On Friday we took a trip down to a couple of national monuments, Montezuma Castle (amazing cliff ruins, occupied 1250-1400 AD) and Montezuma Well, the result of the collapse of a limestone cave that created a huge well filled with warm, fresh water, it's like an oasis, it was amazing.

    I'm an anthropology minor so all the Pueblo ruins were fascinating, but the wildlife was what really made the day great, I added a two new mammals to my life list, and a few birds and lizards as well. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

    Botta's pocket gopher (Thomomys bottae):

    Rock squirrel (Spermophilus variegatus):

    Common Merganser (Mergus merganser), female with brood:

    Cave swallows (my pictures if of the nests, couldn't get a good shot of the birds so the bird pictures is from the Cornell site), Petrochilidon fulva:

    We also saw Canyon Wrens (Catherpes mexicanus) and Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambellii) at Montezuma Well, but I couldn't get my own pictures, credit to the Cornell site for these:

    Overall it was an awesome day, I love Western habitats, I wish more people realized how rich the "desert" is in biodiversity!