For Love of  Nature 


         Everyone's country, region, county, hometown, takes a certain amount of pride in their wonderful flora and fauna. We show off on our license plates, bumper stickers, postcards, and post pics on social media. Awww, so cute.
       New Mexico may seem like a desert, but it too has a generous bounty of plants and wildlife to excite the nature watcher while driving along our spacious and historic highways. Heard of Route 66? We are known for coyotes and wolves and bobcats, but it unlikely you will see one of these shy creatures.           
        However, playful foxes share their neighborhood, and they can sometimes be spotted joyfully playing tag in the fields along Rio Grande. I say joyfully because I could have sworn they were laughing as their little eyes shown so brightly. Can wild animals look happy? It seems so.

 
 

             Along that same Rio Grande road, you might see Canadian geese that have migrated south for the winter. They can be found in different places around Albuquerque, you just have to know where to look. Open fields that have been harvested and might contain left over grain are good places to check, and there are quite a few scattered throughout the town and South Valley area.
        Below Rio Grande Boulevard on Candelaria Ave. and toward the river is another of their favorite stopovers, the Rio Grande Nature Center. The geese like to sleep over there and then visit other areas after breakfast.
 
          When I saw these curious cuties one morning, they were watching the cars driving along Rio Grande Boulevard.
 
          This magnificent hawk is usually seen swooping high above fields in search of prey, but on a recent sighting he too was watching the traffic. Right, left, right, left, or maybe he was counting all the red cars.
          I always get a little excited when I spot one of our state birds, the Roadrunner. Despite his popularity, he isn’t always easy to find. One reason is his desert camouflage. His brown and tan feathers are a close match to the territory where he hangs out. He blends right in to the red dirt roads and wild plants in New Mexico.
 
          Indigenous plants abound in this high dessert locality, but once again, you need a little experience to find them. They are usually hiding in plain sight and you might consider them more of a weed, like the plant called Indian tea and botanically known as Ephedra. My neighbors helped me, and now I see the plant everywhere. There are different types of ephedra, and this safe variety has been useful to the locals for centuries. Its long stringy stems, and little yellow flowers can be brewed to make a tummy settling tea.
 
 
          Nature lovers will find something for their cameras and journals almost anywhere and everywhere in New Mexico.
Photo credits: Bing Images