Sunday, February 27, 2011

First Ram of 2011 in Red Rock NCA

Photo was taken February 22, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tarantula Hawk (Wasp) Stinger

This is a close-up of a stinger on a Tarantula Hawk (Wasp).
Humans can receive a very painful sting from a Tarantula Hawk.
This is a dead wasp that I found on the desert.
For more info go to my Tarantula Hawk blog on October 5th, 2010.

Monday, February 21, 2011

West Side Road - Death Valley

Here are the significant things to see along the West Side Road in Death Valley.

Bennett's Long Camp Monument

This is what the monument says:

Near this spot the Bennett-Arcane contingent of the Death Valley 49'ers, emmigrants breaking away from the Mojave-San-Joaquin (Mojave Sand Walking) wagon party, became stranded seeking a shortcut to the gold fields of California. They remained here for well over a month nearly perishing from starvation. Two young companions, William Lewis Manley and John Rogers, undertook an heroic journey on foot to San Fernando, returning with supplies, and then led the party to the safety of San Francisquito Ranch near Newhall.

Here lies Shorty Harris, a single blanket jackass prospector - 1856-1934

Shorty Harris Gravesite

Shorty Harris with his Jackass

Graveside Plaque

Nefarious character and beloved gold hunter Shorty Harris, before dying at age 78, asked that he be buried next to his friend Jim Dayton in Death Valley. He requested that the following epitaph be placed on his headstone;

Here lies Shorty Harris, a single blanket jackass prospector - 1856 - 1934

Also on the marker is written -
To these trailmakers, whose courage matched the dangers of the land, this bit of Earth is dedicated forever.

Jim Dayton had died in 1898 of exposure enroute to buy supplies. He was buried where he was found.

Original Dayton Grave Marker (at base of grave)

Friday, February 18, 2011


Know what this is?

It is an ivory canine tooth that is in the top jaw of an elk. Anciently, elk had tusks that were ivory. Over long expanses of time, the tusks disappeared and antlers formed. The elk have two ivory tooth buds in their upper jaw. Remember, elk and deer have no teeth in the front of their upper jaw; just a hard pallet.

Antlers are living tissue. Velvet covers a growing antler and provides it with blood, supplying oxygen and nutrients. Once the antler is grown, the velvet dries and gets scrapped off and the antler dies eventually turning into bone. Around March the antlers drop off and over the next 4 months grows a new set of fully grown antlers. When the first antler drops, the second will drop off within 24 hours.

These are photos that I took on February 15, 2011 of an Elk at Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim. In this photo he is grunting because he wants to cross the street and motorists keep stopping to get a photo and blocking his way. If you look closely at his open, grunting mouth you can see one of the ivory teeth. Right click on the photo to zoom in.

More photos of that same elk.

The elk just about ripped that pine sapling out of the ground.

This was a fun photo opportunity. I walked parallel with the elk as it walked down the side of the road trying to cross. I was about 25 feet from the elk on the other side of some plants that were growing along the road.

What a beautiful animal!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Beautiful Desert 5 Spot

Eremalche Rotundifolium

This past summer and fall I collected some Desert 5 spot seeds from flowers out in Death Valley at the mouth of Titus Canyon. Yesterday, I noticed that the seeds had started to grow and the photo that you see is the largest of the new plants. The cold weather last week was rough on the little seedling but today it seems to be doing OK. I should have put a penny down next to the plant to show scale. Realize that the gravel you see in the photo is just small to medium size gravel. I will take a photo every Sunday to show you the progress of the plant. The Desert 5 Spot is one of my favorite desert flowers. I also put some of the small black seeds in a plastic cup with some soil and I noticed lately that they are starting to grow. Still very small, however.

Taken on February 6th, 2011 (Sunday)

Taken on February 6th, 2011 (Sunday)

This photo was taken February 20, 2011; two weeks since the last photo.

I spotted this new growth several days ago. Taken on Feb 20, 2011

February 21, 2011 Remember I talked about planting some of the Five Spot seeds in a cup? Well, I took it outside to soak up some sun several days ago and ended up forgetting about it and when I finally brought the cup in the house the little delicate starts had burnt up - or were eaten up by a bug.

February 27, 2011 (largest plant)

February 27, 2011 (medium plant)

February 27, 2011 (smallest plant)

March 13, 2011 (largest plant)

March 13, 2011 (middle-size plant)

March 13, 2011 (smallest plant)

March 27th, 2011 (largest plant - notice the blossoms)

Today while I was photographing the plant, I noticed a fifth 5 - star growing. Yay!

Sunday, April 3rd, I walked out and noticed that one of the buds on the largest 5-spots was just about to bloom. When I came out in the afternoon it had bloomed. You can really see how much more it grew when we finally got warm weather when you compare this photo with the photos taken on March 27th, 2011
Here it is below.

Taken Sunday April 3rd, 2011

Photo taken April 10th, 2011.
Lowest bud on the right side of the flower (half way up) is last weeks blooming bud. This last week the 5-spot has grown faster than at any other time.