A personal portfolio: Death Valley flower show 31 Mar 2005
all photos & text by Don Roberson,
all photos taken in California
Photos taken in Death Valley National Park, Inyo Co., 31 Mar 2005:
Rita and I drove out to Death Valley to see the wild flower show, and found there was yet another "spectacle of nature" underway. Warm weather after cool rains had spawned an immense flight of Painted Lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) northward from Mexico and southern California. They were moving across the desert and Central Valley in the millions. It was impossible not to 'paint' a canvas of Painted Ladies on the windshield (right). According to Bob Stewart's Common Butterflies of California (1997), this migration occurs at this time every year, but usually not in such multitudes.
The wildflowers were, indeed, another spectacle of nature. Here am I in a field of mostly Desert Gold Geraea canescens near Ashford Mill in the south end of Death Valley [photo © Rita Carratello; all flower i.d.s from the Death Valley National Park web site]. The snow-capped Panamints form the backdrop.
Below are blooms of beavertail cactus Opuntia basilaris and Desert Five-Spot Eremalche rotundifolia

Orange globes of Toothed Dodder Guscuta denticulata (left) stretch across alluvial gullies above Jubilee Pass (left) or form a riotous foreground, with Desert Chicory Rafinesquia neomexicana and Bigelow Coreopsis Coreopsis bigelovii (above). But it is most impressive, I thought, when used as a background for a male Black-throated Sparrow (below)
Although we are birders and not botanists, one could not help but be impressed with this show. The greatest diversity seemed to be along the road over Salsberry Pass at the southern end of Death Valley National Park. Here (right) Rita works on Bigelow Coreopsis and Desert Chicory. Any who stops and pulls off the road starts a "flower jam" with dozens of other carloads of tourists stopping to see what you've found. It was just like the "bear jams" in Yellowstone!
In this view of Salsberry Pass (left), a Golden Evening Primrose Cammisonia brevipes dominates the scene
Since this was a 'spectacle of nature' type of trip, lets throw in a shot of the snowy east side of the Sierra Nevada (right; from near Tinemaha Reservoir INY), and also finish off with a view of Mono Lake (below).

See the family page for county abbreviations. All photos © 2005 Don Roberson; all rights reserved.
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Page created 2 Apr 2005