Volcanoes Trails: 5/31/15

This morning, we went for a hike along the Volcanoes Day Use area on the west side of Albuquerque, NM. There are five volcanoes in this area, and we took trails around three of them. All five were formed by a crack in the Rio Grande Rift, which runs north/south through this region.

The volcanoes in this region formed the West Mesa, the high plateau on the west side of town.

Looking east, you can see the city of Albuquerque.

The volcanoes themselves are small, but impressive. You can see that the igneous rock has not changed much since it cooled, though there is some plant life growing on it. Years ago, this area was mined for decorative lava rock, and we walked past the old quarry on our hike.

The trail itself is steep in places, though most were at the grade shown below or less, if you walk around the volcanoes. If you climb to the top, the grade is much steeper.

Along the hike, we also saw 87 lizards. We counted. Of these, there were at least four different types. We saw several of these collared lizards:

one of these red and green lizards that runs high on its hind legs…

a horny toad…

and the balance were long-tailed brown and blue lizards like we have in the backyard.

We took a trail through a quarry road cut, and perched up high were four owls. I’ve never seen so many owls together like this. I took a few photos, and then one flew to get out of the sun. I thought the owl was going to chase a bird, but the bird saw the owl and started making all sorts of noise.

On our return trip to the car, we found several areas of road that looked like they had been walked over with golf shoes. The entire path was filled with 1/4 inch holes in the ground, and tons of honey bees flying around. We stopped and watched for a few minutes, as the honey bees were paying us no mind. As it turns out, honey bee larva were making their way to the surface, and the other honey bees were helping them out of the holes. Once a honey bee was out, it broke free of the larvae shell, and sat on the ground for a few minutes to dry off and stretch its wings. After five or ten minutes, the bee would fly about and join the others. Here is a photo of one bee poking above the surface. We watched probably ten of these in amazement.

I also took three videos of them as well. I will post these later, after I upload them to YouTube.

Thank you for reading my post!

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4 Responses to Volcanoes Trails: 5/31/15

  1. SBee says:

    Amazing photos!! Fun fact: ground-nesting bees don’t make honey, but they are great pollinators and are not aggressive 🙂

    • n3mra says:

      When I went back home, I read about them on a bee site. They are pretty neat! They paid us no mind in the time we were there.

      Thank you for the comment!

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