Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Modoc NWR and Lava Beds National Monument

Wednesday, Jul 12th, we drove through part of Modoc before going to Lava Beds National Monument. At Modoc, we saw a juvie red-tailed hawk, killdeer, Canada geese, black-necked stilts, and a couple more American avocets. The shorebirds were still difficult to identify. We think we saw common snipes or short-billed dowitchers. Then before we left Modoc we saw this great egret.
As we were approaching Lava Beds we saw some quail, a stellar's jay, and a couple of mourning doves.

This is the sign in front of the visitor center. If you click on the picture you will see how hazy it was. When we drove up to Alturas on Tuesday we were aware of a fire that was burning south and west of Susanville. There were quite a few firefighters that stayed overnight at various motels in the town of Alturas, including the one we stayed at. The fire was never a threat to the NWRs of the area, thank goodness, but visibility wasn't as good as we had hoped.

This is a moth I found while taking the Lava Beds sign pix. The moth was sitting on a lamp post. Unfortunately the picture doesn't show its beautiful colors. When it spread its wings, it had an irridescent blue-green coloring. The moth was about 1-1/2 to 2 inches long. Any "bug experts" out there - can you ID this moth?

Here's another view of the area from the Visitor Center.

While driving around the Lava Beds we came across some distinctive plants. I haven't been able to find the names of these wildflowers yet, but I did find them to be quite striking, especially within its surroundings. Just click on the pix to get a larger view.

These shots are of Indian paintbrusth - the first one gives you an idea of how the paintbrush is dispersed among the sage. And then the other two shots are close-ups. I found the third pic neat since the paintbrush was up against a rock with lichen.

And here is another shot of the lava beds in the foreground and mountains in the background about 20 miles away. Not too far from here we found the following wildflowers. They look like orchids, don't they?

And this is the view of Tule Lake in the background, from the north end of Lava Beds National Monument.


kate said...

Maryc - what a beautiful place. I loved the Indian paintbrush ... can't identify the yellow or the orchid-looking flowers, though they remind me of pulsatilla. I will look through my wildflower books and see if I can come up with anything.

The yellow ones are really interesting to me.

Patrice said...

Hi Mary,

Belated anniversary congratulations! Thank you for taking us along on this wonderful field trip. The orchid looking flowers remind me of the trillium we see up here. I had to laugh at the quail photo. We used to see them running around campus in Palo Alto. So cute!

Anonymous said...


The yellow flower you couldn't identify is called "Blazing star" (Mentzelia laevicaulis). The "orchid-looking" flower is "Tolmiei's Pussy Ears" (Calochortus tomiei), definitely one of the more unusual flowers I've found on the Modoc Plateau. (I am a rangeland scientist with the US Dept. of Agriculture, Klamath Basin Watershed Team based out of Yreka. I have a project out in the Lava Beds area.)

Beautiful out there, isn't it? MRH


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