Along with the stint of trapping near the SFSU Field Campus, I also started a new survey that I think y'all will like - it's on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, south of Mono Lake, where an amazing volcano-designed landscape is being re-sculpted by water and wind.
On my first visit in late March, the region was still mostly snowbound.
But, when I returned in July, it was green. Very green...
Eastern Sierra Nevada pond and wetland at near 7,000 feet
Carved valley basin with streams that feed into pond
Small groves of aspens and willows hug the valley border
Pinyon pines, rabbitbrush, pumice and obsidian speckle the steep slopes
Jeffrey pines and dramatic outcrops line the ridges
One of the first mammals I glimpsed on my return was a small, gray chipmunk-looking tiny that bounded about in the mazes of sand and sagebrush.
But, I knew a way to get them to stop and smile for the cam.
As it turns out, they weren't chipmunks at all. They're white-tailed antelope ground squirrels, Ammospermophilus leucurus, a fixture of the desert scrub.
Antelope ground squirrel finding my friendship offering. The small ears, ashy gray fur and distinctive white side stripe are key characters for IDing the species
Groundie grabbing a cashew 1/2 the size of its head
Doing a little cheek stuffing
A final face full
And this is just one of more than a dozen mammal species in this region that I've not had the opportunity to trap on the other side of the Sierra Nevada.
Really looking forward to seeing what else shows up.