Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mid-May in the Sonoran Desert

The desert is still quite active during the middle of May.  We have had some unseasonably cool weather lately which is extending out some of the blooms over the past few weeks.  We have had several days with highs around 80 degrees so far this month which is weird considering highs are normally in the mid 90's or so.  We even had a little rain last night, which is extremely unusual for the month of May.  The big flower show of Foothills Palo Verde is done for the most part and the desert is moving on to Ironwood and Saguaro.  While both Ironwood and Saguaro are less abundant than Palo Verde they still keep desert bugs and birds quite active during the morning hours.  Here are some pictures from my recent hikes.

Catclaw Acacia (acacia greggii) in flower.  Common lower on north facing slopes and in basin washes around Phoenix.

Catclaw Acacia flowers.

Ironwood (Olneya tesota) flowers.

Ironwood and Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) both in flower.

Saguaro cactus flower.
The Ironwood flowers should die off within the next week or so while the Saguaro flowers will last another couple of weeks.  Once Saguaro flowering is done we head into June, the driest month and second hottest month of the year.  When June hits, the desert more or less seems to go dormant during daylight hours until the end of the month.  At the end of June, Saguaro fruit ripens and desert life goes crazy gorging itself on the fruit.

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