Jan 12, 2014
On the west side of the Dragoon Mountains a pile of rocks leaning together have formed shelters, some three or four rooms. Evidence of human habitation with several grinding holes and pictographs with red and orange colors. Mention of some being around 1,000 years old and some being more recent Apache but I haven’t found the source literature. One figure looks to have a deer head.
The area is in oak woodland and I found some nice galls. Most oak galls come from cynipid wasps (Russo, 2006) and these insects are very specious with a whole set of species in the Southwest that differ from the set of species in California (Weld, 1960). Much like oaks themselves. The location, shape and oak species are important in identifying these galls. This gall looks like a woody fruit as it forms at the end of a stem. Several emergence holes on the surface which could of been for either the host, equilines or other parasites. I spotted several of these woody fruit galls along with one other gall I’ve seen on oaks, a gall that forms in the middle of a twig and looks like a ball.
On the Council Rocks I found three Arctostaphylos pungens in bloom including some flowers that were open. I found no caterpillar holes in the flowers and no bees or flies as it was quite chilly out, about 60 degrees. I did see a cloud of tiny insects flying around the plant which I caught with the camera as tiny motes in the sun. I would wager that these are thrips. A few miles south we took the Slavin Gulch trail and the was manzanita everywhere but none were in bloom. I looked carefully but didn’t notice anything flying over the plant.
Slavin Gulch has intermittent water and there were Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica) and even one small Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa.) Bit of an oasis. Saw deer and one spot had a distinct mountain lion vibe.