Signs of change

Summer rains have been occurring regularly in the area, and there are signs of recovery from the very warm and dry spring. But there are also signs of change. Numerous foothill palo verde trees in the area are dying or dropping significant numbers of branches. Jojobas and scrub oaks are suffering as well.

In higher-elevation Arizona Upland areas where the dominant small shrub is turpentine bush, most appear dead. It may not be clear how many have died until spring, which is the season for vegetative growth for the species. Provided it rains next spring, that is. There was very little new vegetative growth last spring. New spring growth is where fall flowers arise. In a normal year, whole landscapes turn yellow with their nectar-providing flowers. This year, as also happened last year, that crop has failed. This is bad news for migrating butterflies. Also bad news for finches - the tiny achenes usually produced in profusion provide food for migrating and wintering flocks.

But right now, things are looking good. I've made a few visits to my usual stomping grounds on the nearby Tonto NF recently. My observations recently are a bit redundant, but so be it. This visit had some surprises, though. I traced a little wash south of Seven Springs and found tiny grasshoppers in profusion. Some stood still long enough for portraits. I found a small cluster of Asclepias nyctaginifolia, and checked on a previously-known population, finding it in full flower.

There is rain still in the near forecast, so maybe things will continue to improve. In the meantime, I'm signed up for the Petrified Forest National Park bioblitz at the end of August. I visited the park in late June and it was as dry there as it was here. Rains have been falling there as well, and I've seen some nice observations from the park recently.

Posted by stevejones stevejones, August 13, 2018 03:49

Observations

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What

Chinchweed Pectis papposa

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:20 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Hyssop Spurge Euphorbia hyssopifolia

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:21 AM MDT

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What

Chiricahua Mountain Sandmat Euphorbia florida

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:22 AM MDT

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Square

What

Red-gland Spurge Euphorbia melanadenia

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:24 AM MDT

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Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:27 AM MDT

Tags

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Curly-Mesquite Hilaria belangeri

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:26 AM MDT

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Needle Grama Bouteloua aristidoides

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:31 AM MDT

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What

Warty Caltrop Kallstroemia parviflora

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:33 AM MDT

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Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:35 AM MDT

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Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:38 AM MDT

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What

Abrams' Sandmat Euphorbia abramsiana

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:40 AM MDT

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What

Sixweeks Grama Bouteloua barbata

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:41 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Doubleclaw Proboscidea parviflora

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:44 AM MDT

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What

Fivewing Spiderling Boerhavia intermedia

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:44 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

Square

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:46 AM MDT

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Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:48 AM MDT

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Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:47 AM MDT

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Red Sprangletop Leptochloa panicea ssp. brachiata

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:51 AM MDT

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White-lined Sphinx Hyles lineata

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:52 AM MDT

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Square

What

Short-horned Grasshoppers Family Acrididae

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:54 AM MDT

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What

Sideoats Grama Bouteloua curtipendula

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:55 AM MDT

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What

Catclaw Acacia Senegalia greggii

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:56 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Sonoran Scrub Oak Quercus turbinella

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:57 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Blackfoot Daisy Melampodium leucanthum

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:58 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Brown-spined Prickly-Pear Opuntia phaeacantha

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:59 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Purple Three-Awn Aristida purpurea var. purpurea

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 10:59 AM MDT

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Sugar Bush Rhus ovata

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:00 AM MDT

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Red Barberry Berberis haematocarpa

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:02 AM MDT

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Goldenflower Century Plant Agave chrysantha

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:02 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Cactus Bug Narnia femorata

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:08 AM MDT

Description

Host Opuntia engelmannii

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Mojave Milkweed Asclepias nyctaginifolia

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:27 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Arizona Poppy Kallstroemia grandiflora

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:12 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Cat Claw Mimosa Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:01 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Pinkflower Hedgehog Cactus Echinocereus engelmannii ssp. fasciculatus

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:05 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Texas Prickly-Pear Opuntia engelmannii

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:06 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Littleleaf Ratany Krameria erecta

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:10 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Variegated Fritillary Euptoieta claudia

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:14 AM MDT

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What

Orange Sulphur Colias eurytheme

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:21 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Variegated Fritillary Euptoieta claudia

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:26 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Fragrant Sumac Rhus aromatica

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:26 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Whitemargin Sandmat Euphorbia albomarginata

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:29 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Abrams' Sandmat Euphorbia abramsiana

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:29 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Purslane Portulaca oleracea

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:30 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Arizona Signalgrass Urochloa arizonica

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:53 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Trans-Pecos Ayenia Ayenia filiformis

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:55 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Red-gland Spurge Euphorbia melanadenia

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:56 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Trailing Four o'Clock Allionia incarnata var. villosa

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:58 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Spreading Sida Sida abutifolia

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 11:58 AM MDT

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Empidonax Flycatchers Genus Empidonax

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:02 PM MDT

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What

Wilson's Warbler Cardellina pusilla

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:03 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Velvet Ash Fraxinus velutina

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:04 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Red Willow Salix laevigata

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:04 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Arizona Sycamore Platanus wrightii

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:05 PM MDT

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What

Canyon Wild Grape Vitis arizonica

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:06 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Mexican Sagewort Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. mexicana

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:07 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Grasses Family Poaceae

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:07 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Pale Umbrella-Wort Mirabilis albida

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:08 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Ivyleaf Groundcherry Physalis hederifolia

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:08 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Arizona Black Walnut Juglans major

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:12 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Cat Claw Mimosa Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:18 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Formicine Ants Subfamily Formicinae

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:18 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Arizona Poppy Kallstroemia grandiflora

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:19 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Purple Three-Awn Aristida purpurea var. purpurea

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:20 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Velvet Mesquite Prosopis velutina

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:20 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Catclaw Acacia Senegalia greggii

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:21 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Netleaf Hackberry Celtis reticulata

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:22 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Desert Broom Baccharis sarothroides

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:22 PM MDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Gall and Forest Midges Family Cecidomyiidae

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:22 PM MDT

Description

Host baccharis sarothroides

Photos / Sounds

What

Mojave Milkweed Asclepias nyctaginifolia

Observer

stevejones

Date

August 10, 2018 12:39 PM MDT

Comments

Thumb

Beautiful post - I'm assuming our current state of crop failure and dearth of probable flower growth will also be bad news for bees. Given how important bee populations are to the ecological system as a whole, will anyone be taking steps to improve projected growth outcomes?

Posted by vwls over 1 year ago (Flag)
Thumb

Thank you. I don't think there's much that can be done on a regional basis to improve flowering ratios. But native bees can be encouraged in another way. As noted, palo verde trees are dying, including one just off my back porch. I cut off the upper branches and drilled a bunch of holes between 4" and 6" deep in the remaining trunks. The native bees are using those to raise young. The 5/16" and 3/8" wide holes are the most popular though a few 1/4" holes were occupied as well. More about that here.

Posted by stevejones over 1 year ago (Flag)

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