Friday, February 27, 2015

Back to Sunshine at Sabino on Ned's Nature Walk

We can't recommend Ned's Nature Walks too highly.  He gathers together a supreme group of volunteer naturalists who together seem to know everything there is to know about the canyon and its fauna and flora.  And you can also get a great review from Anne Green's blog Your Daily Dose of Sabino Canyon

I was super pleased to note that today's edition included two photos by Ned Harris that were pretty much the same as the ones I took during the walk. They were of spring mustards that Anne is particularly fond of.  You can see why below.
Silverbells or Jewel Flower

Lacepod Mustard

We all stopped to view and listen to this fellow.

Lesser Goldfinch
Another fairly new flowering was the Toadflax.  See its large back flower, two wings, and a larger central rudder. 



These guys are getting more and more prevalent as they join the Brittlebush in the "yellow" category.

Mexican Gold Poppies
Just beginning are the lupines.  There are two major kinds in the Canyon.

Desert Lupine left Elegant Lupine right (not flowering yet)

I am for some reason enamored of these tiny little brown pods.  Their mathematical symmetry is astounding.

Indian Mallow Seedpods

The silverpuffs and caliche globe mallows are large enough to really catch your eye with their vivid colors and the Chicory also stands out as a separate bloom.. 


Globe Mallow


Fred, our all purpose butterfly, bird, and everything sort of guy took a few of us back along the rougher Bluff Trail and pointed out some special things.

Why is Sabino Creek sort of brownish in color?  Because of the tannins deposited upstream by the oak leaves.

He also spotlighted some ferns nestled back in the bluff's walls that we never would have noticed.

Fairy Spears and Spiny Cliff Brake Ferns. The spears have the pointed tips

Wavy Cloak Fern

Then he zeroed in on the un-spiny Prickly Pear.  It does have smaller pin-point barbs though that are in many ways worse than the bigger more visible spines on its far more prevalent fellow plant.

Non Spiny Prickly Pear

Three butterflies of note were

Dainty Sulphur

Texan Crescent

Very tiny. (around half an inch)
Blue Pygmy Butterfly
Did I forget to mention that the falls still makes a pretty picture?   The only shame is that we must return to the frozen north in two weeks. 


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