CORRECTION: The little 8-legged red beasts are mites, not ticks. Brooke Fabricant: perhaps clover mites. Diane Renshaw: might be spider mites. Many others call them "red mites". Vegetarians! Thanks, everyone!
Bending down to get a closeup of a dudleya plant, I noticed bright red mites. When two met, they wrestled.
Turning to a poppy flower nearby: a mass of mites! Eew, gross! I guess that the pollen provides a good nutrient for the growing babies.
A little way down the hill, I looked closely into the flower of another rare succulent, bitter root. More mites.
I have called these "ticks" in the captions. They are actually mites.