Friday, March 27, 2009

Skywatch Friday: Ocotillo Sky

Ccactus Wren on Ocotillo 3-20-09 Sycamore Canyon

Brewer's sparrow-A thorny perch 11-30-08

Ocotillos en masse in Sycamore Canyon 3-19-08

Ocotillo on the rim of Sycamore Canyon 3-24-09

Ocotillo Buds 3-29-08 Saguaro NP

Ocotillo blossoms-Fire in the Sky! 4-24-08

Bullock's Oriole and Ocotillo Blossoms 4-27-08
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Ocotillo Sunset in Sycamore Canyon 8-10-08

Ocotillo has to be one of the most interesting plants I have become aquainted with since moving to Arizona. They always remind me of an inverted jelly fish with rigamortis! Ocotillo are drought deciduous, which means they loose their leaves during drought and grow them back during the rainy season. The tiny leaves slowy turn yellow before dropping like coins to the ground. In spite of the fact that there is no main trunk, ocatillo are still considered to have branches. The dried branches have been used for centuries as fencing. They are also used by many species of birds for perching on and some even eat the blossoms. Hummingbirds use the nectar for food, as well as numerous butterflies and some nectar feeding bats. All these photos have been taken since we moved here with our Nikon D80 and some were taken by Gus while others were taken by me. As you scan down the photos you might wonder why anyone would want one of these in their yard, but as you get near the bottom you can see why. When they are in bloom they are spectacular!

Visit more amazing skys at Skywatch Friday!

Thanks Skywatch Team!


Kim said...

That Ocatillo is wonderful! Love the sunset picture!

bobbie said...

As always, Kathie, your photos are lovely. The ocatillo buds are beautiful.
Always amazes me that birds can roost among such thorns without being hurt.
Your sunset is marvelous.

Anonymous said...

How does that Brewer's Sparrow land on its perch - very carefully I should think! {:)
Lovely sunset Kathie.

Ruth said...

Our little birds love the safety of the hawthorns and your Ocotillo likely gives the same protection. Great photos. I love the Oriole in the blooms.

Doug Taron said...

Great photos as always. I love ocotillos. They're one of my favorite plants from your part of the world. I loved the jellyfish reference. When I first started blogging, I did a post on my favorite ecosystems. Regarding Sonoran desert scrub, I made the observation:

I began thinking of the place as the enchanted forest. It’s a desert. Yet in its own way it’s also a forest- but the trees all look somehow like they should be growing on the bottom of the ocean.

Ocotillo was one of the species that prompted that response from me. Apparently great minds think alike.

Deborah Godin said...

Those are amazing thorns, and not a perch for the really larger birds I'm guessing - ?

Louise said...

I love your Bullock's Oriole! I had never seen an oriole of any type until I moved to NM. I would see glimpses of what I thought might be them, but they were so quick that I was never sure.

We have them come to our house now. There is a tree with worms in the blooms that they like. I can hardly wait for their return. To me your photo of it out in the canyon is terrific because mine are SO shy that it's really difficult to photograph them. I get most of my photos from in the house, and I dare not make sudden moves.

Amy said...

It's wonderful to see all that ocotillo in bloom!

duopastorale said...

Quite stunning. I love that thorny perch :)

The Good Life in Virginia said...

lovely captures of the ocotillo. i do like them very much...

hope you're feeling better.

Barb said...

Ouch - those thorns mean business. It's amazing that the birds can perch on the branches.

Jane Hards Photography said...

The sky is maganificent so rich and opaque but that little sparrow really got me so cute.

BirdingMaine said...

Excellent captures all!

My Skywatch:
Full Moon Sunset

Kathie Brown said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by! It's always nice to see your icons and read your comments! I'm on my way to visit all of you!

To answer a couple of questions:

Doug, I like what you wrote! It is like a sea! But where's the water? Oh, it falls in buckets from the sky during the Monsoon!

Deborah, believe it or not, I have seen Great-horned owls perched on the ocotillo branches!

Dawn Fine said...

Oh how I miss Arizona after this post..cant wait until next winter when we will camp at my fav. campground in Tucson, Catalina State Park..
thanks for that great post.....

Diane AZ said...

I love your comparison of ocotillos to inverted jelly fish and the leaves on the ground like gold coins. Awesome photos of the Brewer's sparrow on that spiny branch, and the oriole perched in the blossoms!