Sonoran Desert Experience…thru “lens & pen!”
Hi … I’m Cyndy Warnier, the Program & Development Director here at Spirit in the Desert. I am the shutter-bug of the photos you see on our website. I am also a lover of the desert, and along with my husband, Al who also works here and is an arborist, study the desert through my lens as well as through forums to learn about its unique flora and fauna. So, from my “lens & pen”–welcome to a “Sonoran Desert Experience!” Each month I will post an article, with pictures-of course, about life in this beautiful and diverse desert. Birds, mammals, reptiles…even an arachnid or two, plus a variety of plants whose botany is specific to Arizona’s portion of the Sonoran Desert–and all whose existence are endangered. Our registration lobby features many of my photos in a variety of matted sizes, as well as on 5×7 photo cards, complete with blank insides or nice mix of all-occasion prose. You can always “take away a bit of the desert” in my pictures to remind you of your stay at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center.
This month can go a variety of ways for plants and animals – WHY? It all depends on the ‘Monsoon Season’ – will it be a monsoon with good rains, or a “non-soon” leaving the Fall months dryer than normal. The impact of water in the desert is nothing short of precious, if not life-giving and life-saving!
Phenology in September is a time of transition – both for the climate and the biology that lives in it. We know our temperatures in the day time can still be pretty hot, but toward the middle to the end of the month we’re looking forward to those cool-down evenings. And it’s not just us humans … plants and flowers will become fully ripe and ready to eat and are best harvested in the cooler evenings. Then we deal with “breeding season” – Big Horn Desert Sheep call September their “frisky time” and so do insects, but alas, if there is not monsoon rains giving standing water, the “frisk” goes out of their lives. We wouldn’t mind it much if the mosquitoes didn’t breed as that helps keep down the spread of West Nile Virus which we now realize enjoys the heat, giving Arizona a high rating even if we don’t have the population of mosquitoes like the Midwest (I know, I hail from Wisconsin where you can take flight on one of them!). Butterflies will be found decorating and pollinating the landscape, moist or dry, and September is peak time for bird migration. They are either passing through or settling in for our mild winters. September … Transition … sounds a lot like “life in general” don’t you think?