Mother Nature is the artist. I just collect the memories…

Field Trip!!

So…went on the first field trip of 2010 for the Eastern Sierra Herpetology Club.  Now, anyone that has followed this blog for a little while remembers the pictures from last year’s first field trip.  We spent 3 hours driving south trying to outrun the heavy winds and snow.  We never did, but we had a great time. 

Good thing about that was I knew anyone that attended last year’s first trip…wouldn’t be scared off by the weather forecast for this year’s trip.  The forecast called for cool temperatures in the low 60’s and heavy winds of 35-45mph, and gusts reaching as much as 65mph in the valleys.  As my luck would have it…the trip was scheduled for Death Valley.  We decided to head out to Darwin Falls, and to be honest, the wind was pretty blustery, but once we got up in the canyon…it was a really, really nice day…

Lower Darwin Falls

This is the lower falls.  there was a really neat hike up to the upper falls which had quite a few hard 3rd class scrambles and even some intermediate 4th class climbing, which was a ton of fun.  The upper falls is about 120′ tall or so, but I didn’t get a decent shot. 

We didn’t find any California Toads (Bufo boreas halophilus), which was a main reason for going there, but I definitely heard one jump in the water and swim away, and we know there is a ton of habitat, they were just hiding.  There were a LOT of people walking in to see the falls. 

We did find a TON of wildflowers and lizards, however… 

Yellow Desert Poppy

Mating Damselflies

Sagebrush Lizard

Sagebrush Lizard

Showy Gilia

Sticky Yellow Throats

Tiny Blazing Star

Yellow Monkey Flower

Yellow Monkey Flower

These following two presumed female Zebratail Lizards, were both very content to sit perfectly still in the sun and let all of us walk up to take their pictures… 

Zebratail 1

Zebratail 2

On the way out, John and I were half-heartedly looking for snakes crossing the road.  The storm clouds were building up, and as John pulled over to let some cars pass, I couldn’t resist switching to the 14mm lens, and shooting this B&W of the storm… 

Storm Over Death Valley

All in all it was a fantastic day.  The weather wasn’t perfect, but it was a pleasant day filled with good times and great company, so…who could complain?  

Oh and…it snowed Sunday night…in Bishop.  It was gone by Monday evening, but we got a few inches that night.  I’m just glad I didn’t wake up to a few inches on Sunday morning like we did last year… 

As always, thanks for taking the time to look!

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