Drying up

finger rock 1

Even a little water is worth fighting over. The summer is coming early this year, and what little surface water remains in many of the canyons is beginning to dry up. While walking in Finger Rock Canyon the other weekend, deep within a mesquite bosque, I found just a single small seep coming from a fissure in a boulder.

finger rock 2

The water was being put to good use. Honeybees (Apis sp.) crowded the seep, drinking what little was available. Occasionally a yellowjacket (Vespula sp.) would fly in, and easily be accommodated. But the scene cleared out immediately when a large wasp or two (Polistes sp.) appeared.

finger rock 3

I didn’t see any direct conflict, but it was very clear that wasps could dominate the resource despite their more limited numbers. I wonder how this conflict will play out as the heat increases, the water slowly disappears, and all creatures wait in hopes of the summer monsoon rains…

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