone ages. Click the excerpt below for a much-magnified look at the details on the flat rock.

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I wonder whether the ancient inhabitants darkened the surface of this rock so they could scrape it away to create those orange glyphs.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 5, 2016 at 4:54 AM

Four-wing saltbush

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Last November I temporarily stopped showing photographs from my September trip through parts of the American Southwest so that you could see some of the many things going on in nature in Austin during a colorful late-autumn. Now let me reach back and show some more pictures from my trip. Mixed in with those images are likely to be a few more-recent ones from Austin.

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In a November 9th post that showed petroglyphs in New Mexico and Arizona, the second photograph also let a four-wing saltbush plant creep in at the lower right. Melissablue said she was “tickled that we are still treated to botany.” At the time, Atriplex canescens was only “a member of the supporting cast,” as shoreacres put it, but now four-wing saltbush gets to play the starring role. The in-situ picture above and the closeup below of another specimen are from two sections of Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque on September 23, 2014.

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© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 7, 2015 at 5:24 AM

No snakes or brooms, but broom snakeweed

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In Petroglyph National Monument in northwest Albuquerque on September 23rd I saw plenty of broom snakeweed plants, Gutierrezia sarothrae, flowering away. This one in the Piedras Marcadas section of the national monument appealed to me because of its contrast with the darker boulders it was growing among. Notice the sand sagebrush about a quarter of the way down the left edge of the picture (in fact if you follow the link to that post from a few weeks ago, you’ll see there was a broom snakeweed plant flowering behind the more conspicuous sand sagebrush).

Although broom snakeweed is listed for the county I live in in central Texas, it’s not common there, so I was happy to find it flowering in large numbers 700 miles northwest of home. If you’d like to see the distribution by states and counties, the USDA map will show it to you.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 4, 2014 at 5:33 AM

Hoary tansyasters

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One of the most conspicuous plants I saw flowering in many places around Albuquerque was the hoary tansyaster, formerly known scientifically as Machaeranthera canescens and now as Dieteria canescens. By whatever name, vernacular or botanical, these flowers surprised my by flourishing and being so widespread in the dry climate of central New Mexico, because I’d always associated asters with more moisture than a desert provides: shows how much I know.

Today’s view is from Petroglyph National Monument in northwest Albuquerque on September 23rd. Tomorrow’s post will skip ahead two days to southwestern Colorado and quite a different source of color.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 19, 2014 at 5:46 AM

Apache plume really is in the rose family

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In case you’re having trouble believing that the plant you saw last time, the Apache plume with all the swirly strands, really is in the rose family, this picture of one of the plant’s flowers might convince you. Perhaps the paradoxa in the scientific name Fallugia paradoxa is a reflection of that surprising reality.

Like the previous photograph, this one comes from Petroglyph National Monument in northwest Albuquerque on September 23rd.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 18, 2014 at 1:32 PM

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