Tag Archives: mcdowell sonoran preserve


After Combseed, one of the next wildflowers to start showing up is Fillaree (Erodium cicutarium) and they are now out in full force almost everywhere.


I always carry a Canon 500D Close Up Lens for the times when a lens won’t focus close enough. No reduction in exposure time makes it a better choice for a “hand holder” like me. Extension tubes or teleconverters might get me closer but besides losing an f/stop or two in light, you risk getting dust on the sensor because you have to remove the lens to attach them.

Cropped section of image shot using 500D close-up lens.
bee on fillaree bloom

Finally, here’s an image showing red Fillaree leaves. Someone had asked me if it was a different plant but the red is a result of stress during very cold weather. Once again, I attached the 500D Close Up Lens to get this close.
red fillaree leaves

(Note: the extreme close-ups were cropped from originals)

rained out…..almost

We were rained out for sunrise so we decided to enjoy breakfast and then to head to a classroom (thanks Carol!) where Jennifer Wu shared her favorite photography and photoshop tips with us until about 4pm.
Then we headed to the Gateway Trailhead of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve with high hopes.
gateway trailhead, mcdowell sonoran preserve

Light was challenging but we were all rewarded with a little bit of color.
saguaro sunset

And thanks, Claire, for letting us stay past sunset! All in all, an excellent day 🙂

east end lovers trail

I liked the idea of hiking past the East End Lovers on this Valentines day so that’s what we did. All in all, we hiked a loop which was just under 9 miles. We went up Toms Thumb; down East End; down to the Windmill on Windmill Trail; continued out Windmill to Coachwhip Trail; continued on Coachwhip to the Pemberton trail (McDowell Regional Park); took the Pemberton to a horse trail leading into the Rock Knob area of the Preserve and then followed a horse trail back over the parking lot.

Combseed flowers are now blanketing the ground almost everywhere. We also saw a Desert Hyacinth, Filaree and Wolfberry blooms. I also got a better shot of the Ragged Rock Flower located in a wash close to the Windmill. Desert Wishbone bush is getting taller and should be blooming any day. All in all….a fabulous day!

East End Lovers
east end lovers

combseed flowers


Desert Hyacinth (bluedick)

wolfberry blooms

Ragged Rock Flower
ragged rock flower

does this face look familiar?

Does this boulder face look familiar? Maybe I should first ask if you see a face? (upper right)
boulder face and saguaro

What came to my mind when I saw this boulder was the jazz singer on the Muppets. Remember her? As I walked a little farther, she was even more clear. While looking for a link to include, I found out her name is Janice. I never knew that, did you? To do her justice, I gave her a makeover. OK…just plain silly, I know 🙂

early spring forecast?

Barring a freeze (it CAN still happen), we might just be in for a very good and very early wildflower season! Our weather has been unseasonable warm so along with the above normal amount of rain we’ve had, it might just happen. I’m already seeing flowering plants popping up including Desert Wishbone, Globe Mallow, Golden Eye, Brittlebush and LOTS of other species. So exciting!

Globe Mallow in my yard this morning (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
macro shot of pink globe mallow

Globe Mallow’s botanical name includes “ambigua” which means it can be seen in lots of colors. Orange is the main color you’ll see in the Preserve, though. I bought this pink one at a local nursery where you can also find more colors. I planted mine as a seedling last fall and am very excited to see it growing!

pink globe mallow

pink globe mallow