Musings of a roaming nature nerd

The Intensives… B

The plants and animals of Intensive B have been on my mind a lot over the past week. A 751 acre wildlife burned over the southern and eastern sides of Mittry Lake. I haven’t yet been able to access my survey site on the east side of the lake due to continued road closures. I’m hopeful that next week I’ll be able to get in and see how the site has fared.

A mix of prickly desert plants, fan palms, thick cottonwood and mesquite trees, and marsh grasses and rushes, leads to a tremendous diversity of birds and a lot of data collection during each visit! Over the past few weeks I’ve been fortunate to see over half a dozen Black-tailed Gnatcatcher families, the young with tiny stubby tails, fluttering and calling for attention. A few successful Verdin nests have also produced broods of little puff balls with orange bills, bouncing around on the branches of mesquites, while the parents feed them frantically.¬†Discoveries of the non-bird variety vary as well. A coyote trotting through the arrowweed with a dead quail in its jaws; a small ball of bees buzzing and rippling at the edge of the marsh; and just across from the plot on the Army bombing range, a herd of 9 borregos- 3 babies and 6 adults.¬†With each visit there has been something new and I have to wonder how it all may have changed over this past week.

Wild-fire is critically important to the cyclical rejuvenation of landscapes world wide. Unfortunately this one was human-caused and while it did burn through several invasive tamarisk groves it also destroyed a lot of healthy riparian habitat. ¬†For better or worse everything changes with time; soon we’ll see what changes have been brought about during this mid-season turn of events.

Surveying

 

Cottonwood

 

Arrowweed flowers at sunrise

 

Mittry Lake and moonset

 

Ball of bees! Apparently this is called budding, which is when worker bees surround and protect the queen as a new colony begins.

 

Desert berregos on the bombing range. Good luck little ones.

One Response

  1. Boy

    It looks like you are seeing so much out there! I love the bees :)

    Oh, and Happy Birthday!

    May 27, 2011 at 10:33 am