Cochineal is a scale insect and is found on prickly pear cactus, Opuntia engelmanii. As a rasping, sucking insect, it feeds on the tasty juices of the cactus. It produces a cottony white covering to protect itself from predators.
If you can, avoid being in the sun during the hottest part of the day, usually between 2-4:30 p.m. Phil Hardberger Park doesn't close until sunset, so make use of the longer days and come check out the park in the evening.
Plastic tarps are appearing around the park again. They are being used for a process called solarization.
A handy guide to a few critters that should be avoided in the park.
One of the most commonly seen raptors at Phil Hardberger Park, the Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) frequents heavily wooded areas, periodically making appearances at clearings in search of food.
You may have noticed plastic tarps on the ground in the West side of the park in the grassy drainage channel near the parking lots. These have been put down as part of a project that aims to control invasive grass species in and around the park’s native grasslands.
Have you ever noticed these blue-purple berries on cedar trees (also known as Ashe junipers) around the park? Although small, they play a huge role in the park’s ecosystem and greater surrounding area.