After a turbulent and stormy winter, we returned to the desert to see the beginning of the spring wildflower season in Borrego Springs, California. Snow could still be seen on a distant mountaintop as flowers bloomed after a series of desert rains.
The tortoise seen above is one of many free standing, steel welded art structures created by artist/welder Ricardo Breceda for Dennis Avery, land owner of Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs.
This ‘Sky Art’ depicts vertebrates of the past, which inhabited the Anza-Borrego region during the Pliocene-Pleistocene and Miocene eras.
This Galleta Meadows Estate plaque points out the historic nature of this site in the area of the expeditionary territory through which the first overland route to San Francisco Bay was established by Juan Bautista de Anza with the help of Cochimí Indian guide, Sebastián Tarabal, on March 14, 1774.
An Indian chief, friar and farm workers are also represented in Breceda’s art structures.
A wild pig and suckling piglets are seen standing and almost obscured by the non-native and invasive Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii).
The Saharan Mustard is now destroying or inhibiting wildflowers in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Although plants in general are protected in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Anza-Borrego Foundation trains volunteers in the removal of the Saharan Mustard. We saw volunteers removing these plants from along Henderson Canyon Road and Borrego Palm Canyon areas. Without their efforts, the vast carpet of spring wildflowers typically seen in Henderson Canyon may disappear.
The Saharan Mustard is also invading Galleta Meadows and obscuring the art structures such as the Big Horn Sheep.
Rams clash as the battle of native and non-native plants looms.
Larry was caught up in the action… and by this raptor.
“I’ve Got a Crush on You” (… Tasha).