Javelina are also known as collard peccary and they are simliar to wild boar. These are quite friendly and they visit here regularly for food scraps.
We also got a special treat when we got to watch a hummingbird come to visit. Nicholas captured him on this video below:
It is called the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum but it is really more like a zoo and a botanical garden. It is amazing!
We arrived just in time for raptor free flight demonstrations. They can include hawks, falcons, ravens, and owls. They were beautiful to watch. I'm amazed that they fly in and out of the viewing area unleashed. They are well-trained on how to perform for the audience.
Here is the closest picture we got of one. It is a Harris Hawk. They are very social birds and often fly in groups and work together on nest building.
I found a blooming ocotillo cactus. One of my favorites.
The animals were in zoo like enclosures. Some were cage-like and others, like this cute little gray fox, were enclosures you could look down into or peer at through a window.
We all took a moment to gaze at this bobcat. We recently had a bobcat come into our backyard and eat one of our chickens. It looks much like a regular house cat except much bigger and stockier.
I'm not sure what kind of cactus this is but it's long waving arms out to the side make me think of Doctor Octopus from Spiderman.
The kids found an adorable little desert otter climbing on the rocks.
There are little ramadas (or kiosks) set up around the trails. I was excited to find a jojoba ramada. I love jojoba and use it in some of my natural skin care recipes. So I was happy to learn all about the plant itself.
What an interesting plant. Its leaves stand upright and the female plants have flowers that hang down below.
A nearby male plant will pollinate the female's flower and it will become a seed. The seed is what is used to make the jojoba I buy at the store. It's really a fascinating and beautiful plant.
This picture below is a beautifully blooming agave. They are monocarpic which means they will bloom once and then die. What a unique plant!
Lots of baby agaves waiting to grow up.
At first I thought this next cactus was a Christmas Cactus because of the sections in its arms but it is not. It is called a Hummingbird Nopal.
Look at those buds waiting to bloom! I bet it is so pretty when these blooms are all opened up.
One of the many creature Nicholas had hoped to find in the desert was the tailless whip scorpion. He didn't find one on our hike this morning but he did get to see a live one on display at the museum. They are lacking the tail that is so commonly thought of with scorpions. I wasn't able to get a good picture of its face and pincers. They are scary looking but the tailless whip scorpion is actually harmless to humans.
Nicholas has learned a lot about the desert centipede from watching Coyote Peterson on the Brave Wilderness You Tube channel. Here is one of his videos:
We continued on through the museum. We learned about vultures.
We watched the cute little prairie dogs scamper around their habitat. Rachel wanted one to keep for a pet!
Who knew there could be so many flowers in a desert? March is actually the beginning on the Sonoran Desert's wildflower season. Yes, this desert has a wildflower season. I'm just so fascinated by this concept!
This cool scorpion display demonstrates how scorpions fluoresce under UV light which can include blacklight as well as natural moonlight. The picture on the left is of a scorpion in regular light. The picture on the right shows him under UV light.
I found this beautiful aloe plant. I love the mathematical wonder of the fibonacci sequence in its leaf arrangement.
Look how tall this cactus shoots up!
Here is a closer picture of the smaller one closer to the ground. What a gnarly sight!
Everything in the desert is pokey and thorny.
Here is picture of a palo verde tree branch. This is the state tree of Arizona. It is spindly looking and so uniquely green all over. It didn't appeal to me when I first saw it in the desert yesterday but now I've seen many of them and they are starting to grow on me.
I found a mama hummingbird sitting on a nest! That was the most amazing sight to see!
This picture below shows a dark bodied hummingbird with an orange beak. I think it may be a Broad-billed hummingbird but I'm not sure. I wish I had known that we would see so many different hummingbirds in the desert. I would have done more research to learn more about the different species found here before we came.
This cactus below is a silver torch cactus. It can grow 8-10 feet tall but I think one is taller than that.
This is a type of torch cactus and soon it will have amazingly colorful flowers blooming on it. I wish we were here just a little later in the season to see more flowers in bloom.