One of the unexpected delights of riding in Tabby Mountain Wildlife Management Area are the small spring-fed rills and pools. Birch Spring (above) creates a meadow at about 8000 feet.
The water supply nourishes currant bushes for wildlife food, thick brush for habitat,
and usually a supply of lush grass.
We found this unnamed spring-fed pond, located at about 8500 feet, by following a deer/elk trail. It has water year-round and a little taste of green grass even late in the year.
With the earth still moist from snow melt and a rainy spring, wildflowers sprinkle the range, flourishing amongst the sage. Besides the ubiquitous paintbrush, we saw:
| Barrel Cactus are blooming on the mountain at about 8000 feet.|
Steve accidentally turned over a small barrel cactus and found that the underside was home sweet home to an ant colony. The ants scurried to move their eggs. Steve replaced the plant where he found it, and all was back to status quo with cactus and insects.
After reading about ants and cactus, we found that there is a process called "mutualism" between the two species. The ants feed on a barrel cactus' nectar-secreting glands, and in return, the ants discourage herbivore bugs from feeding upon the cactus.