Arizona’s monsoon rains in the mountains produce a summer crop of mushrooms, toadstools, slime molds and other delights. Here are a few that have appeared already this 2014 season. I don’t know enough about fungi to attempt to identify them for you. Experts can determine if any are safe to eat, but many are deadly poison. Squirrels seem to eat some of them but I don’t know that is an indicator of human tolerance.I think they are fascinating to find.
You never know what you might find once you start taking macro photos. Sometimes tiny insects pop out in flower photos that surprise you, or the detail on a beetle might be so much more elegant than imagined. Sometimes the play of light inside a delicate flower is amazing, yet unappreciated in the normal view. Here is a selection of recent macro photos from around northern Arizona.
Just looking at the picture makes you feel an allergic response coming on? Never fear, it’s not the Goldenrod that people are actually allergic to! At the same time that Goldenrod blooms so conspicuously, the Ragweed often found in the same area is the usual culprit. Ragweed has tiny green flowers that go almost unnoticed, but create huge clouds of very irritating pollen. So enjoy this golden beauty.
Lots of animals make an appearance in our little corner of the woods. We routinely have elk, deer, jackrabbits, Abert squirrels, chipmunks, ground squirrels and even had a porcupine or two. We have been visited by black bears, coyotes and a mountain lion.
Lately we have been keeping up with our newest neighbors, the fox family. Now that the kits are out and about, we see them daytime and evening. I’m sure they are out at night, as well. The babies have been learning how to climb trees. There are only two kinds of foxes that climb trees, and these Gray Foxes are one of the two.
Many times a day the crows alert us to the movements of the foxes. Whether crossing our neighbor’s yard, or moving around in ours, the crows chase the foxes and make quite a racket. We live on two and a half acres and the farthest corner of our land is almost inaccessible because it is so rocky. This is where the den is located. For many years, ground squirrels, skunks, and other tunnel-making animals have lived in this old rock quarry. At some point last year, these foxes took up residence.
We didn’t notice them until the kits were old enough to be outside of the den, and the whole family began sitting out in the sun for extended periods of time. Now that we are alerted regularly by the crow alarm, we have been taking time out to sit and watch quietly as they go about their day.
A drive through Oak Creek Canyon in northern Arizona this week allowed for a glimpse of conditions since the Slide Fire was extinguished. Since the beginning of the monsoon season is upon us, worries over the safety of visitors to the canyon in the event of flash flooding has caused many closures. The camping areas affected by the fire as well as other parking for day use along the canyon are now closed. Thus the photos I post here are all from a moving car, not the best of situations. However, you can see that if you are looking for fire damage, you will find it, however, most of the beauty that is Oak Creek Canyon remains.
The worst of the burn area, as visible from the road, is where the fire started. It burned very hot here. Note the discolored ground in the burn area.
You can see from the many signs and banners in Flagstaff, how appreciated the efforts of firefighters were. The question currently on the minds of locals is how much damage could occur due to runoff from the anticipated summer monsoons. Oak Creek has many fans awaiting the answer, and thinking ahead to their next trip.