Sunday, August 14, 2011


 We were out in our archaeological monitoring area last week.

Wow! Amazing what a bit a rain does to and for the desert.

So many little vines and tiny plants blooming: the true desert poppies with their bright gold petals, barrel cactus with luscious red and orange flowers, pink trailing 4 o’clocks and the very sweet smelling devils claw (the Tohono o’odham use the seed pod in their basket making).
Some of the trees were in full flower: Sweet acacia and Creosote the most conspicuous. Tamarisk (salt cedar) too with it lovely pink plumes of flowers - a pity this Russian plant is such a scourge in riparian areas. It grows so thick it forms a barrier to wild life. Heck even birds can’t deal with it, and man can’t get rid of it.

Then there were the caterpillars! They were about 3 inches long, yellow and fat. I stopped to watch one as it dug a hole. 

Huh? Caterpillar digging?

Yep! It really was digging. I called my crewmates over to see and we were stunned and mesmerized.

The dig was more like digging a cave or over hang - not straight down but digging horizontally just ¼ inch under the ground. We watched it shove the dirt aside and move into the ‘cave’ (overhang). As we left that caterpillar and moved on we saw more of them doing the same thing.

We should have had video equipment with us so all could view this astounding sight, as we are sure no one will believe us!

Excavation/digging without a permit is a felony offense you know. Hmm-- this would never hold up in court!

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