Monday, December 13, 2010

Time Travelers at Ash Meadows NWR

The Let's Explore event at Ash Meadows was HUGE. Check out this video demo of the event.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ash Meadows events

Over on the right, within the 'Pages' links are flyers for upcoming Ash Meadows NWR events that you definitely need to check out!!! Make your plans now to be with us on these Saturdays. Don't miss the Let's Explore: Time travel event... it will be AWESOME!!! We'll see you at Ash Meadows NWR!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Autumn colors at Ash Meadows NWR

All photos curtesy of Cyndi Souza

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bird Song Loop trail

A BIG THANK YOU goes out to all the folks who helped us with the trail construction over the past few weeks. That's the groups of the Red Rock Audubon Society, the Friends of Nevada Wilderness, and the Southern Nevada Conservancy (arm of Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association). We were also joined on November 6 by members of Alpha Epsilon Delta and Chemical Interactions from UNLV. We wish to thank all these groups, their members and the independant individuals who joined us. Over the 3 days of trail construction we saw 82 volunteers who donated a total 434 hours to construct about 3200 feet of trail.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ash Meadows NWR celebrates the Point of Rocks boardwalk Grand Opening next Saturday, October 30. Folks are welcome from 10 to 2. The boardwalk has new interpretive panels, cool custom made bridges, is ADA compliant and is a great way to immerse yourself in nature.
Visit our table and say hi. And while you're there, sign up to be a member!!!
Need directions? Look in the 'Southern Nevada Wildlife Refuges' area below in the right side column, then click: Ash Meadows NWR.
The Friends and FWS say THANK YOU to 32 of the most AWESOME volunteers in Las Vegas!!! Special thanks goes to Kurt Kuznicki and his crew from the Friends of Nevada Wilderness and Bob Wilkin and members from the Red Rock Audubon Society. Also thanks goes to Blaine Benedict and the Southern Nevada Conservancy for the food. Your hard work and attention to detail completed about 1500 feet of trail and it looks STUNNING!!! GREAT JOB!!!
Phase II continues Saturday, October 30th. We'll see you there!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You're invited to Corn Creek this Saturday!!!
on Desert NWR
Trail building / Membership drive!!!
FREE Food / Kids activities!!!
Make a difference - Make new friends
Give back to your community - Lend a helping hand
Have an impact - Experience nature
Come help build the new Bird Song Loop Trail
Trail building from 8 am to noon
Co-sponsored by
Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the Red Rock Audubon Society
Lunch for participants courtesy of the Southern Nevada Conservancy and refuge staff
Kids activities for the little ones
It's a membership drive
Sign up for Friends of the Desert NWR Complex membership
Trail building continues after lunch for the more ardent.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Flame Skimmer The only place in the world where you could see the scene below is at Ash Meadows NWR: a bee inspects a Spring-Loving centuary.
Images by Cyndi Souza

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Results of the Friends of Desert NWR Complex
Visioning Meeting September 10 and 11

This one and half day session focused on establishing a collaborative partnership between the Friends organization and refuge staff. The workshop was facilitated by Joan Patterson of the DC based National Wildlife Refuge Association. Participants explored the roles and responsibilities of each organization. The joint planning sessions addressed the Friends vision and how it dovetails with the mission of the refuge complex. The Friends, refuge managers and refuge complex staff collaborated to discuss expectations, expressed concerns and applied strategic thinking principles to develop joint project plans.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mark Petterson Writes an Article on Desert NWR

IF you haven't read it yet, author extraordinaire Mark Petterson has written a wonderfully descriptive article about the Desert NWR. It can be found in the July/August edition of Nevada magazine on pages 22 - 23. Mark has made many trips to the refuge back country and he's always happy to take his friends along. He always takes many photos and unusually shaped Joshua trees hold a special place in his heart. If you know Mark Petterson, then you know he often relays his impression that traveling on the Mormon Well Road through the pass between the Sheep Range and Fossil Ridge is like entering a whole different world. There is also a little blurb about Mark on page 5 of the magazine. Read his article and comment on it here. We'd love to know what you think.

You can read Mark Petterson's article if you click here

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tarantula Hawk wasp at Ash Meadows

Ecological technician, April Bradshaw, photographed this Tarantula Hawk in a wash along the North Road (towards Longstreet) on June 30. The 2.5 inch wasp was crawling all over a Desert Milkweed plant, eating its nectar and pollen. If you don't know anything about Tarantula Hawks, they are a huge wasp nearly 3 inches in... length that are spider hunters. They feed primarily on tarantulas and trap-door spiders, luring them out of their burrows by probing the spider's silk entrances. The wasp then stings the spider, injecting paralizing venom. Next the wasp drags the victim into a burrow, lays a single egg on it, then seals the entrance. The larva will hatch and feed on the still-live prey and emerge next spring.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ash Meadows NWR

Some animals just don't mind the heat... Spiny Lizard parading his mating colors
Photo by Cyndi Souza

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pahranagat NWR

A new species for the state? Observed by Mike Swink on June 6 was a fork-tailed flycatcher at the middle marsh dike on Pahranagat NWR.

Region 8 Friends Conference

The Spring Wings, Friends of Stillwater NWR, hosted the Region 8 Friends conference in Fallon this year. Attendees Donna Crail-Rugotzke and Jennifer Vincent were joined by Complex staff Angelina Yost and Harry Konwin. The four enjoyed each other’s company as they drove the entire way! While at the conference, the group networked with folks from the DC based National Wildlife Refuge Association, other Friends groups members and some of the regional NWR personnel. One of the highlights of the conference was a presentation by Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Manager, Jimmy Fox. The group also toured the Stillwater Refuge where they spent some time amidst the cliff swallows pictured above. Donna will have a short presentation about information and ideas gleaned at the conference during our next Friends meeting on June 17th.

