Saturday, December 7, 2013

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

I had never heard of Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park but I wanted a campground close to Zion NP for a few days so I checked it out online when I was planning my trip.  I was thrilled to see that is the home of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle found no where else in the world.  Tiger Beetles are named for their fierceness like the 12 Spotted Tiger Beetle common to my area. There are a little more than 100 species in the US.

This tiger beetle, Cicindela albissima is one of the rarest insects in the United States and has been on the Endangered Species list since 1996.  It has one of the smallest geographic ranges of any insect and is only found within a small protion of the seven-mile long Coral Pink Sand Dunes ecosystem.  Armed with lots of information about this beetle I really had no trouble finding several but one does need to know what to look for. The photo below is truer to the real color.

Besides the Tiger Beetle the sand dunes here are very beautiful to look at. The one draw back for me is that there is a lot of off road vehicles allowed in the park in restricted areas but the sound is still everywhere.  During the week it wasn't so bad. It is such a popular activity and at times I too wished I had access to one so I could explore more. It is one of those issues that give conflict with my own values and thoughts.

Here area a couple of lizzards I found.  I think the first one is Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) and the second is a Sagebrush lizzard.

I even found a jumping spider in this desert but I haven't figured out what species it is.  If someone had asked me if there were jumping spiders here I probably would have said no, but I learned something new every day.

Here is a Juniper Titmouse I spotted in the campground.

One on afternoon as I was walking along the road I saw this Striped Whipsnake crossing the road.

I think it has a very pretty head.

If you have trouble finding a campsite at Zion National Park I recommend this state park near by.

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