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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Saguaro National Park and a Rare Sighting?


Well…I’m here to tell ya’ - it does indeed make sense to visit the same place at another time in a particular month, particularly in Arizona.

When we first visited Saguaro (West) National Park last year it was in early February. This time it was later in the month and of…my…goodness…what a difference! Actual desert flowering and a bonus with unusual critter sightings, and lots of birds. 

It has been my hope to see the “desert in bloom” and I think we did…well I actually think it’s as close as I’m going to get as it all depends on of the temperature and rainfall in any given year. So exciting as one can get with one has…I’m going with it! 

We packed a little lunch and headed out for another day of exploration. After a visit to the Red Hills visitor center, we drove along the Scenic Loop Drive finding a little picnic area near Signal Hill and the Hohokam Petroglyphs, we hiked up to see them.

STOP!!!! Do you see it? Can it be? A Bobcat…we’ve never seen a Bobcat in the wild, and this one is right in front of us, perched on the top of a peak. WOW! WOW! WOW!

We slowly approached, getting a little higher, and then stopping to take pictures of our discovery, continued on a little higher and a little closer. How amazing! It’s just sitting there! We again started our ascent all the while getting closer and closer. Astonishing! Fantastic! Wait…stop…it’s going to jump down!!!

And “it” does – as it leaps down on to the rocks below we see a fluffy ringed tail. Hold on…Bobcats don’t have a tail with rings around it. Were we wrong? What was it? A Raccoon? Nope – a Giant Squirrel? Nope – well if we all take an oath it could be a Bobcat! Ha! Ha!

So in the end we don’t really have any clue. After various Google searches we have narrowed it down to a Coati, or a Ringtail Cat. It was certainly large…and needless to say mysterious. Maybe you can help with the often “fuzzy pictures!”

Well, after all that excitement we got to see some great 1000-year-old petroglyphs created by the prehistoric Hokokam people.

On the way back to Catalina we decided to stop at the International Wildlife Museum – Who knew? If you are part of the anti-fur movement this probably is not a place for you. Started by C. J. McElroy (one of the founders of Safari International) in 1988 the museum highlights over 400 species of insects, mammals and birds from around the world – all donated by various government agencies, wildlife rehabilitation centers, captive breeding programs, zoos and individuals.

As it turns out this was a happy surprise and turned out to be very interesting and informative. 

We all enjoyed a lot of laughs, and an entertaining day.

More photos here.

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