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Roger Hamilton spoke on Deserts and Arid Lands

Posted by on in Guest Speakers at Ace
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Deserts do not all consist of the romantic image of sand and sand dunes. Many are made of gravel, mountains, dried river valleys, salt pans and sometimes oases.

Deserts are usually very hot places with temperatures between 35 to 70 They receive less than 10” of annual rainfall, which includes parts of East Anglia in England and Spain.

bobcat20copyWhen it does rain the desert blooms like the Californian Poppy. Plants survive like the Yucca by putting down deep roots and slow growth. Most have thick skin with sharp thorns that covers a succulent centre within.

In the Sonoran Desert in western USA a moth lays its eggs on the cactus and the larva bore their way in. This leads to bacterial infections and rot that can eventually lead to access for woodpeckers and nesting birds like the Elf Owl.

Roger showed us pictures and spoke about the Cactus Wren, humming birds, the Road Runner, toads, spiders, scorpions, lizards, Diamond Backed Rattle Snakes, jack rabbits, jackals, big horned sheep and Pumas. A wonderful natural population that are at home in these challenging places.

He explained the danger of introducing non-native species like the South African Gemsbok that has no natural predators in the Sonoran Desert and populations have exploded.
We saw the dwellings of ancient native people whose houses were built into cool caves.

Roger’s talk provided us with an excellent visit to these hot, arid, forbidding places, which we enjoyed very much.



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Guest Thursday, 17 January 2019