Monday, July 28, 2008

Desert Destination: Kane Spring

Out in the desert, between two roads, is a solitary Russian olive tree. Russian olive trees only grow where there is water, so I knew there had to be some water there. I even learned the name of the spring that was supporting the tree, but it took many years to finally go visit it. And then last week, I did.

The first thing I saw when we got out of the truck was the sign reading Kane Spr and the old watering trough, now empty. This didn't look too promising. Was the spring still around?

I started circling around the tree and eventually came to a wet area with lots of watercress. Being an ecologist, I pulled up a handful and began examining the roots to see what little critters I could find.

After just a moment searching, I found what I was hoping to find, a tiny springsnail. The water in this spring had been flowing for thousands of years, because this little snail certainly couldn't have crawled from the nearest spring, which was probably at least five miles away.

The spring channel led to this little pond. I was amazed that I hadn't seen it in the first place! The vegetation around it grows so tall that you can't see it from where we parked. 

A large bird flew by, letting us know that the spring wasn't home just for springsnails. It looked like an owl, and I started searching for sign. See the background of the photo? There isn't a single tree in sight.

Up in the tree was a large nest, but I couldn't see anything in it.

The owl came back and landed on a tree branch. I could see that it was a long-eared owl. Wow! This desert spring was definitely worth the stop.


I Am Woody said...

Wow, definitely worth the stop!!

Anonymous said...

Cool owl!

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago we had an owl in the park next to our house. Never did see him, but I sure did miss his whoooting when he finally moved on. Uncle Terry had an owl perch on a window sill of his high school, many, many moons ago, in downtown Chicago.


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