Nature's Best Show
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In late 2018 and early
2019 San Diego got plenty of rain. Here in this arid
climate, winter rains mean large blooms of wildflowers in the
spring. The bloom finally arrived in full color and
Kathleen's sister Deb was visiting from NY, so we packed the car
and headed east to see it for ourselves.
The photos below are
what we saw.
Heading toward Borrego Springs via Montezuma Grade gave us an
excellent view of the Borrego Valley. Note the large areas
of yellow flowers on the valley floor.
The light spot in the center of the photo is the Borrego Sink, a
Even the usually stark and barren mountain sides had yellow
In addition to bringing spring flowers, the winter rains
create mud. Rain washes the clay away and deposits it in
river channels and road-side puddles. The plates of clay
dry in the hot desert sun and crack revealing the sandy surface
Henderson Canyon was ablaze with color from the yellow flowers.
The view up the canyon towards Anza was just as colorful.
Looking toward the mountains to the west the blooms were not as
As we drove from one viewing area to the next we were treated to
lush carpets of color.
To the north, Santa Rosa Peak sits on the horizon.
Dense mats of color were visible in many areas.
When the flowers bloom, the insects get busy gathering pollen.
The verbena flowers were tiny but brilliant purple.
Kathleen was lucky enough to get a new macro lens for her Fuji
At one of the view points I spotted this old USGS benchmark.
Borrego Springs has a substantial number of wrought iron statues
of animals. We encountered a number of them on our
An interesting character crafted in scrap steel and wrought
One of a number of elephant statues.
This elephant came complete with big eyelashes.
This is intended to be an extinct mastodon-like creature from
the last ice age.
The statues continue on the south access road to Borrego
This eagle was a large statue that required additional support
for the wings due to the high winds in the area.
The signature statue is "the dragon".
The dragon appears to be swimming through the earth with it's
long body intermittently visible. The fellows above are
strangers and photo-bombed me.
Drawn by the scent of the pollen, many of the flowers we saw
were being serviced by the insects.
A small number of the yellow flowers had red centers.
A substantial number of the blooms were white.
This flower is pure yellow with no trace of red.
In addition to the pollinating insects, the flowers had to
suffer at the hands of large caterpillars that ate the flowers,
stalks and all.
This nasty-looking fellow was an eating machine,
literally. It ate continuously while I watched.
The posterior portion of the caterpillar had a pincer-like
appendage that was used to hold onto the branches while it ate
with the other end.
A parting shot of the colorful hills.
The 2019 bloom was
considered a "super bloom" according to biologists. It is
not clear what the distinction is between a regular bloom and a
super bloom, but whatever you call it, it was beautiful.
Should your travels bring you close to Borrego Springs in the
early spring, you should plan to see the flowers.
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Copyright Bill Caid 2019. All rights reserved.