Monthly Archives: March 2014

Tundra swans making a pit stop in southeast Michigan

Tundra swans (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Cygnus columbianus) spend their winters near parts of the east and west coasts of the United States. In spring they migrate northward near the arctic circle to mate and raise their young. The other day just over … Continue reading

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Tundra swans

The other day my parents’ southeast Michigan farm received an uncommon visit by a bevy of tundra swans (Anseriformes: Anatidae: Cygnus columbianus). Fed by the melt of our record-breaking snowfall, the flooded field must have presented a welcome resting area for … Continue reading

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Ranking and Reflecting on our National Parks at the Halfway Point

Last month I finally passed the halfway point of seeing all 59 national parks in the United States (31 down, 28 to go). This seems like an appropriate time to pause and reflect on past visits. I thought I would provide … Continue reading

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Guadalupe Mountains National Park

The arid plains of west Texas may be the last place that would evoke images of a marine environment, yet two hours east of El Paso you can find just that. Guadalupe Mountains National Park preserves one of the best … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Ocotillo

Native to the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens, Fouquieriaceae) can be found from California to Texas and in adjacent areas of Mexico. These rather unique organisms make up one of only eleven species in their entire family. Throughout most of the year … Continue reading

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Common side-blotched lizard

Common side-blotched lizards (Squamata: Phrynosomatidae: Uta stansburiana) can be found throughout much of the western United States and Mexico. They are abundant in arid and semi-arid regions, and are frequently encountered in rocky and sandy areas of desert shrublands and pinyon-juniper … Continue reading

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Big Bend National Park: Day 3, Epilogue

After the first two days at Big Bend National Park had us baking under abundant sunshine and highs around 86 degrees F (30 C), day three found my wife and I under very different conditions. We set out north from … Continue reading

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