Saturday, March 21, 2020

Goings on at Sabino Canyon This Week

In spite of the lockdown orders we have been able to take advantage of Sabino Canyon's open spaces. This week we did spy the first red bud on a so called Christmas Cholla.

The Phainopepla is the most common bird we see in the canyon. The male is almost all black and getting a decent picture of them is difficult. The one below is perhaps the best one I've taken this year.

Also quite common is the mourning dove. They are easier to photograph and we hear them almost every daybreak. 

The most common cactus we see other than the saguaro is the prickly pear and you can see several here..

This is a closer view of a single pad that seemed to me to be shaped like a little mitten.  It is cute but I
don't think you want to shake hands with it. 

Prickly Pears grow by sprouting new pads out of old ones. You can see one just getting started here.

Here's one a little further along. You can see the typical shape forming.

Here's another first flower spotted. Jan called it a Salsify

I occasionally like to remind you that the canyon is dependent on rocks and this is a nice example of a common one associated with the formation of the canyon.  It is the beautifully layered metamorphic rock called the Catalina Gneiss..

I like this shot because it enables you to see the varied size of the blooms. The chicory, on the bottom,  is a fairly large one and the so called Bastard Toadflax is about half the size of a dime.

Another of the fairly common type of bush cactus is the Staghorn

They can have varied colored buds or fruits. Sometimes red like the Christmas cholla

And sometimes pink or greenish.

 Another new bloom we saw this week is called Chia.  The buds are about the size of a quarter or  half dollar sized and the flowers are very small indeed.

The endings of great saguaros are sad though. This giant will probably have fallen by next year.

We end on a hopeful note.  After the rain the clouds are quite strange and lovely.

And every so often comes the rainbow.

That's it for this week. 

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