Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ned's Nature Walk With Anne

Ned's Nature Walk group was so big today that they split it into smaller groups.  We went with, "I stop for plants" Anne.  Our route took us up the Esperero Trail to the intersection with the Rattlesnake Trail and then back down the main road.

What did we see that was new and exciting?     Sandbells.


 
Then Chia, which is a rather skunky smelling member of the mint family.  Flowers are arranged in little pagoda like balls.  Seeds are in some kind of nutlet and are used in the Chia Pet industry.


 


We've seen these before but have always had trouble identifying them.  Anne says, and she is the Mustard Queen, that it is the Mustard Desert Primrose.

 
 
Again we've seen this before on the cliffs on the Bluff Trail and didn't know its name.  Anne nailed it down as Arizona Spike Moss. It stays brown and dead looking until it gets water and then will green up almost immediately.  A more common name is Resurrection Moss or Vampire Moss as it seems to change so rapidly.


Not at all new as it is everywhere, but the Caliche Globe Mallow can make a pretty picture.

For ID purposes I have generally tried to take closeups of single plants.  That tends to ignore the beauty of mixed blooms that make bouquets all over the desert at this time of year. Here is a nice spread of Chickory, Fairy Dusters, and Sand Bells



As the day warmed up the butterflies started to appear. I think this is an Empress Leilia not a Texan Crescent.
 


This one matches up nicely in our butterfly cheat book as the Southern Dogface




The critters just don't want to sit very still or pose with their wings open so the guess on this one is provisional. Let's try an Orange Skipperling here as a possible. Click on image to get an enlargement.

 
Lizards aren't any easier to identify as many of them are able to change colors to blend in with their environment.  We're pretty sure this is the Side-blotched Lizard.

 
This is a Greater Earless Lizard. 

 
 

We had some discussion on this one. I think it might be a female Eastern Collared Lizard; others weighed in as a side-blotched with its normal turquoise speckles on upper back and tail. Look carefully as the head is actually visible center left.  

 



 
 Nobody argued here.  It's clearly the Southwestern Stogie Bush.  

 

 
MORAL: You can find almost anything in the desert if you look.

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