Mojave Desert: Part 7

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Zach Cava
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Mojave Desert: Part 7

Post by Zach Cava » December 8th, 2012, 2:59 pm

I wrote a lot in my last post, so this time I’m going to try and just let the pictures speak for themselves.

-Zach




Celestial sunrise

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Mojave Green (Crotalus scutulatus)

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Tarantula Hawk

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Turquoise?

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Surveying for Desert Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni)

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Sheep scat

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Success

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Great Basin Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores)

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Blooming Mammilaria tetrancistra

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Monsoon season

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Reakirt’s Blue (Echinargus [Hemiargus] isola)

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Cutting a hiking/biking/horse trail

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Quartz

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Moving a cholla out of the way

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Cauliflower rock

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The bright orange flagging used to mark these chollas is apparently mistaken for flowers by hummingbirds, which we would often see hovering around plastic tape.

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Disappointed hummingbird (sp.?)

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Posing C. bicinctores

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Cool rocky wash

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Dendritic pseudofossil

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Rings

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Our ride

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Old car

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Remains of a dwelling

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Tiny piece of eggshell, possibly from a Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis)

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One of the many PVC pipe markers out here that birds fly into and get trapped in

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Common Poorwill (Phalaenoptilus nuttallii)

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Desert fungi

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Contrails

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Red Racer (Coluber [Masticophis] flagellum piceus)

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Yucca curls

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Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes cerastes)

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Colorful scat

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DOR sidewinder, found in the vicinity as the one pictured above a day later, but I don’t think it’s the same snake.

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Nice early morning drive

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I’ll never get tired of cracked mud

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Astragalus in a hole

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Great Basin Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris tigris) drinking mud

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Site of a historically productive spring, now dry after so much water has been diverted for development, agriculture, etc.

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Mammal tooth

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Scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis?)

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Chamaesyce sp.

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Dragonfly (Sympetrum corruptum?)

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Brachiopod fossil

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Petrified wood

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Remains of Native American “sleeping circles” – rocks were heated beside a fire and then used to keep warm during the night.

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Non-fossilized marine shell (“oyster drill” Urosalpinx sp.), probably used ornamentally (e.g. as a bead) by native people.

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Knife blade (2,000 – 3,000 years old)

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I realized that in all of my Mojave Desert posts, I haven’t talked much about the sun. We’ve known for a while that sunlightUV light in particular - is powerful stuff. And there’s a whole lot of it out here.

While the desert sun is probably better known for its ability to “wash-out” colors (see below examples), it can also have the opposite effect. Here is a piece of a “sun-purpled” glass bottle. From the late 19th – early 20th century manganese was widely used as an agent in glassmaking for ability to make glass clear. However, prolonged exposure to UV causes the manganese to react chemically and turn the glass a purplish hue. As a result, purple glass can be useful for anthropologists/archaeologists because it can often be dated relatively easily and accurately.

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Still good?

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Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata)

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More fungi

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Female Sulphur Butterfly (either Colias eurytheme or C. philodice)

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Tracks

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Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) tail feather

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Sleepy Orange (Eurema [Abaeis] nicippe)

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Desert Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes coloro)

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Skunk or badger skull

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Old roadmap?

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White-lined Sphinx (Hyles lineata) caterpillar. The larvae of this species are highly variable in coloration and pattern.

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Pupa

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Adult moth

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Juvenile Desert Woodrat (Neotoma lepida) in a nest

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Desertshrub Spider (Diguetia sp.)

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Desert Encruster Termites (Gnathamitermes sp.)

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Little tortoise in a little burrow

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Say’s Stink Bug (Chlorochroa sayi)

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Long-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii)

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Coyote Melon (Cucurbita palmata)

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Male Sagebrush Checkerspot (Chlosyne acastus)

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First Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata)

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Apache Jumper (Phidippus apacheanus). Like many species in this genus, this spider is a mutilid wasp (aka “velvet ant”) mimic.

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Revenge of the melons

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Raptor mummy, possibly a Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

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Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis)

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"dei ex machina"

Fossil fuel for blood
A prehistoric epoch, reincarnate
Biomimetic behemoths
of painted steel
and rubber wheels

Strong and clumsy, mostly
but capable of grace
In the right hands, at times,
distinction is erased

Necks extend, metallic jaws agape
Coughing, wheezing
Spiral proboscises drill
and talons pierce
the Earth-flesh

In the distant desert valley
Water now replaced
by solar fields
square, photovaultaic lakes

Electric ghosts of Indians
Buzz through the wires above
and towers standing tall
like figures I’ve known from ancient stone

Maybe Haeckel was right all along,
and these are Frankenstein’s Monsters



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Image Credit: Nathan Wynn
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Image Credit: Associated Press
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Image Credit: Tony Perrie
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Image Credit: Tuscon Electric Power
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Image Credit: Teft Photo
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Image Credit: Willie Holdman
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Image Credit: billandjanettravel.blogspot.com
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Image Credit: www.toddshikingguide.com
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My first Mojave Desert California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae), unfortunately DOR.

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Aside from some blood around its mouth, there didn’t appear to be any other obvious trauma. Because the snake was found just of the shoulder of the road I’m guessing it was clipped by a vehicle.

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Life goes on…

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…and on

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Evidence of an Ourobouros population in the area

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Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

User avatar
Ruxs
Posts: 372
Joined: November 23rd, 2011, 8:26 am
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Re: Mojave Desert: Part 7

Post by Ruxs » December 8th, 2012, 10:48 pm

Really interesting post. Good job

Gordon C. Snelling

Re: Mojave Desert: Part 7

Post by Gordon C. Snelling » December 9th, 2012, 5:56 am

Very cool. The yellow ants look to be Myrmecocystus mexicanus.

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tspuckler
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Re: Mojave Desert: Part 7

Post by tspuckler » December 9th, 2012, 6:38 am

Awesome. I especially liked the Apache Jumper. That Cal King was high contrast, it's a shame about it being a DOR.

Tim

Reptiluvr
Posts: 258
Joined: April 23rd, 2011, 6:49 pm

Re: Mojave Desert: Part 7

Post by Reptiluvr » December 9th, 2012, 9:06 am

Those ants eating the Cal King were my favorite. Pretty cool to see the mandibles at work up close like that.

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Fieldnotes
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Re: Mojave Desert: Part 7

Post by Fieldnotes » December 9th, 2012, 12:08 pm

Zach,

Great post as usual. You have the eye of an artist, I am never going to look at the desert the same again (meaning, I am not just going to be looking for herps anymore). You got pictures of some interesting plants and insects that I would pass bye. The link between the power lines and petroglyphs is shocking. :thumb:

W

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rosy-man
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:43 am
Location: East of san diego

Re: Mojave Desert: Part 7

Post by rosy-man » December 11th, 2012, 12:46 pm

Love your series keep them up

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Will Wells
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Re: Mojave Desert: Part 7

Post by Will Wells » December 12th, 2012, 9:49 am

Cool post! Lots of interesting things on the ground when you stop to take a look. Thanks for sharing.

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moloch
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Joined: June 16th, 2010, 12:26 pm

Re: Mojave Desert: Part 7

Post by moloch » December 14th, 2012, 5:58 pm

Very interesting, Zach. I enjoyed the variety of photos of habitats and animals that you included. Eurema is a fairly widespread and diverse group of pierids here in Australia as well.

Regards,
David

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