Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Flowers A'poppin at Sabino Canyon

Spring may be far off in Boston and Minneapolis, but a bit of rain has jumpstarted it in the Sonoran Desert.  With temps generally above average and adequate moisture, there should be increasing floral activity in the next weeks.

With that in mind we started off our morning walk in Sabino Canyon expecting good results and we got them.  The sun was shining and some of those puffy clouds of yesterday were still hanging around.

But down on the ground our naturalist guides were focusing on the flowers. 

First up was a Fiddleneck with tiny tubular flowers on a hairy twisted stalk.

Then they spotted a Cryptantha with once again tiny flowers (this time white) in coiled clusters on a stem.

Filarees are a but larger and have five pretty purple petals.

Another white flower is the Jewel Flower or Silverbells
The Brittlebush is beginning to be all over the place.

This was a form of Aster.

This Desert Primrose is not quite open; the one below is bending over. 


This was our first sighting of the Mexican Gold Poppy, also sometimes called the Desert Poppy because when it really gets going it can carpet entire hillsides in gold.

Here's a strange one that grows from a tuber.  It is the Bigroot Wild cucumber or Marah. The flower is white and tiny and the fruit is a spiky little green tennis ball.  Not sure what it tastes like and nobody volunteered to try.

And finally the fairy duster that always takes lovely photos.

Where there are flowers there is nectar and the bees and butterflies come next.   This morning we saw a Mexican Metalmark


WE think this one is a Sara or Desert Orangetip

This fellow wouldn't pose, but might be a Sleepy Orange or a Mexican Yellow

This is probably a Pipeline Swallowtail

The oddest siting today was in Sabino Creek in a quiet place where you could see these strange little lines in the sandy bottom.  Fred came to the rescue with the diagnosis that they were Damselfly Nymphs chugging along just under the bottom. 

Another new bird.  Two of our company declared that this distant fellow was a Kestrel.

Finally what day could  be complete with a bunny rabbit.

Time to fold up the tent now and think about dinner.  Not rabbit though.

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