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Archive for March 11, 2008

Tuesday, 11 March 2008 – Cataviña to Bahia de Los Angeles

‘Just’ 10 stops today (S871 – S880), and what stops! The field flowers were out in full force and competed with the Chilean Atacama Desert in flower in 2004. The Internet connection at Raquel & Larry’s is playing up, or is it Cliff downloading the BBC News items about the storms in the UK that was causing the problem?

So, I’m well behind with Diary pages, although they have been written and will get send tomorrow, each as a separate mail. So, what were the highlights today?

Ian found a rattle snake, or rather, a  couple of ratters, right in the middle of their courting ritual. We showed this to Larry who has been living among the snakes for years but had never seen this before. Where is your camcorder when you need it? In the car, but Cliff used the movie function on his camera so we’ll see later how that went. The stills are great!

Then, we had received details by email of where to find the very rare cactus Echinocereus lindsayi. Last night, I wanted to down load these details, but the email at Cataviña was down, so back to MY memory. Yes, we were in trouble!  I resigned myself to checking the email before the return trip, but as we approached the area, I had a mental flash back to the email and suggested the km marker near where we should stop. We found a place to pull over and using our common cactus sense went into the rocky hillside to the left of the road. We spread out to cover as large an area as possible. The report said there were only 10 plants here! Needle in a hay stack? After a while I thought we had wasted enough time, and still had taken lots of useful pictures. Then Eunice Dudleya spotter, called me over. Yes, there it was! One plant, in bud. We took its GPS location and will come back on the return journey to take its picture again. We spread out from the single plant but found no more. We managed to download the email and it seems that in addition to the 10 plants reported, Eunice had found an 11th.

We made a series of short stops, found Ferocactus cylindraceus ssp. tortulispina flowering in yellow, turned east to Bahia de Los Angeles an stopped at the first pull over along the road and found the red flowered F. gracilis ssp gracilis. Echinocereus engelmanniiwas in advanced bud, 1 or two days would do it.

Alain, the tree with the white pealing bark is not a Bursera, it’s Pachycormus discolor(followed by me asking ‘This colour? What colour?, I’m colour blind!’).

And yes, Eunice did find her Dudleya, yet to be identified, 20 km west of Bahia de Los Angeles.

We have to  be up at 6 in the morning, when a fisherman is going to take us to some of the islands off the coast which are famous for their  endemic cacti (i.e. they occur there, but nowhere else).