Ash Meadows NWR

Here's a gopher snake taking a swim...

... under the watchful gazes of a Pahrump 4H club and Refuge employee, Alyson Mack.

Recently sited at Devil's Hole was this Chuckwalla lizard.

Desert NWR

May 20-22, John Hiatt (L), Andy Sanchez and Kurt Kuznicki (taking photo) install post and cable along Alamo Rd. on Desert NWR. Work was performed in partnership with Friends of Nevada Wilderness.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Little Blue Butterfly

Photo by Alyson Mack

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Recent Sitings by Carl Lundblad

Carl's notes from May 23, 2010 ----->
I birded Ash Meadows NWR this morning where the highlights were a RUDDY TURNSTONE and a female PURPLE MARTIN, both at Crystal Reservoir. Other shorebirds at Crystal Reservoir included 2 SANDERLINGS, one of which was in alternate plumage, and about 46 Spotted Sandpipers. There were several hundred other swallows present comprised of about 50% Cliff, 40% Violet-green, 7% Barn, and 3% Bank.

The Ash Grove below the reservoir had a few migrants including an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. This seems to be the best place on the refuge to find BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS this year. Driving around the Crystal Reservoir Loop road produced 2 additional OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATHERS, many Wood-pewees, and some common warrblers.

Point of Rocks and Bradford Spring were both good for common migrants and breeders including:

*POINT OF ROCKS 7:00-8:30*
W. Wood-pewee 6
"Western" Flycatcher 5
Dusky Flycatcher 3
Hammond's Flycatcher 1
Cassin's Vireo 1
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher 2
Warbling Vireo 3
Lucy's Warbler 6
Yellow Warbler 10
Wilson's Warbler 22
MacGillivray's Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 4
Yellow-breasted Chat 5
Blue Grosbeak 5
Lazuli Bunting 1
Bullock's Oriole 2
Western Tanager 2

Virginia Rail-seen flying through the mesquite, about 8 feet off the
ground, towards the spring pool!
White-throated Swift 1
W. Wood-pewee 3
"Western" Flycatcher 2
"Solitary" Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3
Lucy's Warbler 2
Yellow Warbler 6
Wilson's Warbler 12
MacGillivray's Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Western Tanager 1
Blue Grosbeak 5
Black-headed Grosbeak 1

Carl Lundblad
Ash Meadows, NV

Carp Rodeo

A few May friends at Ash Meadows NWR

Mariposa Lily
Photo courtesy of Erin Bradshaw.

Green Dragonfly

Red Dragonfly

Red Racer Snake

Side Blotched Lizard

Spiny Lizard

Western Pygmy Blue Butterfly

Photos courtesy of Cyndi Souza.

Pahranagat NWR IMBD

International Migratory Bird Day came on May 22nd at Pahranagat this year. Karyn Barnett, FWS Park Ranger, conducted a nature walk, introducing folks to the birds up there. Robin Powell, the Audubon Nevada Director of Bird Conservation, and her friend, Esther, put together some nesting boxes. Volunteer Owen Clark and FWS VC Harry Konwin helped install them. Later, there was a BBQ. Then kids crafted birds and pine cone/honey feeders. You should have been there.

Desert NWR

A little blurry, but Jennifer & Francis Vincent, Lionel Castillo and Harry Konwin made the trip through the 3 different ecotones of Deadman's Canyon to find the Hidden Forest Cabin.
There was still snow up there.There's pretty nifty geology up there too!
We'll add this to the ToDo list!

Ash Meadows

April Flowers

Photos by Cyndi Souza

Ash Meadows Carson Slogh Restoration Project

During December 2009, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) began Phase 1 of the Upper Carson Slough (UCS) restoration project. Prior to Refuge establishment in 1984, Ash Meadows underwent dramatic landscape alteration as spring outflows were diverted for agriculture and ranching. Approximately two miles of the upper Fairbanks outflow was reconstructed along its historic drainage during Phase 1 of the UCS project. Historically, Fairbanks Spring and outflow were occupied by three native fishes: the endangered Ash Meadows Amargosa pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis mionectes; pupfish), endangered Ash Meadows speckled dace (Rhinicthys osculus nevadensis; dace), and Ash Meadows killifish (Empetrichthys merriami). Currently, pupfish are the only native fish present in the system. Ash Meadows killifish have been extinct on the Refuge since the 1950’s and dace have not occurred in the Fairbanks system since the 1970’s.

Additionally, two native snails occur in Fairbanks Spring and its outflow. The Fairbanks springsnail (Pyrgulopsis fairbankensis; snail) only occurs in the Fairbanks system. The Sportinggoods tryonia snail (Tryonia angulata; snail) only occurs in two other spring systems within the Refuge.

In March 2010 three volunteer events (24th, 27th, and 28th) took place along Fairbanks outflow. The purpose of these volunteer events was to salvage pupfish and snails from the old Fairbanks channel (and move them into the new outflow), which was to be abandoned, and to offer the public an opportunity to interact with the fish and snails while assisting with an important restoration project in the Refuge. Volunteers contributed 297 volunteer hours over the three days. In total, 3,150 pupfish and 12,000 endemic snails were salvaged. Additionally, 2,710 non-native red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii; crayfish) were removed.

Text excerpted from a memo by Darrick Weissenfluh. Photos by Harry Konwin