Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scaled Quail Among Ancient Pictographs

Hueco Tanks State Park has the largest collection of pictographs in North America dating back thousands of years. Many of the rocks and pictographs have been severely vandalized and, today, visitation to the Park is tightly controlled and reservations are recommended. The park staff also require the watching of an instructional video before permitting admittance so future vandalism may be curtailed. The paleo-indians and other indigenous peoples to whom this place was so special created something unique with their pictographs that deserves careful preservation for future generations.

And, this venue also has scaled quail:


Walking the trails, this shy game bird flew directly ahead of me and then hid under a bush. A game of "hide and seek" ensued [bird hiding; me seeking] with the quail too coy to fly or enter open ground. Scaled quail have a range restricted to the Southwest; and, while their populations have declined, they are not considered threatened. After braving the thorns of several fierce cacti to get the best vantage point for a clear shot, the cooperative quail relented and gave good, though fleeting, views.

Other birds seen included loggerhead shrike, thrashers, sparrows and other desert scrub dwellers.


The park is famous also for the huecos which are natural "tanks" that collect rain water and provide  an oasis in the middle of the desert. This attracts all kinds of wildlife in addition to avifauna.


And, apart from the scaled quail and shrike, a texas crevice spiny lizard was briefly seen before it appropriately escaped into a crevice.

Identification quiz: this bird was seen in small flocks feeding at Hueco Tanks:



Please enter your answer (or guess) in the comments section if you recognize the bird!

Finally, the pictographs for which this park is famous:








Hueco tanks offers more than just birds and deserves a prominent place on every traveler's itinerary to the Southwest.



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