Hiking during the hottest of weather results in seeing plants you may never have seen before. Like Desert Needlegrass, for instance. I stopped to photograph it because it looked so pretty against the rising sun. (note: I incorrectly identified it as Arizona Cottontop. Thanks to botanist Steve Jones for the correction!).
During a recent hike up near Tom’s Thumb, I spotted dozens of Marine Blue (Leptotes marina) butterflies. They feed and host on plants in the pea/legume family (lots of that up there). I tried for almost half and hour but this is the widest any of them opened their wings.
Marine Blue at sunrise
(Hand held. ISO 400. Canon 100mm f/2.8 IS lens. First shot: f/4, 1/3200. 2nd: f/4, 1/1000)
I scouted for wildflowers on the Toms Thumb trail yesterday morning. With the temps climbing, there are now lots of blooms and many species on the verge of blooming. In bloom were: Combseed, Fiddleneck,Cryptantha, Arizona Popcorn Flower, Storkbill Filaree, Blue Fiesta Flower, Deer Vetch, Lacepod, 2 kinds of Mustard, Miners Lettuce, Yellow Throated Gilia, Chia, Birch Leaf Mountain Mahogany, Ragged Rockflower, Perennial Rockcress, Lupine and POPPIES!
There are many excellent places for rock climbers in the Preserve and it’s always a real treat to see them in action. Late yesterday we were lucky to see two climbers on Tom’s Thumb which looks to me like one of the toughest climbs in the Preserve so it was especially exciting! Having an audience of hikers below made for a perfect photo.
Frustrating Photoshop issues rearing their ugly heads but I did enjoy a hike to Toms Thumb this am.
Here’s a new rock face to add to my folder. Looks like Pacman, don’t you think? Sleepy Pacman 🙂
I was lucky to get a person in the image for scale (lower right).
Thanks to my friend Barry who spent all afternoon troubleshooting with me!
I shot this infrared image of Prickly Pear Cactus yesterday afternoon. The nub at the top
of the mountain is Tom’s Thumb, one of my favorite destinations. The hike up is too hot
for me in the summer so I’m really looking forward to some cooler weather.
(JF: this was supposed to be a scheduled post but it didn’t work)
These are by far the coolest galls I’ve ever seen! I spotted them on the leaves of some Sonoran Scrub Oak at the top of Tom’s Thumb Trail. In checking BugGuide on the net, the most likely candidate for creating this gall is a Gall Wasp. If anyone has an idea of the exact identity of this gall, please let me know and I’ll post the ID. Thanks!
The largest gall measured approximately five eights of an inch.