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Journal archives for March 2015

March 21, 2015

Desert Wildflower Report 2 (3/16 - 3/19)

In short:

Desert Tortoise Natural Area: Excellent. Carpeted with goldfields, Mojave asters, and white sandblossom, and plenty of other non-massed blooms. The road in from California City (but not the actual preserve) lined with phacelia and suncups. Yellow carpet of presumably goldfields all around California City, around all the creosote bushes.

Red Rock Canyon SP (Hagen Nature Loop): Excellent. Covered in desert dandelions, goldfields, and suncups, also with a nice diversity of other things blooming (owl's clover, bladderpod, sandblossom, Bigelow's monkeyflower), and a lot of zebra-tailed lizards and large, plentiful sphinx moth caterpillars chewing up the Onagraceae ("lots of little varmits!" according to other hikers).

Owens Valley around Ridgecrest also carpeted in goldfields.

Death Valley NP frontcountry: Mixed. Sweltering! Ladybugs, red mites, and interesting insects all over. Big cloud of desert gold between Furnace Creek and Salt Creek, and a smaller one right around Ashford Mill. Tons of very active pupfish in Salt Creek! Gravel ghost and still-plentiful desert five-spot scattered around there too. Panamint Valley had nothing in it but blooming creosote, though there started to be some interesting things once on the eastern pass. Mosaic Canyon has a lot of bushes of what I'd guess are probably called spiny blazing star about to come into bloom. Around Zabriskie Point the same things as Furnace Creek, but in much lesser quantity. Up into Jubilee and Salisbury Pass things were starting to get good. Beavertail cactus just open, lots of tiny white daisies, a whole lot of brittlebush in one area, desert trumpet, etc.

Shoshone area: Hardly anything, though thunderstorms precluded the Tecopa canyoning I had in mind. Shoshone Pupfish in the creek behind the pool.

Highway 58: Lots of goldfields around Boron.

Highway 198 & 25 west of Coalinga: Really pretty as you go west. Rolling green hills with fields of pink cranesbill and tidy tips in Priest Valley, and a field of fiddlenecks and goldfields covered in butterflies at Peachtree Ranch. Lots of dotseed plantain and blue dicks around generally.

Pinnacles NP: Scattered things here and there (poppies, orange bush monkeyflower, indian paintbrush, the very last gasp of shooting stars), but definitely starting to enter the brown and crispy season. Lots of butterflies and frogs, though.

Posted on March 21, 2015 17:12 by sea-kangaroo sea-kangaroo | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 16, 2015

Desert Wildflower Report 1

No photos yet as I didn't bring my laptop, but for any Californians considering a flower-oriented road trip in the next couple of weeks:

Carrizo Plain National Monument: Excellent. Really wonderful display of fiddlenecks and vibrant purple scorpionweed filling all the fields NW of the Soda Lake entrance, around the solar farms (cross streets with names like Helios and Sun Harvest). A couple good patches of baby blue eyes and various yellow thingies on highway 58 between Carrizo and Santa Margarita, as well, particularly at the Shell Creek Road intersection. In the actual monument there are periodic big patches of various things-- mostly goldfields (on the distant mountains also), but also tiny cranesbills so dense they actually make a pink carpet, lots more fiddlenecks, and in one section suncups. Behind KCL campground there's a nice poppy patch, small but dense, though no more antelope squirrel colony (the past years of drought have been hard on the small mammals). And the hills are completely green and there are lots of large furry scarabs flying all over.

The lupine-covered hillsides behind CSU Channel Islands (as reported on Desert USA's page) are pretty much done. There are still lupines, but sparse and on hard to access slopes. The hills are verdant and lovely, though.

Antelope Valley: Around Lancaster there's an excellent California poppy display, though not in the actual reserve, which seems to always be the case, doesn't it? Best poppies are around 80th and K/L. Just look for all the orange and parked cars up on the slope. The poppies there are mingled with stripes of pink gilias in places. Farther west, along I, there's a ton of mingled poppies and goldfields all over the near and far hills and down in the flats between the sage bushes. Should still be nice next weekend even if it's pretty warm this week.

Posted on March 16, 2015 00:43 by sea-kangaroo sea-kangaroo | 1 comment | Leave a comment

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