Granite Dells Flora

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Click photos for more detail. I like the light on this one (above). It looks autumnal, which is what many of us are wishing for now.

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To (probably) finish up my Watson Lake-Granite Dells series, here is some of the flora we saw there.

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Cactus Flower

Previous Watson Lake posts (1, 2, 3, 4). Lotsa shots for a one day adventure in beautiful Prescott, AZ!

Granite Dells Wildlife

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Leeeeezards! Lots of them at Watson Lake. Click photos for more detail.

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Golden in the sunlight.

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Blue-tailed Skink. This one’s tail wasn’t very blue. But this one’s was (and also very long):

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They seem to be basically snakes with legs.

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Inter-species co-mingling.

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This is an Important Bird Area. Lots of them, too.

Duck at Watson

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Finch

This finch was pensively looking out over the water before he hopped to another tree and started looking at me.

Finch Front

And then there were these little guys, a whole loud, chirping flock of them, darting from tree to tree, hanging upside down on branches, acting silly, barely holding still for a second so we could get some shots of them. They were so cute, fluffy and pudgy, and it turns out they are Bushtits, known for traveling in flocks, being loud, and hanging upside down to eat insects.

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Curious, too.

Bushtit 3

Bushtit 2

And we saw several very large black and yellow butterflies, a kind I’ve never seen before but they were very camera shy so we just got this guy, who is a Cabbage White Sulphur, I think.

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This combined with my last post of dragonflies and ladybugs concludes the wildlife portion of my Watson Lake series. There may still be a flora post to come.

Damsels, Dragons, Ladies

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Who would have thought when Tony took this photo in our backyard a few days ago that the very next day we would come upon a ton more dragonflies at Watson Lake? This one above is a Variegated Meadowhawk…I’m amazed at the colors he has when studied closely. Click photos for more detail.

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I love identifying unknown-to-me wildlife but I’m having difficulty ID’ing several of these dragonflies even on this site dedicated to Arizona Dragonflies (of which there are a countless amount).

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These Familiar Bluets were all over the place. There are several varieties of bluets but I think I have correctly identified this type.

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I am going to ask The Dragonfly Woman (an aquatic entomologist with a blogging habit) if she’ll drop over and tell me what they are…she used to live in AZ so I’m sure she can promptly identify them.

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This one’s wings shimmered like diamonds in the sunlight.

"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille."
“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”

And this little ladybug was originally going to be in my next post about other wildlife we saw at Watson Lake but she would have been the only insect represented so here she is now.

Ladybug

Watson Lake, Part 2

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The photos in Part 1 were taken overlooking Watson Lake. Some of these will be down at lake level.

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Watson Lake is one of two reservoirs at the Granite Dells, outside of Prescott, Arizona, that was formed in the early 1900s when the Chino Valley Irrigation District built a dam on Granite Creek. The City of Prescott bought the reservoir and surrounding land in 1997 to preserve it as recreational land. Local rockclimbers use the granite cliffs above and adjacent to the lake for top-roping and lead climbing. (Wikipedia)

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Might not want to stick your hand in there...
Might not want to stick your hand in there…

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And, before we leave, a few more views from higher up…

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We also took a quick drive over to neighboring Willow Lake but there were ants all over the place and, since I get bit plenty by ants in my own yard, it didn’t seem that fun. I know there must be parts of it that look like Watson Lake but this is the only part we saw. Maybe another time…

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The next couple of posts will feature some of the lovely and interesting wildlife we encountered. Stay tuned…

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Watson Lake, Part 1

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Now that summer is almost over, we took our first summer roadtrip of the year. This is Watson Lake, north of Prescott, AZ, part of the Granite Dells. I had never been there but had seen photos and it looked intriguing. Click on photos for more detail.

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This place is so unusual, different, and strangely beautiful! The Granite Dells is a geological feature north of Prescott, Arizona. The Dells consist of exposed bedrock and large boulders of granite that have eroded into an unusual lumpy, rippled appearance. Watson Lake and Willow Lake are small man-made reservoirs in this formation; these, combined with numerous hiking & biking trails and rockclimbing routes, make it a popular outdoor recreation area in the region. (Wikipedia)

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The dam.

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Cormorant coming in for a landing.
Cormorant coming in for a landing.
Cormorant airing his wings on his own little island.
Cormorant airing his wings on his own little island.
Joined by a friend.
Joined by a friend.

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Preaching to the choir.
Preaching to the choir.

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The precambrian Dells’ granite has been dated at 1.4 billion years old. Its pluton was intruded at a depth of around one or two miles (1.6 to 3.2 km). These cover rocks have since been eroded away. Weathering along joints produced the rounded boulders and other unusual rock formations that characterize the Granite Dells. This process is called spheroidal weathering, and is common in granitic terrains. (Wikipedia)

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Kayaks seem to be the boat of choice.

Our partly cloudy afternoon there provided me with plenty of photos for several blog posts to come so I hope you find it at least a little fascinating in its uniqueness. Stay tuned for close-ups of the lake, the boulders, and the pretty flora and fauna of the area. Here are all these photos in a slideshow:

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