Joshua Tree National Park

This national park is a land of palm oasis, "forests" of Joshua Tree's and cholla cactus covered hills. The northern portion of the park tends to be covered more with the plant bearing the park's name, while the southern portion tends to be an area filled mainly with various cactuses and isolated palm oasis.

Species like Gambel's Quail, Greater Roadrunner and Scott's Orioles make the desert areas home, while White-throated swifts zip around overhead. The oasis provide home for many species that require slighly less dry environments. Species like Hooded Oriole, Summer Tanager, Lawrence's Goldfinch, Canyon Wren, Gambel's Quail, Costa's Hummingbird, Phainopepla and Black-throated Sparrows can be found at the appropriate time of year.

On a recent July trip through the northern portion of the park, accessed from Twentynine Palms and J. Tree on the north border of the park, I saw such species as Scott's Oriole, Western Kingbird, Greater Roadrunner, Bendire's Thrasher, Black-throated Sparrow, and Ladder-backed Woodpecker. I also observed the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that has taken up a long-term stay at Luckie Park in Twentynine Palms, located directly north of the Twentynine Palms entrance to the National Park, on the same road.

Directions: The west entrance to the park is located five miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Park Boulevard at J.T. Village, the north entrance is in Twentynine Palms, three miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Utah Trail and the south entrance at Cottonwood Spring, which lies 25 miles east of Indio, can be approached from the east or west, also via Interstate 10.

National Park website

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