Manzano Mountains State Park

One of the nice features of this small state park is its nature trail. But, everywhere in the park is a chance to bring you closer to nature. We got a brief education on some of the flora and fauna here.

Alligator Juniper named for the appearance of its bark.

Alligator Juniper named for the appearance of its bark.

Though when we first arrived I saw very few birds, it soon became apparent that many species were visiting this state park. This whole area of New Mexico is known for its large variety of birds. We were told about and finally saw the White Breasted Nuthatch. My husband also saw a Rufus Hummingbird.
After noticing the unusual appearance on some of the trees, we asked about them and found out they are called Alligator Juniper because of their strange bark.
Lots of flowers grow along the trails and may be wild but, many look cultivated and could be since the youth conservation group created the stone lined trail and most flowers grow close to its edge. They are for the most part dainty but, pretty in their purple, yellow, blue and fuchsia colors and really brighten the path.
My favorite discovery was the Abert Squirrel. At a distance you may mistake them for another critter. They have long tufts of hair on their ears that makes them look rabbit-like. They are often black with large furry tails that give them a skunk or chinchilla appearance. They seem quite tame and are often seen in the feeders with head out one end and tail out the other.

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Abert Squirrels from a distance look more like rabbits.

Abert Squirrels from a distance look more like rabbits.

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Of course with all the rocks, small gray lizards are everywhere, but, I caught a glimpse of a rather more interesting lizard. It was much larger and brown with an intricate pattern on its body. I’m not a reptile person and snake pictures can cause me to break out in a cold sweat, but I tried for four days to find one of these lizards again to capture it in a photo but, it just did not happen.
We really liked this little campground and soon discovered our fitness level was being quite challenged because their altitude was higher than even what we were used to in Colorado Springs.
I would recommend you visit this place if you are in the area.

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