Journal archives for August 2018

August 04, 2018

Lower Camp Creek

I had a free early morning and thought Id see how lower Camp Creek was responding to the recent rains. It appears that not much rain has fallen there recently. I tagged a few perennials and four creosote bush galls - one accidentally. I didn't see the A. silicula on the underside of a leaf near the A. discalis gall.

Posted on August 04, 2018 04:17 AM by stevejones stevejones | 31 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

August 13, 2018

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 on August 13, 2018 03:49 AM by stevejones stevejones | 69 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment