SPRING IS BUSTING OUT ALL OVER, CACTUS ARE BLOOMING NOW AND BIRDS ARE NESTING, COLOR ABOUNDS IN ARIZONA’S SONORAN DESERT
“You live in the Desert?”, folks ask from time to time. The “Sonoran Desert”, I always reply, “it’s different.” But still people first conjure up scenes from Lawrence of Arabia and figure you hang out at the waterholes.The Sonoran Desert stretches from the Verde River north of Phoenix, down to Alamos, Sonora where the Tropical Thorn Forest begins or roughly 100,000 square miles and includes most of the southern half of Arizona, southeastern California, most of the Baja California peninsula, the islands of the Gulf of California, and much of the state of Sonora, Mexico. In between lies one of the riches desert in the world, featuring more than 2,000 plant species and made from the finest soil in the world, just add water.
The life cycle of the desert begins with wildflowers showing up in the middle of March and being greeted by the purple bloom of the Hedgehog cactus in early April. From that moment on, everything begins to bloom and since the last dozen years have been the warmest on record, lots of blooms are a bit confused and out of cycle. The saguaro blossom for one, was scarily seen until late May or early June, now they are one of the first blooms out. Most of the prickly-pear type plants are showing color, as well are the Ironwood and Palo Verde Trees and Octillo, who rely on high wind to move their seeds. So every year when the golden coat covers up the Blue Palo Verde Tree, winds always pickup within a few days, and carry those amazing coats away. They are replaced by another Palo Verde which has a dirty yellow coat but it lingers for a month to come. Every since I built my back porch I have fathered more Doves than any other one person, it allows their mothers to tuck away and find from the egg thieves, many of whom, find their way but as soon as one Dove finishes another starts up and so it goes.
In Tucson Arizona the city spreads out from mountain range to mountain range, maybe 40 miles square, and for years construction pushed out the wildlife that surrounds this desert land. In recent years the wildlife has begun to return and fit in, into the folds of life where people come and go and basically leave the critters alone while going on about their lives. A mother big horned owl Has set up a nest at the end of busy La Canada Road in Northern Pima County inside Oro Valley.
A wildlife re-habilitar modified the nest with a cardboard box to provide extra space and shade for the babies and everyone seems pretty comfortable. The nest has become a major curiosity and folks go by regularly and see how the owls are doing. Lots of Kodak moments, kids with binoculars, and curious walkers, motorist all who do a slow roll by, trying to see if the baby horned-owls are hunting yet on their own in Honeybee Canyon.
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