As part of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy‘s Field Institute, we set 40 small mammal traps and 5 medium traps last night and then went back to see what we got this morning. Not even one rodent but we were very excited to find a Gray Fox! They are quite common in the Preserve. Only visual documentation was made and then we let him go. All in all, a very exciting morning!
Today marked the second round of the Flora Survey of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Today we went to the Lost Dog Wash and boy…was it dry! So far this year, we’ve only received half the amount of normal rainfall so much of our desert is very dry. We did manage to find one plant that hadn’t been documented, though. We had lots of fun including almost stepping on a sleeping Rattlesnake! We were literally inches from it. We then came across and collected a Javelina skull and a small carnivore’s skull which we guessed might be a baby coyote. They will be used by the Conservancy’s naturalist in her educational programs. She was very excited to get them 🙂
Besides collecting (I’m a Steward), I typically also take photos for the Conservancy’s Facebook Page. Here is a collage of some of those photos.
Yesterday, along with botanical expert Steve Jones, I led a Photography/Wildflower walk to Brown’s Ranch. Not many flowers to see this year so this Desert Holly (Acourtia nana) was a real treat. My wide angle lens was almost touching the plant which makes it look larger than it is but in reality, they’re so tiny, they are almost impossible to spot unless you know what you’re looking for.
So what do you do when you have to lead a wildflower hike (this past Sunday) and there are no flowers? You wing it! Lucky for me, I had two great assistants. Botanist Steve Jones entertained everyone with flora trivia and Chris Rutz filled us in on the ranching history of this area and gave us a climbing lesson. In this photo, he’s pointing out anchors embedded in the rock to which a rope is connected. Before Chris started climbing, I always thought climbers used the rope to pull themselves up but it is there strictly for safety in case they fall. All in all, a really fun morning! Thanks again, Steve and Chris 🙂
The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is about to start its annual Wildflower Watch. I was asked to come up with a logo for their Facebook page and here is the result. To get to the Wildflower Watch page, CLICK HERE to the Activities Calendar. Then click on the last tab on the right above the calendar (Special Event-Wildflower Event). Look to the left and click on Wildflower Watch for lots of information including photos of flowers. Poppies captured last year on the Tom’s Thumb trail. (oops…title not centered!)
The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy now has a Field Institute and today was the first day for many members, including me, to collect flora specimens. The goal of the Institute is to document the flora in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve during the next 3 years. Besides being fun, this Flora Survey will be a great opportunity to gain some botanical knowledge. Front and center (holding White RatanBursage) is our fearless leader; botanist Steve Jones.
I’m honored to be among 7 photographers featured in an exhibit at the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts (second street). Especially so because my 13 foot panorama of the McDowell Mountains is front and center! I also have several other pieces you might recognize if you follow my blog (bike/sunrise, 3 poppies and coyote). The panorama and coyote were mounted by Artisan Colour who I recommend HIGHLY! The panorama had to be especially difficult to work with but not only did they do a fantastic job but to my surprise they rushed it at no extra expense. Thanks so much guys! You have my work from now on 🙂
The exhibit is up from January 24 through February 16. CLICK HERE for a short video of the gallery space.
Lots of trail work needed to mitigate some deep ruts on the mountain bike course of the McDowell Sonoran Challenge. (The ruts were caused by motorbikes which are no longer allowed). The event is January 29, 2011 so time’s a wastin’ as they say!
MSC Stewards hard at work.