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Mojave National Preserve


    We were introduced to the Mojave Desert National Preserve by friends who reside in San Francisco.  In the spring of 2001, they were kind enough to invite a group of friends and us along on their annual road trip to the desert.  We quickly fell in love with the open desert full of a great diversity of life.  We have returned on our own since our first introduction.  The great thing about returning to the same spot is noticing difference between years and seeing new things due to changes in climate or rainfall.
      We have only toured several features of the large Mojave Preserve a well as some nearby parks.  The Kelso Dunes are an awe-inspiring feature – large hills of sand that host much wildlife including sidewinders.  Cima Dome is an unusual geological-phenomenon – the large curve in the earth creates a dome like structure in the middle of the preserve.  Mitchell Caverns State Park is not technically owned by the National Preserve, but they offer an interesting tour through the cool caverns filled with old stalactites and stalagmites.  The location of the caverns is nestled along a mountainside, which makes a great environment for birding.  I saw a large variety of birds outside the caverns including Townsend’s Solitaire, Crissal's Thrashers, and Canyon Towhees.
      The preserve is comprised of many different environments.  At higher elevations, junipers and pinion pines dominate the mega-flora.  Dropping down slightly, Joshua trees take over the landscape.  Mostly yucca, cholla, mesquite and other shrubs are found at the lower foothills and along valleys.  The washes are a monotonous growth of creosote bushes and don’t seem to offer a lot of diversity.  The most diverse places life teeming and the places I enjoy the most in the desert are the springs.  Though we’ve tried looking for different camping spots our favorite is the one we were introduced to near Cottonwood Springs.  The camping spot is a short hike to several springs – and with water there is an abundance of wildlife nearby.



Wild burros, Mojave National Preserve
Black-tailed Jackrabbit
Lilac Sunbonnet,
Desert Larkspur
Wallace's Eriophyllum,
Rattlesnake, Mojave National Preserve
Horned Lizard
Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
Side-blotch Lizard
Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard,
Kelso Dunes,
Patch-nosed Snake
Big Horn Sheep,
near Coyote Canyon,
Townsend's long-eared bat,
Lava tube,
Loggerhead Shrike,
Long-eared Owl fledgling,
Crissal's Thrasher,

Bird List

Gambel's Quail
Great Egret
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Zone-tailed Hawk (4/09 - Cottonwood Springs)
American Kestrel
Golden Eagle
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Western Screech-Owl
Long-eared Owl
Great Horned Owl
Common Nighthawk

Common Poorwill
White-collared Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Costa's Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Dusky Flycatcher
Gray Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Western Wood-Pewee
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Cassin’s Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
European Starling
Warbling Vireo
Bell’s Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Horned Lark
Violet-green Swallow
Western Scrub Jay
Common Raven
Juniper Titmouse
Mountain Chickadee
Cactus Wren
Rock Wren
Canyon Wren
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Townsend's Solitaire
Northern Mockingbird
Crissal’s Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
Orange-crowned Warbler
Northern Parula (4/06 – 1 male at Cottonwood springs)
Hermit Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
MacGillivray's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Green-tailed Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow
Black-chinned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow
Western Tanager
Summer Tanager
Lazuli Bunting
Dark-eyed Junco
Brown-headed Cowbird
Western Meadowlark
Bullock's Oriole
Hooded Oriole
Scott's Oriole
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
Lawrence's Goldfinch
Black-headed Grosbeak
House Sparrow

Other Critter List

Big Horn Sheep
Black-tailed Deer
Black-tailed jackrabbit
Desert cottontail
White-tailed Antelope Squirrel
Merrium's Kangaroo Rat
Panamint Chipmunk
Desert Woodrat
Cactus Mouse
Western Deer Mouse
Little Pocket Mouse
Townsend's Long-eared Bat
bat sp.

Gopher Snake
Speckled Rattlesnake
Patch-nosed Snake
Long-nosed Snake
Leaf-nosed Snake
Glossy Snake
Desert Iguana
Common Collared Lizard
Mojave Fringe-toed Liazard
Zebra-tailed Lizard
California Whiptail
Side-blotched Lizard
Desert Night Lizard
Desert Spiny Lizard
Desert Horned Lizard
Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
Long-tailed Brush Lizard
Red-spotted Toad
Desert Tortoise
White Lined Sphinx
Swallowtail sp.
Blister Beetle
Darkling Beetle
Desert Spider Beetle



Mojave National Preserve 


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page updated: 5/1/09