Bighorn Sheep Count 2019

The 49th Annual Anza Borrego Desert Bighorn Sheep Count took place July 5-7, 2019. I counted sheep with a team of three others at Big Spring this year, my 3rd straight year at this site.

View to San Ysidro Mountains and The Thimble

There is permanent water flowing in the canyon below the count site, with steep terrain surrounding all approaches. *Cool* temperatures prevailed (we saw mid-90s on the hottest day, while the valley reportedly got up to 106) and the sheep didn't seem obligated to come to the spring to drink. This was true for several other sites that saw lower-than-normal counts. We didn't see any sheep at Big Spring during the 3-day survey period, but I managed to see a ram and a ewe the day before the survey, while guiding a new team to their Middle Spring site.

This is how bighorn make their presence known!

Same photo as above, cropped.

We brought 'Ramsey' along for the survey as a good-luck charm. He helped, but couldn't find sheep either.

The count site and shade structures.

Evidence that sheep had been next to the site in the recent past.

An 'Ovate Shieldback' that apparently hitched a ride in someone's gear and appeared at the final day upon check-out.

Final counts.

It's a great survey to participate in to advance the knowledge of the endangered bighorn population. The health benefits of sitting quietly and staring at a bunch of boulders for 2.5 days cannot be underestimated either.

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