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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

April showers bring May flowers

This is the first Chilopsis linearis 'Bubba' Desert Willow cultivar to bloom at the oasis. It's a deeper purple than the native one that grows in the arroyos here. Desert Willows aren't actually willows, but are of the Catalpa family.

My butterfly guru, Brian, has been here surveying the butterflies on the top of my mountain. He added several species to my property list: Sandia Hairstreak and Pahaska Skipper (which would be lifers for me), plus Poling's Hairstreak, which I've seen in Big Bend NP, but not here. Cool! He saw lots of Ursine Giant-Skippers, in various life stages, from egg-laying, to larva, to pupa, to flying adults. Good to know they're thriving. That species does not nectar on flowers like ordinary butterflies do, so they're difficult to see during their very short life span. I tried to go up the mountain with Brian to behold in person, but wasn't able to make the climb, so had to settle for this.

There are several ways to ascend the mountain. In my younger days I went up this place a time or two, but even Brian wasn't willing to try it yesterday.

In the not too far distant future I hope to go up the new trail. In the next photo I marked generally where the trail will go and an arrow (sort of) marks approximately where I think (hope) it's done to. I might have a rude awakening on that, since from the trail you can't really see where you are, only that you're getting higher. That's because it isn't one long ramp like the photo makes it seem, but it's all either up or down, into and out of arroyos. The ups are more pronounced than the downs though, so you know you're climbing.

Tomorrow I plan to spend an hour working on it. I'm motivated! I'll admit that some of the work I did yesterday was more like chipping toe-holds into the slope, but later we can enlarge the steps if need be. No need doing extra work if need not be. When I get to the really treacherous part I'm going to post lots of before and after photos.

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