11 Jul

A side benefit of birding is that sometimes there aren’t birds around . . . or not around yet . . . or that you can’t see right that minute.  Oh, you get the point.  Sometimes when you’re birding, there’s no birds.  Usually, however, there are other things to look at like butterflies, moths, dragonflies, and wildflowers.  I like to look at wildflowers when I can because those other things tend to move to fast for me to capture with my camera and if I don’t capture it with my camera . . . I didn’t really see it.  You see?

The eastern Sierra Nevada mountains is high desert and as such, it’s seasons are off from where I live in the coastal mountains.  So, it’s the tail end of spring up there and deep summer here.  So, we saw lots and lots of wildflowers.  Sometimes I stopped and took pictures and sometimes I couldn’t.  We went on a nature walk at Mono Lake’s South Tufa area.  My parents have both recently become volunteers at the Mono Lake Visitors Center and my stepfather, Igor, is going to start giving tours at the South Tufa area.  So, we were there to see how it’s done and to enjoy the Tufas and the birds.  Dave, the tourguide, is also an expert birder.  He can do amazing bird calls.  He’s the reason that I have a Brewer’s Sparrow on my life list now.  Thank you, Dave!

Mono Lake is one of the most amazing places on earth.  Why?  Well, my husband and I were married there 20 years ago and that is why it’s amazing.  No?  Well, how about it’s an inland sea, 6 times saltier than the oceans.  How about the fact that in the 30’s far-sighted officials in LA bought the water rights to the streams that feed Mono Lake and nearly killed it?  How about the grassroots movement that saved Mono Lake?  How about the amazing numbers of California Gulls, Phalaropes, and Eared Grebes that visit Mono Lake every year and depend on the amazing richness of food (brine shrimp and black flies) that it provides?  How about it’s stunning beauty? [Click]

I’m guessing that you get the idea . . . Mono Lake is amazing and wonderful and thankfully it’s being preserved.  Yay!


Desert Suncup (Camissonia boothii var. desertorum) at South Tufa, Mono Lake


Phacelia fremontii (Fremont phacelia) at South Tufa, Mono Lake

Wild Rose

Wild Rose (Rosa californica) – took this one while we were looking at the Bald Eagle nest — and being eaten alive by the biggest, most vicious, painful mosquitos I’ve ever encountered!


Hillside above Grant Lake

How could we drive by here?  Greg was wonderful and let me get out and take tons of macro shots of the flowers.

Mustang Mint (Monardella lanceolata)


Lupine (don’t know which one)


White-stemmed Blazing Star (Mentzelia albicaulis)

Bright yellow

Sulfur flower (Eriogonum umbellatum)


Unknown itsy-bitsy blue


Unknown itsy-bitsy white flower


Prickly poppy (Argemone munita) – brimming with life!

SNEAK PREVIEW:  Coming soon! . . . a visit to the Super Secret Meadow!  Don’t tell ANYONE!


8 Responses to “Wildflowers!”

  1. jayne 11 July, 2008 at 2:42 am #

    What a beautiful place Liza. I love all your wildflower shots…. so very pretty.

  2. Lynne 11 July, 2008 at 4:14 am #

    I especially like the shot looking up that rocky hillside.

  3. vicki 11 July, 2008 at 4:19 am #

    Whoa! This will teach me to wander off. I think you are an all-round person of merit but even more than a specific birding, photographing or whatever skill, you have an exceptional eye for the world around you, Liza. These are great pictures of a place I’ve never been, so thanks for that.

  4. Gallicissa 11 July, 2008 at 5:27 am #

    When birds are not forthcoming I default to dragonflies and butterflies. But if I have flowers like that, I may make exceptions.

  5. robin andrea 11 July, 2008 at 6:44 am #

    Those flowers are spectacular. I’ve been to Mono Lake, but not during a high desert spring. It looks so lush there. I’m so glad you took the time to walk about and photograph this splendid scene.

  6. Miz S 11 July, 2008 at 2:56 pm #

    I loved all the photos, but that little itsy-bitsy white flower is especially lovely.

    I have never even heard of Mono Lake (pathetic easterner that I am), but I am bookmarking the link and putting it on my list of Places I Want To Visit.

  7. Pam 11 July, 2008 at 3:54 pm #

    I love these flower photos, especially of the hillside! Very beautiful!

  8. Crafty Green Poet 12 July, 2008 at 8:25 am #

    What wonderful photos, looks like an amazing place!

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