There are years I see none of these orchids. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been there — they are so tiny and close to the ground, and grow only in the shadiest areas, that it’s incredibly easy to miss them. Despite that, I’ve noticed more this year than I’ve ever seen before. They seem to grow exclusively above 10,000 feet (at least in the Sandias) in areas where the ground is spongy and mulchy. It is probably only because I’ve figured out what the ground feels like where they live that I’ve seen so many: I feel the change in the ground first, then start looking for them. They are quite charming, I must say.
Seems as if summer’s come earlier to the Sandias than I can remember. Last year, on May 31, I slid down a huge snowdrift not far from this spot; this year the aspens are already leafed out and it looks as if monsoon season’s blowing in close to a month earlier than usual.
If you think you’ve seen this view before, you have — it’s one of my favorites.
There’s plenty of lupine growing wild on the east side of the Sandias right now.
It’s been years since I’ve spotted a scaled quail, and I’ve never seen one perched on cholla before. As usual, I heard him before I saw him. And then, amazingly, I was able to sneak around to his light side and get a few shots before he was on high alert. The critters in the Sandia foothills seem to be loving the COVID-19 lockdown.
Some years the Sandia foothills are full of these poppies — which, although they grow wild, are not native to New Mexico (as their name suggests, they are indeed from Turkey). Other years, not so much. This year was a bit of a combination; there were bunches for about 10 days and then they all went away at once, courtesy of one (or more) of our recent howling spring winds.