Algodones Dunes 20130126
Saturday Jan 26. Jan Wilson and Dick Norton met me in dense fog at my house before sunrise and we headed out to the Algodones Dunes in search of LeConte's Thrasher and adventure. The fog was heavy all the way out and stayed that way till late in the morning and to me that is about as awesome as you can get in the dunes!! They had never been deep in the dunes before so when the fog started to lift and several hundred feet tall dunes appeared out of the mist nearby they were surprised.

We heard LeConte's Thrasher calling and found where they had been digging for insects but did not get on the first one. Deeper into the pocket we got our first looks at a pair with one of them racing across the dunes in the fog.

We went southeast from Glamis and Hwy 78 onto Wash Road for several miles and then turned south into the dunes. It had rained a steady winter rain for most of the night and day before so everything was soaked. You must have a flag at least eight feet above the ground and purchase a permit to drive into the dunes.

On our way back out of the pocket we were able to get a good count of three pairs of LeConte's Thrasher and I showed them a nest from previous years. I had not loaded my waypoints properly in my GPS so it would nnot display my thousand plus waypoints. It felt pretty good to be able to recognize individual trees and walk right straight to the nest!

Still researching this brightly colored little one but it looks to be in the Trombiculid family of mites. It was about the size of a pencil eraser and we saw two of them this day. It was always on the move and tough to photograph so when it stopped for a minute I got a few good shots. Looking at the pictures I realised it had stopped because it was EATING a smaller insect!

We moved out of the Garden of Eden and went to explore another pocket that I have been wondering about but had never been into. Turns out it is not an easy one to get to and so has very little traffic. We found evidence of a resident Bobcat in there and Dick caught sight of something crossing ahead of us that might have been it!

I wanted to show then a dune cricket so we hiked up a dune and I excavated what I thought was a dune cricket burrow. Turned out to be larvae possibly of darkling beetles. Still researching this one too!
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