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

Insects and Arachnids

A Beautiful Morning

My daughter has been begging me for a dog…specifically a Chihuahua, for the last 6 years and change. Me…I don’t like Chihuahuas.  Yippy, snappy, barky, bitey, toe-biting rat dogs…I always said we would get a dog “someday”, but stressed that we would not get a Chihuahua.  I’m such a sucker…

Yup…my daughter walking her 4-month old Chihuahua, Fleur…

This is them. 2 peas in a pod in only 3 days…

I went and hung out with this puppy for about an hour before I ever told Zayne anything about her.  She is actually a very well-behaved puppy, and very easy to train.

Anyhow…on our little walk around the desert this morning, I took a few pics of the local Autumn wildlife…

Great Basin Fence Lizard

Common Sideblotch

All in all, it’s a beautiful morning.  And yes…I know my kid is wearing 2 different shoes…

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 


Midnight Macros

I couldn’t sleep last night.  Insomnia has always been an issue for me, so I’ve learned to deal with it.  One of my tools is my camera…

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I couldn’t have created better lighting for the green Praying Mantis.  It was sitting on the brass base of my porch light, glowing from the bare bulb above it, and I used a hand-held flash.  I’m pretty happy with the results of all that brass and reflected lighting…

Thanks for looking!


Endangered Toads

The California Black Toad(Bufo exsul) exists only in a tiny chain of natural springs in Eastern California.  They are endemic to this area, and as a founding member of the Eastern Sierra Herpetology Club, it is a privilege to be able to work with the California Department of Fish and Game to protect and maintain the habitat for these animals.  Yesterday, we took a trip up there to check on the toads, and see how the breeding season was coming along…

Adults in amplex amid egg strings

Adult pair in amplex(mating)

We observed 4 or 5 pairs of adult toads in amplex, which means the male has mounted the female and breeding has begun, and we also heard several “release” calls, which is a signal that mating has finished and the male is releasing the female.  We also saw millions developing egg strings, and even a few tadpoles…

Egg Strings. Each tiny, black dot is a developing tadpole. The empty areas are from recently hatched tadpoles...

2 tiny tadpoles, likely only a day or two old...

After visiting the breeding habitat, we followed the spring system to a location known to be home to several toads to see how they were progressing.  We were pleasantly surprised to see a countless number of juvenile toads, likely hatched last year, hopping and swimming around, seemingly everywhere we looked.  To say there were thousands would be an understatement…

Juvie Black Toad

Juvie Black Toad

It was a real treat to see so many breeding adults peacefully using the breeding habitat that we, as a club, helped to restore and protect.  It was also a real treat to see that the implementation of a seasonal road closure, also initiated by the Eastern Sierra Herpetology Club, led to such a successful amount of breeding last season.  We were all smiles and giggles over our short-term successes.  Now we can begin long-term documentation and maintenance and hopefully watch this endangered, endemic population of toads thrive in their only native habitat.

Obviously, while out on these trips, we see other reptilian wildlife and even a few insects.  So here are a couple of “bonus shots” from the day…

No idea...any guesses on species out there?

Great Basin Fence Lizard--Sceloporus occidentalis longipes

Common Sideblotch--Uta stansburiana

Northern Desert Horned Lizard--Phrynosoma platyrhinos platyrhinos

I did find a very pretty and extremely healthy Mojave Patchnose snake(Salvadora hexalepis mojavensis) on the way up to the habitat, but I didn’t get a picture of it.  I got to share it with my friend Rusty who had never seen one before, though, so that’s good enough for me…

Thanks for coming along!


What a GORGEOUS Day!!

Ahh…it felt like Spring.  Hell, it almost felt like summer!  Woke up to a gorgeous sunrise, and had my first cup of coffee on the front porch listening to the sparrows as the sun crept up over the hills…

Sparrow at Sunrise

I got home from work and the Sphinx moths were back out, only this time they were after the freshly blossomed lilacs…

I had to go down to Big Pine to water some animals for a friend who is out of town.  For giggles, I cruised up one of my favorite roads to see if by chance the snakes were awake, and wouldn’t you know it…

Panamint Rattlesnake--Crotalus stephensi

This little juvenile Panamint was very cool, chilling in the road on the way back down.  So it’s official.  First snake of the year means spring is officially here!  I don’t care the weather thinks…

Thanks for looking!


Backyard Birding

When you haven’t got a lot of time, you work with what you got.  I got a nice, big, empty desert loaded with songbirds and blossoming brush as a backyard…

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Sure Signs of Spring

So I was outside this evening shortly before sunset, and I noticed my almond and peach trees were just glowing beautifully with fresh blossoms.  So I grabbed my camera and my 105mm macro lens for some shots…

I have 2 peach trees.  One provides LOADS of smaller, white fleshed peaches, and the other provides fewer, larger yellow fleshed ones.  These are all from the white-flesh tree…

Then I saw this guy buzzing around my almond tree…

He knew he was further than I wanted him to be, so he flew down to the peach tree for a closer look…

That’s it.  Just some sure signs of spring from my front yard.  Thanks for looking!


Bishop Creek Canyon

I went camping with my daughter, my girlfriend, and her daughter up in Bishop Creek Canyon over the weekend.  It was quite nice to get outta town and get out with a camera in hand…

Looking east

Baby Mountain Gartersnake that Annette spotted--Thamnophis elegans elegans

One of the many species of blue damselfly

Butterfly taking a morning "coffee break"

Mother Nature's Garden

Orange Mallow

Mojave Prickly Pear Blossom

Not sure on an ID for this Damselfly yet...

No idea.  Probably a Daisy of some sort...

That’s about it for now.  I took a bazillion pictures of the fire last night, too, but I haven’t processed them yet. 

Anyhow…I really enjoyed the weekend.  I hope you enjoyed seeing the photos!


Baby Tree Frogs

As part of our commitment to the California Department of Fish and Game, the Eastern Sierra Herpetology Club went out to survey for Northern Leopard Frogs this morning.  We didn’t find any, but we weren’t really expecting to.  They haven’t been seen in this area in many years.  We did find some freshly metamorphosed Pacific Tree Frogs(Pseudacris regila), though.  A few of us found a breeding location, and spotted 15-20 or more froglets within 3 meters of each other.

In situ froglet

Pacific Tree Frog

Pseudocris regila

These little amphibians are absolutely adorable.  Given the size and number of bass and bullfrogs we found in the area, it’s really quite a testament to this tree frog’s resiliency that they are coming back and doing so well.  Hopefully, we can find a population of Northern Leopard frogs that have been hiding…

We also saw a ton of dragon flies, some of which I posted earlier.  Here are a few more of those, as well…

Thanks for taking the time to look!