With the Sierra Nevada mountains buried in a record snowpack, and new storms rolling in, the hot ticket for campers this year is a tour of California’s deserts, which are experiencing a fantastic superbloom of desert flowers after receiving almost twice their average rainfall.
Rainfall in the Coachella Valley as of April 13 at 6.43 inches is near an all-time-record for the current water year that began on November 1, 2016. California’s average desert rainfall is about 3.8 inches a year, but it was just 0.92 inches in the 2013-14 water year and an almost indistinguishable 0.25 in 2006-07, according to DesertWeather.com blog.
The lower elevation desert regions tend to transform from scrub brown in late mid-February to a gala of purple, blue, pink, red, orange yellow, gold and white flowers that starts with annuals, then yuccas in March, and then cactus flowers in late April.
Bay Area public radio station KQED is featuring some great shots taken from space to demonstrate just how dramatic the desert transformation has been this year. For a breakdown of the flowers, the always interesting Desert USA website has what is blooming by color right now.
The Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce recently commented that in the last month, over 150,000 people have come to the tiny town, which features the popular Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center, host to the best desert museum in the state and a great jumping-off spot for a desert flower tour.
Borrego Springs is also highly regarded for a number of hearty local birds, seasonal migrants now headed back north, and large kettles (group) of hawks circling above the desert floor. About 20 miles away is the Salton Sea, which hosts 400 species of birds and is considered by the National Audubon Society as one of America’s best birding locations.