Signs Of Spring
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The calendar may say that spring is still technically more than three weeks away but it is in full swing in southern Arizona judging from the wildlife that has become active here. Migratory birds are on the move, animals that are dormant during our brief winter are suddenly visible, and many species of insects are appearing.
Wildflowers are beginning to bloom, too. In southern Arizona there’s always a bit of suspense as spring wildflower season approaches. Will it be a good year or, as usually is the case, a bust? This is our fourth spring here and in previous years we haven’t seen much to get excited about. However, there are are reasons to believe this year may be different. Unlike previous winters, we’ve had several evenly spaced and significant rain events. The rainfall may have been enough to cause wildflower seeds — many of which have lain dormant for years — to germinate. We’ll know soon.
There are some early harbingers of spring, however, and they are definitely raising my hopes.
Mexican Gold Poppies are among the iconic wildflowers of southern Arizona. These annual plants bloom profusely in some years and in many others bloom either not at all or very sparsely. When they bloom in abundance entire hillsides will turn a brilliant gold for a couple of days. I photographed this so-far lonely specimen over by Sabino Dam the other day.
Arizona Lupines are another icon. Like poppies, these plants bloom only in years when conditions are right. There are a few specimens blooming in Sabino Canyon right now. As with the poppies I have my fingers crossed that these are an advance guard for more abundant blooms in a few days.
Both photos taken with a Canon 5Diii, 180 f3.5 L Macro lens. The first photo was taken in ambient light, M setting, ISO 160, f8 @ 1/500. The second photo was taken with the assistance of a Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, M setting, ISO 125, f13 @ 1/160.