20 January 2011

seasonal variations

December 25th was a fun day for Anakin; it would have been our annual card if those [expletive deleted] park ducks hadn't been in the photo. Sigh. Anyway, the pup enjoyed the crisp weather - it's good for playing fetch and chewing on sticks. Regal looking fellow, isn't he?

January 11th, Marathon was ridiculously cold. Barely any frost on the car windows though, so there was little excitement in town. Driving into Alpine, however, was a completely different story! When you drive west from Marathon along Hwy 90, the road bends to the north at "Altuda Pass" (Altuda at least being the local name for the mountain at the bend) and apparently that's as far as the frozen fog had gotten. Everything beyond the bend towards Alpine was frosted, foggy and white. On the way back to Marathon I snapped this photo (and you can see the slope behind the tree, rising up toward Altuda itself).

On the 19th, it was a balmy closer-to-80 along the Rio Grande, so we took advantage of a Loggerhead Shrike being called a Northern to go investigate. This is the overlook trail at Daniel's Ranch, above Crissal Thrashers and where the Tufted Flycatcher used to hang out.

Of course, today's high was 45 and the wind was a steady 20 mph with gusts over 30 all morning... And for a warmer mental image, here's some prickly pear variety the Lost Mine Trail while the weather was cooperative:

...so the question: is it a purple prickly pear? Or is it a green prickly pear? Or are they two (or three, or four) plants growing close together with complete disregard to their pigmentation? Any prickly experts out there care to comment??


  1. Love the photo of the frost on the trees - looks like it was a hoar frost, if I am not mistaken.

  2. the change in pigment is an indicator of stress...drought.

  3. Anon - interesting that this cluster would be so multicolored when other pricklies nearby would be green, I guess they're just in a thirstier spot!