Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Trichocereus Mass Bloom

The trichocereus is in my opinion the most beautiful of all the cactus flowers. Usually, one or two cacti will bloom at a time, but yesterday  I saw a mass bloom of dozens of tricho’s in a garden at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It was so stunning it took my breath away. I’ve already posted these photos elsewhere, but thought I’d give everyone a chance to look at them.

 Tricho G 4-29-2014 9-52-50 AM 3264x1942

TrichoD 4-29-2014 9-53-06 AM 2253x1880

TrichoC 4-29-2014 9-53-21 AM 3264x1529

TrichoB 4-29-2014 9-53-27 AM 1769x915

TrichoA 4-29-2014 9-53-34 AM 1828x2018

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pipevine Life Cycle

I have told you before about the beautiful Pipevine swallowtail butterfly (see Butterfly Sex Notes) that lays its eggs on leaves of the pipevine.

pipevine flower 5-7-2010 8-10-35 AM 1000x1045

Soon the eggs hatch into a beautiful, though toxic caterpillar (it picks up toxins from the pipevine leaves).

Pipevine 3 9-3-2010 8-17-43 AM 868x935

Eventually, the caterpillar matures and creates a chrysalis in which to pupate. This is so cool! First, it places some silk on the twig (or in this case wall) as a base, then it spins the chrysalis, attaching the top part to the wall with a noose made out of silk!

Pipevine chrysalis 8-17-2013 2-26-38 PM 866x1191

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Jackrabbit encounter

Yesterday my roving partner, Sue, and I had a special treat. While walking on the Desert View Trail, we saw a jackrabbit that didn’t see us, and were able to watch it for about five minutes. It was eating creosote—first standing on its hind legs, and then crouched on the ground. As always when I see a jackrabbit, I was astounded by how big it is and how HUGE those ears are. Jackrabbits (which are technically hares, not rabbits), are among a very few animals that can eat creosote, because their kidneys are adapted to handle the poisonous oxalic acid in the plant.

jackrabbit ears 1 8-10-2013 1-04-46 PM 1798x2070

Later on, we saw an unusual, double-decker verdin nest—one nest built on top of an old one. These are great times to be in the Park!

verdin nest double decker 8-10-2013 2-14-52 PM 1597x1828  verdin nest double decker side 8-10-2013 2-15-07 PM 3070x2306