April 1-3 2021 Carrizo Plain

Carrizo is one of my favorite places...a vast grassland with wide open spaces. I hadn’t been there since last year and the drought is definitely taking its toll. I can’t remember it being so dry this early in the year. It looks like the middle or end of summer even though spring has just begun. I think this is the first time I can remember not seeing a single snake at this time of year.

Known for super blooms in good years, flowers this year were sparse and often struggling. That said, there were a few areas that looked better than others as is typical in California. There were patches of goldfields and some hillside daisies, one of the most common flowers in Carrizo. One flower that seemed to be thriving was Stanislaus milkvetch. It was blooming in most areas and was attracting tons of insects. In fact, the number of insects was quite amazing. Carrizo had a pretty good year last year rain-wise so maybe that explains the number of insects. Or maybe they just seemed more prevalent because they were all bunched together on the few flowering plants! One insect was downright ubiquitous...the little bear. They were everywhere. I counted over 50 of them on one plant alone, and they were buzzing around frenetically at times. I even found a couple in my car and one on my shoulder when I was driving!

Though reptiles were scarce and I only saw one pronghorn, I did see a lot of Nelson’s antelope squirrels. They are adorable and it was fun to watch the youngsters interact with each other. As always there were many horned larks, and good numbers of loggerhead shrikes and sage thrashers. It is also amazing to see what looks like a totally degraded arid environment thriving with bird life. Nature is amazing!

What is great about Carrizo as with many natural areas, is that you never know what you will find. There are always the expected species but often you find things you weren’t even looking for. Or things you’ve been wanting to find and finally see. One cool find this visit was fairy shrimp. Though technically right outside the monument boundary, a small culvert of water is often found on one of the access roads to carrizo. This small pond was teeming with fairy shrimp. It was great to see these cute little hardy animals.

A couple of other finds worth noting were a very cool looking jumping spider...one I’ve never seen before and a flower called Kern Mallow that is endangered...and I just thought it was a typical mallow I’ve seen in Carrizo before. Another nice find was this very beautiful looking bee called a Crotch’s digger bee. Finally, though I didn’t get great photos, I saw this mite running around that was almost iridescent..definitely one I haven’t seen before.

While it was a great visit, I felt sad that everything was so dry. I’m hoping the wildlife makes it through okay and let’s hope for lots of rain next year.

Lähettänyt naturephotosuze naturephotosuze, 7. huhtikuuta 2021 07:32

Havainnot

Kuvat / Äänet

Mitä

Amerikanisolepinkäinen Lanius ludovicianus

Havainnoija

naturephotosuze

Päivämäärä

Huhtikuu 1, 2021 02:07 PM PDT

Kuvaus

Carrizo Plain

Kuvat / Äänet

Havainnoija

naturephotosuze

Päivämäärä

Huhtikuu 1, 2021 03:15 PM PDT

Kuvaus

Carrizo Plain
So glad I saw this beautiful bee

Kuvat / Äänet

Havainnoija

naturephotosuze

Päivämäärä

Huhtikuu 1, 2021 04:03 PM PDT

Kuvaus

Carrizo Plain
If it weren't for the milkvetch there were very few plants in bloom along the Soda Lake area

Kuvat / Äänet

Havainnoija

naturephotosuze

Päivämäärä

Huhtikuu 1, 2021 04:51 PM PDT

Kuvaus

Carrizo Plain
By far the most prevalent animal on the plain. I would guess there were thousands as I saw them everywhere. I don't know if there just happen to be more this year or if the lack of flowers are making them be flying around more looking for flowers. I counted 50 on this one plant

Kuvat / Äänet

Havainnoija

naturephotosuze

Päivämäärä

Huhtikuu 2, 2021 12:27 PM PDT

Kuvaus

Carrizo Plain
Love the color on this guy

Kuvat / Äänet

Havainnoija

naturephotosuze

Päivämäärä

Huhtikuu 2, 2021 12:33 PM PDT

Kuvaus

Carrizo Plain
Definitely the coolest find of the day. Hundreds in the saline pond. It was surprising that there were so few birds there to eat them. Normally I see more shore birds than I did on this trip. Perhaps another sign of how much trouble our animals are in

Kuvat / Äänet

Havainnoija

naturephotosuze

Päivämäärä

Huhtikuu 3, 2021 10:00 AM PDT

Kuvaus

Carrizo Plain
Super cool looking jumping spider!

Kuvat / Äänet

Havainnoija

naturephotosuze

Päivämäärä

Huhtikuu 2021

Kuvaus

Carrizo Plain
Surprised to find this small plant in a wash area with some hillside daisies

Kuvat / Äänet

Mitä

Sanjoaquininorava Ammospermophilus nelsoni

Havainnoija

naturephotosuze

Päivämäärä

Huhtikuu 2021

Kuvaus

Carrizo Plain

Kommentit

Thank you for this virtual experience. Carrizo is magical and I only know a few of its species. Here, I'm learning through your eyes and can't wait to return!

Lähettänyt redrovertracy 6 kuukautta sitten (Lippu)

Thanks Tracy! I’ve been there many times and would go more often if it were just a bit closer. I’ve had some great experiences there and agree it is magical.

Lähettänyt naturephotosuze 6 kuukautta sitten (Lippu)

Great post! Carrizo is definitely on my list of places to go :)

Lähettänyt ectothermist 6 kuukautta sitten (Lippu)

Thanks you @quidestforas . It’s one of those places that you have to be a nature lover to enjoy. I think the average person driving thru there would think there’s not much there as you have to really explore it.

Lähettänyt naturephotosuze 6 kuukautta sitten (Lippu)

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