After a long but good drive across the country, we’ve made it to Granites/MNP (with a little stop for a hike in Zion)!
We toured around my permit area today and plan to do some more in the next few days to try and determine some good sites to set up my survey/manipulation which will test the double magnet hypothesis for pollinators.
So far, The area to the south and east of Kelso dunes has germination, but plants are still relatively small and not close to flowering in most parts. Same for Larrea. Even at high elevation, Granites strangely seems to be the most accelerated, with more mature annuals, but still no signs of Larrea flowering any time soon.
SO, immediate goals:
1. Keep surveying area for annual plant hot spots (particularly those with bigger flowers to make videoing pollinators easier)
2. Build contraptions to set up cameras (particularly on shrubs). We have started this, and have been prototyping a clamping device with flexible wire attaches to it to hold the iPods. This seems to help a little bit with branch blowing too, as the camera blows with it making it easier to see the flowers.
3. Do preliminary survey of top three spots in the next week or so using t-square method to determine dispersion and density of shrubs and annuals underneath (and in adjacent open).
4. Keep crossing my fingers that mother nature decides to let everything in the desert flower at once! And soon!