Desert Alive in the Inyo Mountains – 5 May 2010

Yesterday, FOI Conservation Associate Andrew Schurr, Inyo National Forest Geologist Margie DeRose and I spent the day reviewing old mine shaft & adit sites along the Mazourka Canyon corridor in the Inyo Mountains that FOI’s Stewardship Crew will be fencing this season as part of an American Reinvestment and Recovery Act contract. The fencing is intended to ensure folks don’t stumble or drive into these roadside shafts while staring at red-tail hawks, limestone cliffs or GPS units. While the mines, old masonry walls and explosive views across the Owens Valley from the Inyos were great, Mother Nature’s knock out display of wildlife and wildflowers were the real attraction of the day.

Collard LizardFrom luscious watermelon pink Beavertail Cactus flowers to chinese lantern-like Desert 5-spot to sulphur seas of miniature yellow sunflowers, the usually dun hills of the Inyos were awash in living watercolors. Eight species of butterflies bounced over 6 species of lizards – from Horned Toads to Whiptails to the Collard Lizard pictured here. Andrew almost stepped on the largest rattlesnake I had ever scene; thank god those guys have rattles…

Beavertail Flower