Category: Mother Nature

Southwestern Orangetip Butterfly

Southwestern Orangetip Butterfly

A Southwestern orangetip nectaring on rockcress. I have always called these butterflies Sara orangetips but nowadays they’re known as Southwestern orangetips. They’re very small butterflies — and the rockcress flowers are even smaller.


Smoke from the Cerro Pelado Wildfire

Smoke from the Cerro Pelado Wildfire

Our wildfire season got started extraordinarily early this year, first with the Hermit’s Peak fire, and then with the Cerro Pelado fire, which began shortly afterward. There have been numerous fires in the southern part of the state as well, but those are bit more common at this time of the year. Early fires in the Pecos Wilderness and the Jemez are pretty unusual … maybe even unheard of. Plus there are more hot, dry, and windy days ahead of us this week. The digital freeway signs — the ones that warned us to be careful about COVID two years ago, and then to get vaccinated last year — are now reminding us not to drop our cigarette butts outside.


Claret Cup Cactus Blossoms

Claret Cup Cactus Blossoms

Each year is the same and each year is also different. Although these are the only claret cup blossoms I’ve seen this year, I saw lots of buds yesterday. And every single claret cup cactus I saw — including this one — was growing out of rock. Although I saw many claret cup cactuses last spring as well, I don’t believe any were growing out of rock.


Calf Canyon / Hermit’s Peak Wildfire

Calf Canyon/Hermit's Peak Smoke Plume, April 21, 2022

New Mexico’s wildfire season is off to an early and roaring start. I was driving through the Rio Grande Gorge on Thursday when I saw this huge smoke plume, which I figured was from either the Calf Canyon or Hermit’s Peak wildfire (Sangre de Cristos).

We had some of the wildest, craziest winds I can remember the following day. They served to start something like 20 wildfires in the state; yesterday the Calf Canyon and Hermit’s Peak fires merged into a single, very large, mostly uncontained wildfire. There’s no rain forecast for the foreseeable future. 🙁


Wild Pasqueflowers, 2022 Edition

Wild Pasqueflowers

I just love these little flowers, which grow wild in two very specific places I know of, both on the east side of the Sandias between about 6,000 and 8,000 feet. They almost always bloom right around Passover and Easter and this year, despite a very late spring, was no exception — I saw the first blossoms just a few days ago.

Happy Easter/Passover/Spring and/or whatever else you celebrate.


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