2016 Final Mojave Excursion: Mammals

Desert Woodrat - Neotoma lepidaCamping at the Granite Well site has been the coldest excursion of all the museum outings. It is good that this is the last outing until spring next year. On this trip the science team from the San Diego Natural History Museum included ornithologists and mammalogists. We also enjoyed the company of a member from the San Diego Zoo who wanted to observe the mammal team in the field, and Drew Stokes, who is SDNHM’s resident bat expert.

Our campsites on this expedition were off a side road south of “Hole-in-the-Wall” camp and north of Mitchell Caverns (north of Essex, California). We spread our camps on three sites along a side road with me nearest the highway, Drew at the end of the road (near the well), and the rest of the team in between. Cold and windy was the weather, but cheerful and pleasant was the company. Our stay began on Monday (11/28) and we all left on Friday (12/02). The maps above indicate the three most recent camps we stayed for this re-study. The Cima camp is at the top of the right map, the Cedar Canyon camp is at the middle, and the Granite Well camp is at the bottom (marked as “Black Canyon Road”).

Perhaps it was because of the cool weather, or perhaps because it was the final expedition of the season, or the combination of team members on this trip, but there was a more laid-back air about this trip than the preceding trips. The mammal team had about a 20% catch rate in their traps, which is generally about average. 

I used the bicycle on this trip to advantage. I camped away from the group, but I was still able run down for a visit. I also hauled my camera gear up-canyon and worked on the Crissal Thrashers (mild success) and other birds, but you’ll have to wait for the next post to see those images.

Click map markers to reveal further information