Sunday, May 31, 2020

Little Leaved Mojave Indigo Bush

I only saw one plant which I think may be a little leaved Mojave indigo bush (Psorothamnus arborescens var. minutifolius) based on a photo on the Calflora site for Psorothamnus

It has distinctive red and blue flowers, but I only have two photos. 

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Mojave Indigo Bush

The Mojave indigo bush (Psorothamnus arborescens) is a flowering bush in the legume family. It is found in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts of California and south in the Sonoran Desert in the Mexican state of Sonora. 
All I'm really certain of on this bush is that I only found a few, their flowers were small and hard to photograph, and the flowers were beautiful. 

It has highly branching stems and leaves of green linear to oval leaflets. It has many small flowers with reddish green calyces of sepals and bright purple pealike corollas. 

I am not certain of this identification. 

Friday, May 29, 2020

Emory's Indigo Bush

Emory's indigo bush, also known as the dyebush or white dalea (Psorothamnus emoryi) is found in the southern parts of Arizona and California and in the Mexican state of Baja, California. 
It has hairy leaves that are grayish white which helps reflect sunlight. When I saw them they reminded me of the luxurious thick wool sweaters we would see in Canada.
This gives a sense of that thickness.

 It has clusters of purple and white pea-like flowers. They are very small and look like little pin-dots of color on the hairy leaves. It is oily and fragrant and used in dyes and stains. Every once in a while I would come across a wonderful smell while walking. I think it was this plant providing that pleasurable scent. 

I am not certain of this identification. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Black Squirrel

There are areas in the U.S. and Canada where melanistic eastern gray squirrels are black and known as black squirrels. I have posted on them before, from squirrels I saw in Charleston, West Virginia. 
I ran across them again in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on the grounds of Trinity College, part of the University of Toronto. 

I have a photo of a black squirrel and also of a black squirrel with a partially white head. The latter was particularly interesting, having almost a phantom of the opera feel to it. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Fringed Twinevine

The fringed twinevine "twines" through other plants in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. "Twining" means to twist together or interweave with another. In effect, it grows over and through other shrubs. 
The plant without buds or flowers.
Arrowshaped leaves on the vines.
Buds, looking like a fireworks display just bursting. 
Buds beginning to flower (lower left) and flowers (upper right). 
Its leaves are narrow and arrow-shaped and its flowers, with five petals and five sepals, grow on umbrella-like heads and are whitish, pinkish or purplish with purple streaking.  
The flowers and their twisting vines are fantastic.

This is one of my favorite desert flowers. I've posted on it previously (here), but this post includes photos of the un-flowered plant and of the buds before the flowers, neither of which my prior post had. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Brown-Eyed Primrose or Browneye

Ten years ago I did a post on the brown-eyed primrose or browneye. It has a flower with four white petals, a pistil longer than the stamens with a bulbous stigma at the tip, and a brown base which gives it the name browneye. 
For a photo of more developed flowers, look at my prior post. 

I surmised then, and may this time as well, that they open only at night which makes missing them easier. I only saw these flowers once and in an area that I regularly visit. When I saw them they were small and still had much more growing to do. They did not look significant at first glance and only on close inspection did they really look pretty spectacular. 
This is a photo of the plant which was a little more spread out than shown in this photo. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Yellow-Backed Spiny Lizard

The desert spiny lizard is found in the southwestern United States and deep into Mexico. It has large pointed scales and a black wedge-shaped mark on each side of the neck. Males have a blue-green patch on the throat and and each side of the belly. The belly patches are edged with black. In females the throat and belly patches are weak or absent. The head is orange or reddish when breeding. There are eight subspecies. 
This male has pretty reflective side markings and the blue-green throat patch. 
A better view of the throat patch.
The yellow-backed spiny lizard, the sub-species in this post, is found in much of Southern California, southern Nevada, extreme southwestern Utah, portions of northern Arizona and a small portion of Baja. It is uniformly tan or light yellow above, with no distinct markings. It turns darker brown on the sides. There are usually faint blotches on the backs of females and sometimes adult males. 
This female has yellow around the hind legs and back onto the tail. 
Look between and above the hind legs and note the prominent scales. 

These lizards were found off Hayfield Road of the I-10 freeway in the Colorado Desert, between Chiriaco Summit and Desert Center. 
This spiny lizard is basking in the sun. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit

Even though I just did a short post on the black-tailed jackrabbit earlier this month (here), because I got a pretty good photo of one, I'm doing another because of an amazing experience I had yesterday. 

I got to the Hayfield Road area about 6:00 a.m., parked the car, and walked over to a palo verde tree about ten yards from the car to look at the beans that were hanging from the tree. I was wearing a yellow shirt which may have contributed to a hummingbird buzzing my head. As it did so I turned my head to the right and was shocked to see a black-tailed jackrabbit about five yards from me eating parts of a bush. 
This is my first view of the jackrabbit. It appears much further away from me than it really was. 
Here it is feeding on the first bush I saw it in front of. 
Then it made kind of an awkward move toward me. It was so fascinating to see it maneuver with its two small front legs and massive back legs, in some respects resembling a kangaroo. 
Then it approached me closer, within a yard or two, and I wasn't sure if it would come up to me or not. Note the early morning light reflecting in its big ears. It veered to its left to avoid me then backed up into the dirt road I'd driven in on. 
This was my seventh straight week there and I've seen at least one jackrabbit each visit, and sometimes four or five. I typically see them as they take off 50 yards away and lose sight of them a second or two later. This rabbit, however, continued to browse, then walked within a couple of yards of me. 
In the dirt road the reflection off its ears was pronounced. Note how the back leg is folded and rested on the ground. Also note how long the tail is. I did not realize it was so large. 

It this point I thought the rabbit might be leaving me as it walked toward the opposite side of the dirt road. However, it turned around and walked by my car and started to feed on a bush on the other side of me, less than five yards away. 
Standing on its hind legs and feeding on a bush. 
Here is another kind of awkward looking move, right next to my car, as you see how much bigger that back leg is compared to the front leg. 
I pulled out my small point and shoot and took lots of photos. Then it disappeared on the other side of my car. So I took out my cell phone, hoping I would be able to see it again. I did, and watched it for another five minutes of so, getting great close-up shots with my cell phone.  
This is on the other side of my car with my cell phone. Here it is walking on its foot pads and looks awkward walking along. Note again, the large tail. 
This is my favorite photo, standing on its hind legs, front legs in the air, feeding on some sort of dry bush. 
The back legs rest kangaroo style. The ears are ginormous. 
The entire time, probably ten minutes or more, it showed no fear of me and made no effort to run away. It was an amazing nature experience. I joked in one prior post on the jackrabbit that the view of the tail as they run away is my most common photo of them.

I saw it sample four or five different types of vegetation while I watched, including dry chia. It stood on its hind legs several times to reach higher plants to nibble. 

It also moved in ways that appeared very awkward. I noted that it laid part of its hind legs flat on the ground at times, so that the back was not higher than the front.Then at other times it walked on its back paws which pushed its rear-end into the air and its head at the down-hill sloping end of its body. 
When they are born they are fully furred, have their eyes open and are mobile within minutes. The mother does not stay with her young or protect them, other than to nurse, which appears to occur for about eight weeks. Males are sexually mature at seven months and females usually breed in the spring of their second year, although they have been known to breed in their first year if they were born early in the year. My guess is that this was a young jackrabbit and did not know enough to be afraid of me.