Articles written by Ernie Cowan
Sorted by date Results 1 - 25 of 75
Nature Watch: "Indigobush"
The colorful Schott's indigobush is one of those spring wildflowers that you might smell before you see it. This member of the pea family is also known as Schott's dalea and can be found in many areas of Anza-Borrego Desert State P... — Updated 6/27/2022
Nature Watch: "Bats"
As summer heat reaches triple digits, desert residents and visitors typically move their outdoor activities to evenings or after dark. In those fleeting moments of waning daylight, or in the glow of artificial lights, the... — Updated 6/13/2022
Nature Watch: "Verdin"
If Borrego Spring ever picks a town bird, the tiny verdin might be on the short list for consideration. The little gray bird with a yellow head is a permanent resident desert dweller found just about anywhere there are spiny... — Updated 6/2/2022
State Park to Resume Bighorn Sheep Count
Dedicated volunteers who spend some of the hottest days of summer at remote waterholes counting bighorn sheep are rejoicing at the announcement by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park that the annual census will return this year. Park... — Updated 5/27/2022
Nature Watch: "Ancient shoreline"
Standing in the desert sands at the rugged toe of the Fish Creek Mountains, it's hard to imagine this was once under water. But looking up, you see a line near the bottom of the bouldery mountain that marks the high water of an... — Updated 5/16/2022
Impacts of Climate Change, Not Debatable
Headlines that climate change is ravaging our desert, triggered the expected reaction of philosophical polarization but also the wrong debate. For the man who has lived here and devoted his working life to the plants and animals of Anza-Borrego, there should no longer be a... — Updated 5/10/2022
Wildflower Treasure Hunt
Some years the desert wildflower bloom is like a rich gold mine, with nuggets scattered just about everywhere you look. When there is no Super Bloom, like this year, there are still wildflowers to discover and enjoy, but it's more... — Updated 5/10/2022
Nature Watch: "Mud Caves"
There is something both dangerous and attractive about caves, and the barren badlands of Anza-Borrego Desert State offer both in a serpentine wash called Arroyo Tapiado. In Spanish, Arroyo Tapiado means "walled wash," which aptly... — Updated 5/3/2022
Nature Watch: "Creosote"
You might call the creosote bush the Ford of desert plants. They are not particularly fancy, they've been around a long time, and they can be found just about anywhere, in the desert at least. But the creosote bush provides food... — Updated 4/5/2022
Borrego Hawkwatch 2022
Any day now, you can expect Borrego Springs to see a flock of incoming visitors, and a well-organized welcoming committee is ready to greet them. These visitors make an annual appearance, but don't hit the traditional tourist... — Updated 4/4/2022
Nature Watch: "Roadrunner"
The iconic greater roadrunner is synonymous with the desert and thanks to the comical antics of The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, bring joyful excitement to visitors who spot one when in Borrego Springs or nearby Anza-Borrego... — Updated 3/18/2022
Nature Watch: "Flame Skimmer Dragonfly"
It was warm for a winter day in the desert and the shade offered by the wilderness palm oasis was a welcome relief from the desert sun. I dropped my day pack and settled down next to the small pool of water in the deep shade cast... — Updated 3/4/2022
Nature Watch: "Orcutt's woody aster"
Without more rain, and soon, the Motherlode of a wildflower Superbloom may not happen, but there are still nuggets to be found. Hikers willing to explore the pockets and alcoves of the desert are likely to discover some of the... — Updated 2/11/2022
Nature Watch: "Desert Holly"
Christmas snow might be rare here, but the arid sands of Anza-Borrego offer holiday cheer none-the-less in the form of a desert shrub with toothed leaves and tiny reddish fruit that resembles European holly. While unrelated to... — Updated 2/8/2022
Christmas Bird Count
The 37th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count is in the books, as more than 70 volunteer birders spread out around Borrego Springs Dec. 19 to conduct the yearly bird census. Count coordinators Mark Jorgensen and Bob Theriault said t... — Updated 1/24/2022
Nature Watch: "Northern Harrier"
I thought it might be a bush blowing across the desert in the strong winds last week near Hawk Canyon. Looking closer I spotted a northern harrier maneuvering just above ground level and being chased by an angry raven. This... — Updated 1/24/2022
Borrego Ham Radio Group Schedules Field Day Display
The Borrego Radio Amateur Membership Society (RAMS) wants to invite local amateur radio operators and the public to a display of ham radio communications during a club field day demonstration starting at 10 a.m. Jan. 22, at Christmas Circle. RAMS was recently formed by a group of... — Updated 1/13/2022
Nature Watch: Mule Deer
The morning sun was just beginning to sweep across the landscape as I came down Montezuma Grade around the sweeping curve into Culp Valley. My eye caught a large animal standing in the middle of the field. Slowing down and looking... — Updated 1/10/2022
Anza-Borrego Foundation Acquires Additional Land
Bri Fordem dreams of the day when Anza-Borrego Desert State Park becomes whole. With the help of a dedicated staff and an active Board of Directors, she is also working to see that dream come true through the recent acquisition of... — Updated 1/10/2022
Nature Watch: "Black-tailed gnatcatcher"
Like a tiny bouncing ball, the movement in the palo verde tree caught my eye. It was a black-tailed gnatcatcher and I stopped for a moment to see where it was going. Tucked into the thicket of green branches there was a tiny nest,... — Updated 12/29/2021
Nature Watch: "Long-eared owl"
There were these two beady eyes looking down at me through the thicket of tamarisk branches. I had inadvertently disturbed a sleeping long-eared owl who was comfortably tucked into a protective pocket in the trees at... — Updated 12/13/2021
Nature Watch: "iNaturalist"
It's desert season and both residents and desert visitors alike are returning to the many trails and wilderness routes that offer access to a fascinating natural world. Hikes will often encounter plants, birds, or other animals... — Updated 12/1/2021
Nature Watch: Raccoon
They look cute and cuddly, and these little masked bandits are wild critters that most people would expect to find in woods. But the common raccoon occupies a wide range of habitats from forest to scrub woodlands, urban neighborhoo... — Updated 11/12/2021
Nature Watch: Rock Wren
Hiking in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park can always be an adventure for the observant person, and there's a tiny bird to look for that can add to your adventure. Bouncing around on boulders with lots of energy, hikers are... — Updated 11/4/2021
Nature Watch: Black-throated Sparrow
Many birds seen in Anza-Borrego are migrating through or seasonal visitors, but the black-throated sparrow is a local resident that you will find most common in the desert southwest and northern Mexico. This true desert species is... — Updated 10/15/2021