This past Saturday, E and I took a Sunday drive. We got out into the desert, to look for things. Normally, April is a good time of year for wildflowers, but due to the late freezes this year’s show is a bit sporadic — some things, like the Paloverde trees, are spectacular. All over the desert (including in our yard) they’ve been like long-lasting fireworks-bursts of yellow against the blue sky. But the more delicate, ephemeral blooms have been absent or delayed. Luckily, in the desert there’s always something to find, showy or not, even when it nearly blends into its surroundings, like the Rock wren on the previous post (have you spotted it yet?).
And like this stone-colored wild burro, grazing in a cobbly wash off of the Castle Hotsprings Road, NW of Phoenix. She was standing out in the open so calmly we nearly drove by, thinking she belonged to a nearby cabin — we only stopped when we realized she wasn’t hobbled. We’d seen wild burros up here before on a hike — the Lake Pleasant area is famous for them — but this jenny wasn’t far off the road, and although she was watchful of us, she didn’t run. Like the Rock wren, wild burros are often heard before they’re seen; our last sighting commenced with loud, unearthly braying coming from a ridge behind us. When a dog at the cabin started barking at us, this jenny turned and gave it a very loud, nostrilly huff of warning and airy disapproval of its racket, then she moved up the wash in search of greener, quieter forage.
(All photos A.Shock)