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March of the barrel cactuses

An overcast morning, so the birds were subdued, except for the hummingbirds (Anna’s), which were out in force (4 or 5 sightings). The woodpeckers were content to stand guard on their saguaros, and the pigeons on their telephone wires. I saw one bright verdin with its red shoulder patch hopping around in a bush. That’s the second time this year I’ve seen the shoulder patch so clearly, I wonder if it is more prominent in the winter. My memory from last summer, when the wash was dominated by verdins, is that it mostly wasn’t visible.

The barrel cactus (Ferocactus wislizenii) , shown here on the east side of the wash as I was walking north, always leans to the south, apparently to cast a shadow on its south side and protect it from sunburn. The one at the back seems to be leaning more to the southwest.

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About Bill McCallum

I was born in Australia and came to the United States to pursue a Ph. D. in mathematics at Harvard University, met my wife, and never went back. I am a professor at the University of Arizona, working in number theory and mathematics education.


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