Photos of the day - 21 May 2016

Saguaro cactus in bloom

Saguaros are one of the "type species" of the Sonoran desert.  They are very tolerant of drought, and their pleated trunks expand and contract as their shallow but broad root systems pull moisture from the ground whenever it rains.  However their northern range is limited by their low tolerance for freezing temperatures.

It was a special year for the Saguaro cacti around Tucson, Arizona this Spring.  In all my years living in and visiting Tucson, I have never seen such an explosion of Saguaro blooms as I did this year.

Sonoran Desert, southern Arizona

The beautiful Sonoran Desert - the lushest desert in the world, with 12 inches of rainfall annually.

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Down in the canyons, cool water flows.

Down in the canyons, cool water flows.

The massive Saguaro cactus, whose seed is so small it is difficult to see with the naked eye, can grow to 60 feet tall, weigh 2 tons, and live well over 100 years.  Their pleated trunks expand and contract as they store and lose water.

The massive Saguaro cactus, whose seed is so small it is difficult to see with the naked eye, can grow to 60 feet tall, weigh 2 tons, and live well over 100 years.  Their pleated trunks expand and contract as they store and lose water.

An agave with a view.

An agave with a view.

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The Grey Hawk,  Buteo plagiatus,  is found only in the most southern areas of the United States, and migrate further south in Winter.

The Grey Hawk, Buteo plagiatus, is found only in the most southern areas of the United States, and migrate further south in Winter.

The Harris Hawk,  Parabuteo unicinctus,  hunts in pairs or larger family groups.

The Harris Hawk, Parabuteo unicinctus, hunts in pairs or larger family groups.