Saturday, February 7, 2015

I have just enough time to make my way to the raptor viewing area.  Today they will be flying two; the Barn Owl and the Harris's Hawk. 

I'm a bit perplexed as I always thought barn owls were nocturnal.  Captivity perks?

Specializing in rodent prey and catching up to 2,000 mice per year, this owl hunts in the darkest of night relying almost solely on their hearing.  Like most other owls, their ears are asymmetrical on their head - one ear is higher than the other.  This allows the owl to triangulate the sound and catch prey in a 3 dimensional space. 

Harris's Hawk are unique hunters in the raptor world.  They work in pairs and often groups, chasing prey out of cover and into the talons of other members.   Although Harris's Hawk is found in the southern half of Arizona, southwest New Mexico, southern Texas and all through Mexico, and South America, cooperative hunting is only observed in the Sonoran region of their range.

Two to three million years ago the southwestern
landscape was filled with giant land tortoises that
have since gone extinct.
With my top 3 checked off, I am at my leisure to wander around the rest of the property, poking my head into all kinds of nooks and crannies. 

The largest cactus in the world is the candelabro
from the states of Puebla, Oaxaca, and Guerrero, Mexico.

It's rounding 2 o'clock and I stop for a salad at the Ironwood Terraces Restaurant, a casual multi-station food court.  Next door at the tableclothed Ocotillo, I notice a sign advertising Prickly Pear Margaritas. How intriguing!  It's too early for me, but I vow to treat myself to one at the end of the day.

Bighorn Sheep
I continue to learn, explore and experience this outdoor wonderland and now understand why it is a favorite.

It's nearing closing time, so I head back for that Prickly Pear Margarita sunset, only to find the doors closed.  Oh bahh!  This can't be the only restaurant that serves them.  I ask Kitt to find me the best one in town and she tells me they're at El Charro's.  I follow her lead and am there in two shakes of a lamb's tail.


1 comment:

  1. I wonder which Sonoran hawk had the idea first, and how did it talk the others into it?