We have camped there before around this time of year, and on the last trip were toasted in unusually hot temperatures (low 90s), but this year things were cooler (with a little rain on Friday night even). Some flowers were blooming from earlier rains, but it has not turned into an "epic" flower season, sadly (the El Nino rains have not materialized for southern California in the way we had hoped).
Here are a few of the highlights from this trip:
|"Palm Bowl" group of native palms (Washingtonia filifera). This was one canyon south from Indian Gorge.|
|Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis), also in the canyon to the south of Indian Gorge and Indian Valley (as is the iguana below).|
|This one allowed a very close approach!|
|This very pale (felsic) granite is everywhere in the area. It has nicely formed mica embedded in it.|
|A pottery shard, from the earlier inhabitants of the region - the first I have seen in the Anza Borrego Desert. Indian Gorge.|
|Oncerimetopus nigriclavus (a small true bug with a BIG name!). In Torote Canyon, which is an off-shoot from Indian Gorge. Torote is Spanish for Elephant Tree, and a few of these trees (twhich are more abundant in Mexico) occur in this small canyon.|
|The Red-eared Blister Beetle (Lytta auriculata). This was the main beetle seen. NO tenebrionids (darkling beetles) were seen at all - very unusual. Possibly due to the cool temperatures.|
|Lytta auriculata feeding on Brittlebush.|
|More Lytta auriculata (MAKING more Lytta auriculata).|
|An ichneumon wasp, one of the few (non-moth) visitors to the black light that I set out on Saturday night.|
|A nocturnal mutillid (velvet ant - which is actually a wasp). At the light.|
|Ready to demolish Tokyo!!! Well, maybe not (it's less than a centimeter long...).|
This appears to be a nymph of the planthopper Orgerius sp. Just about the most photogenic creature to appear at the light.
|Another view of Orgerius sp.|