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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Bartlett Lake, Arizona

Bartlett Lake 2021

Bartlett Lake 2020. What a difference a year makes. Notice the difference in the water level and the number of wildflowers blooming.

"Bartlett Lake is the second largest lake in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area behind Lake Pleasant. When full, Bartlett Lake has over 2,800 acres of water surface, is about 12 miles long, and has an average depth of 100 feet with a maximum depth of 174 feet. The lake has two contrasting sides with gently sloping beaches on one side and mountains on the other."

Took a drive to Bartlett Lake this afternoon to see if the wildflowers were in bloom and check on the water level of the lake. The wildflowers are just starting to bloom. The water level of the lake is down so much this year due to lack of rain during monsoon season in 2020 and the lack of rain this past winter and early spring. We definitely need more rain!!!!

There were people camping along the shoreline. There were not many boats on the lake, however.

Drift wood from the lake

The snow covered mountains off in the distance are along the Beeline Highway heading to Payson.

This area received less than a quarter inch of rain the last two days while the mountains had snow. We definitely need more rain!

Yellow brittle bush are just starting to bloom.

"Ocotillo are one of easiest plants to identify in the desert. They are a large shrub with long cane-like unbranched spiny stems that grow from a short trunk. Small 2 inch leaves will grow from the stems when there is enough moisture. Dense clusters of red tubular flowers grow from the end of the stems from March through June." The only ocotillo blossoming are those close to the water.

Ocotillo prefer a habitat that is open and very rocky, and where the soil is well drained. These are areas such as rocky slopes, mesas, washes and desert grasslands.

There is much discussion on exactly how old an ocotillo can live. A good estimate is 60 years although some studies indicate they can live well over 100 years.

Ocotillo can reach heights of up to 20 feet.

The ocotillo is often used as "fencing" because its spines stop people and animals from passing through.

The red chuparosa ( also called hummingbird bush or beloperone) attracted many hummingbirds today.

Hummingbirds highly endorse the profuse blossoms that fit the textbook description of a hummingbird flower: tubular and red

Let's play a little game. Where in the world is the hummingbird?

I will start with an easy one.

I should have brought my telephoto lens.

Hint: it is somewhere on the top chuparosa. Now can you spot it?

The hummingbird is in flight

Desert lupine

This nectar-rich desert wildflower is highly attractive to a number of pollinators, including honeybees and bumblebees.

A member of the pea family, desert lupine is a distinctive plant with dark green, palmate leaves and spikes of blue or purple, pea-like flowers. Height at maturity is about 18 inches (45 cm.), but desert lupine may reach heights of up to 4 feet (1 m.). Desert lupine plants bloom prolifically in moist years, carpeting the desert with color. However, this hardy plant blooms even in dry years, and is commonly found growing along roadsides.

The desert lupine is very small this year due to a lack of moisture this past year.

The desert marigold are just starting to bloom.

These plants can be found growing on sandy or gravelly soils of roadsides, plains, washes, mesas, and pinyon-juniper communities.

Desert marigold either fresh or dried, are poisonous to goats and sheep, but not to cattle or horses.

Birds such as black-throated sparrows consume the desert marigold's pale tan seeds in fall. Desert marigolds are one of the most conspicuous spring wildflowers across the arid lands of the southwest.

"The desert marigold plant can be mildly toxic to dogs when ingested and can also cause irritation when contact is made with the fur and skin. Though the effects of this plant are not life-threatening in any way, your pet may experience discomfort with exposure."

"The fine hairs on the foliage serve the important purpose of reflecting heat and the brightest rays of the sun, controlling the temperature of the leaves. Though the foliage is attractive enough to stand on its own, the brilliant yellow flowers bloom practically all season long. This plant's drought tolerance and long lasting blossoms have made it valuable in desert landscaping, though its toxic foliage makes it unsuitable for pastures. The name "marigold" is derived from "Mary's Gold," a tribute to the virgin Mary. The Latin genus name "Baileya" of Baileya multiradiata refers to 19th century botanist and chemist Jacob Whitman Bailey, honored for his work in microscopic organisms."

The poppies were not out yet. We will have to come back in a week or two.

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