In September, I returned to Portal bringing with me the newest Ernest lab member, Erica Christensen. It was a bit cooler than usual for mid-September, but overall, a great time of year to be in the desert. We captured 263 rodents, most of which are still represented by the desert pocket mouse (Chaetodipus penicillatus) and Merriam’s kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami). It’s much less buggy than other years, and it was a really pleasant weekend. No complaints about desert fieldwork in the fall!
Merriam’s kangaroo rat.
A small kangaroo rat warms up in my pocket before being released. Sometimes after a cool night, rodents need a little help in the morning.
Erica helps process a cactus mouse (Peromyscus eremicus).
We found this guy, jumping spider Phidippus octopunctatus, on a shrub while exploring the area surrounding the site.
We didn’t conduct a formal plant survey this fall due to logistical constraints, but many flowers were blooming in September. Here is a small perennial, Zinnia grandiflora.