Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Friday, February 27, 2009

Desert Bloom


Sand Verbena blooms near Borrego Springs

I spent the end of last week in southern California. The Institute for Museum and Library Services presented a forum as part of their Connecting to Collections series. This installment focused on the challenge of maintaining living collections. It was very informative, and it took place in San Diego, a lovely city that I always enjoy visiting.

The conference was Thursday and Friday, so I took advantage of the weekend and spent Saturday in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. If you have never visited Anza Borrego, you are really missing something. It's a huge park- the size of many counties here in Illinois. It contains fine examples of relatively pristine Colorado Desert. Leon and I hiked there last November.


Badlands

The desert is amazing when it's in full bloom. I was a bit early for that, but I did get to see some of the first hints of the spring floral show. Just outside of Borrego Springs, there was a stunning display, seen at the top of the post. Sand Verbena dominated, but there were other interesting flowers, as well.


Sand Verbena (Abronia Villosa)


Dunes Evening Primrose (Oenothera deltoides)


Brown-eyed Primrose (Camissonia claviformis)

Wild Heliotrope (Phacelia distans)

My journey took me on to the San Felipe Creek. I like visiting that spot, because I frequently see Becker's Whites flitting along the canyon walls. I've been disappointed on my last few visits, however this time I was able to connect. I got to see (and photograph) a few insect species in flowers along the creek here. I even got a peek at a Sonoran Blue, an amazing, gorgeous insect. Sadly, it would not land so there's no photo.


San Felipe Creek


Becker's White (Pontia beckerii)



Hemipteran on Bladderpod (Isomeris arborea)


Elegant Blister Beetle (Eupompha elegans)

I very briefly headed partway up the Banner Grade, hoping to spend some time in chaparral. It was too cold- in fact I think there was a fair bit of snow up at Julian. I was not interested in a winter experience here, so I opted to stay in the desert and headed over towards Ocotillo Wells. There were lots more wildflowers. I even got to see a desert lily in bloom.

Mojave Poppy (Eschscholzia glyptosperma)


Desert Chicory (Rafinesquia neomexicana)


Desert Dandelion (Malcothrix glabrata)


Desert Lily (Hesperocallis undulata)


It was hard to return to winter in Chicago. We did have some magnificent thunderstorms last night. Perhaps spring will be a bit more timely in its arrival than it was last year.

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12 Comments:

At 14:30, OpenID liliannattel said...

What beautiful photos!

 
At 18:21, Blogger robin andrea said...

How lucky to see all those beautiful desert blooms.

 
At 18:59, Blogger Lemuel said...

Some of the most amazing beauty comes from the deserts of life. It is a metaphor of nature that we often overlook.

 
At 07:17, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

Spring is only three weeks away :)

 
At 22:34, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Lilian - Thanks

Robin- The circumstances behind this trip to California were entirely unexpected, so I feel very lucky, indeed.

Lem- That's a great insight. I personally probably overlook the metaphor because I love the desert so much that I don't tend to think of it in terms of its usual connotation.

Dave- Let me offer you this great deal on a bridge...

 
At 00:42, Blogger SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What beautiful wild flowers Doug. I think one can spend a lot of time in the desert finding things to photograph. The pic of the Badlands is a place I have always wanted to visit, I can almost see the cowboys and Indians riding their horses there. :)

 
At 13:38, Anonymous Mark H said...

For some reason (spring envy) I LOVED this post this morning. WOKE me up to wanting to fee spring SUN....this is a perfect example why the hummingbirds are moving north, the flowers blooming there earlier before the desert heat burns them up. Wonderful pictures, Doug.

 
At 16:17, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Wonderful flower and insect photos. Must have been a nice break from winter. We're running 20 degreees above normal here in AZ and the spring flowers are starting to blossom here also.

 
At 19:06, Blogger Rana said...

Gorgeous! Anza-Borrego used to be among my stompin' grounds when I was in San Diego, so this was wonderful to see! Thank you for sharing.

 
At 21:26, Blogger Ur-spo said...

I have been away from blog-land for a while.
I am glad to see you are doing what you do best - bugs and plants.

 
At 18:50, Blogger cedrorum said...

anza borrego is a great place. ironically I heard a short piece on NPR friday about the wildflowers blooming.

 
At 02:48, Blogger wcs said...

I love that area, and your photos are great. I have a friend who lives near there and I used to visit about once a year when I lived up in San Francisco.

And I've camped there, too, in fall, when there was hardly anyone around. I got to see the bighorn sheep on the hillside. Sublime.

 

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