Flora and fauna of the high plateau desert

Lesley’s turn…

Our second day at Capitol Reef has been a welcome opportunity to recover from the strenuous walk/climb of the previous day and review some of the animals and plants we have seen in this area.

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There are hundreds of miles of high plateau desert, sometimes quite barren, but more often with juniper and pine trees growing about 12 feet apart, so their roots don’t compete for the small amounts of water. They are stunted and twisted and between them are scattered grasses, cacti and flowering plants, none in profusion, but their bright colours catch the eye. The claret cup cactus is lovely

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And this collage of some of the others shows the variety at this time of year.

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Today we drove along an unpaved road in the Capitol Gorge, and then walked between dramatic, towering cliffs as the gorge narrowed. Here we saw lizards, large and small

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And a rare sighting of a swallowtail butterfly (there aren’t many flying insects)

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The song birds are lovely, with evocative names like mountain chickadee, blue-grey gnatcatcher, and pygmy nuthatch, but a pretty grey bird with crimson breast and brow and a most melodious song has the prosaic name of house finch.
Up on the mountain yesterday James was quick to spot a peregrine falcon, and a humming bird zig zagging about, and one snake, so far unidentified, which posed nicely to have its photograph taken.

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2 thoughts on “Flora and fauna of the high plateau desert”

    1. Don’t worry, Megan, it was quite a small snake. And it only looks close because I used the telephoto on my camera. It was well below the path and we gave it a very wide berth.
      When I showed the picture to the park ranger in the Visitor Centre the next day he couldn’t find it in his book of wildlife, but it certainly wasn’t a rattlesnake!

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