Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Diversion to the Mojave National Preserve, Part 2: The Granite Mountains, Southern Kelbaker Road and the Mid Hills

On Saturday we took an extended "day trip" from base camp at the Kelso Dunes, and explored the modest flowering along the southern stretches of Kelbaker Road. Then we explored areas of the Granite Mountains, which lie just to the south of the Kelso Dunes, before heading back to the dunes to spend Saturday night. Sunday we broke camp and headed to the Mid Hills area, specifically dallying and exploring the habitat along Cedar Canyon Road just south of Pinto Mountain (unburned on the north side of the road).

A TINY robber fly, at the Kelso Dunes camp Saturday morning before we left for the day. Possibly Ablautus sp. (or maybe Lasiopogon sp.). Perhaps 10 mm long.

A bee fly (to be determined) at the Kelbaker Road location.

Caterpillar, to be determined. Kelbaker Road.

Cordylospasta opaca, a fast-moving blister beetle. Kelbaker Road.

Small wasp in the family Crabronidae. It was around 12 mm long. I saw several like this along Kelbaker Road, and later in the Granite Mountains.

Robber Fly. Looks like Efferia sp. - a male, with the distinct "terminal bulb" at the end of the abdomen. Kelbaker Road.

Eupompha elegans, a small blister beetle. This is a different morph from the one commonly seen in the Anza Borrego Desert (see image below).

Eupompha elegans, Henderson Canyon Road, Borrego Springs, California.

A decomposed-granite-look-alike grasshopper. To be determined. Kelbaker Road.

Small robber fly (around 10 mm long). Kelbaker Road.

Neacoryphus bicrucis (White-crossed Seed Bug), mating pair. Kelbaker Road.

Part of the Granite Mountains

View somewhat east from the Granite Mountains. Mojave Yucca in foreground.
Eleodes hispilabris, a common teneb in the area.

Greenish spider, to be determined. Granite Mountains.

Mosquito larva and pupae in small pool near a spring. Granite Mountains.

Colorful lichens. Granite Mountains.

Lenticular clouds forming, as seen from the Mid Hills area.

Echinocereus mojavensis, an amazing surprise (to me at least). These stunning beauties were blooming on both sides of Cedar Canyon Road, Mid Hills area.

Echinocereus mojavensis. Mid Hills area.

Echinocereus mojavensis buds. Mid Hills area.

Leptoglossus clypealis, the Western Leaf-footed Bug, on juniper. Mid Hills area.

Mottled Grasshopper, to be determined. Mid Hills area.

Tent caterpillars, Mid Hills area. We saw tents and caterpillars in the Granite Mountains, also.

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