Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Arizona Nature Study 3 - Sonoran Desert flora and fauna

 Here is the Arizona diagram again. Today I'm going to focus on the Flora we saw in the Sonoran desert.

We drove north

Today I will focus on the flora of the Sonoran Desert.

On the above diagram, the Sonoran Desert is the lowest section. We began our day in the grassland desert area and drove north toward Tucson. As we drove, the grassland was dotted by cholla and prickly pear, jojoba and scrubby mesquite trees (photo below shows also that cow I showed in my last entry). 
Oh, also forgot to mention, it was quite an experience for us to be, once again, in an area that has roads that are not paved. In my suburban life, even all the driveways are paved!  Anyway... got on the highway and drove a half an hour and gradually we began to see barrel cacti.
Drove a little further, and suddenly we were in the Sonoran Desert, and the saguaro were everywhere. 
The palo verde trees were blooming yellow (above), but the occotillo, which had been blooming in Sierra Vista (grassy mesquite desert) were not blooming any more in the hotter (lower elevation) desert.

There were lots of other wildflowers blooming (I don't know all their names...)

Like that cactus wren on that last flower? In addition to cactus wren, we also saw in this area prairie dogs and a coyote (that we couldn't catch a photo of).

This concludes my photo diary of our time in the Sonoran Desert. The next nature study will cover additional zones of habitat that occur in Arizona. I hope you are enjoying these nature studies!

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