ינואר 16, 2021

Hot Winter

Hi Wild Ones!

I dropped out of communication for a bit (overload). Am back on the Central Coast (Suze, love your observations from here). It's funny that I was a nature freak growing up and here I am learning so much about nature still. Thank goodness our brains continue to welcome new information as curiosity waves the butterfly net around.

Peregrines were rare in the 60s and 70s, having been decimated by human actions. Now I'm reliably welcomed by a peregrine in Pismo as I drive north on the 101. It nests on an enormous boulder between the north and southbound lanes.

Otters suffered similar --perhaps greater-- injustices and when they returned to Morro Bay, it was newsworthy. This week I spotted one southeast of Diablo in the SL Port area. Astonishing to me. Yet (and this gives me such hope) a quick iNat search shows they're plentiful to Nipomo now. Here's an informative article about these bobbing bears https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-morro-bay-otters-20170324-story.html

I'm in awe of what I've been surrounded by and either didn't notice or took for granted. Until recently, I lumped many species together. A sparrow is a sparrow. Oh dang, there are so many sparrow species! Gulls, mule deer, alligator lizards, manzanita, limpets, chitons, lichen, moss. Wait, what, we have corals and sponges? What are they anyway? I'm truly amazed. And now I know that there are not just mule deer on our ranch but Columbian black-tailed mule deer, the youngest subspecies.

While the lid of this wonder box is cracked and brightly beckoning, it has been hotter than ever -- hit 91 in SLO yesterday. You had to travel over the coastal range to Paso in August to experience that when I was growing up. It's crispy dry; frightening in [now] year-round fire country. Los Osos/Baywood/Morro Bay are not the fog zones we used to know. Fog is still here but it's greatly reduced and no longer provides a seasonal cooling effect for SLO. Doesn't stay long enough for the dew to truly dampen.

Okay, I'm blabbing. Nerves are inflamed as the 20th approaches. We've divided my house with hubby standing guard in LA and me up here with my mom (who is getting her first vaccination on Monday, hallelujah). I'm thinking of you WW as I take this ALL in. Stay safe and vigilant. Aaaand, although my pics are from a compact, I have several pier piling pics that are loaded with creatures -- if anyone wants to play a game of "seek and ID", I'd be happy to send them along. Otherwise, I'll eventually get to them.

xoxo
Tracy

פורסם ב ינואר 16, 2021 02:50 אחה"צ על־ידי redrovertracy redrovertracy | 3 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 08, 2021

Leaf miners and Gall Wasps

As we continue to go through a rather dry winter, with only very few flying insects, blooming flowers, refreshed lichens, mushrooms and mosses to observe, two groups have left their marks of which some are to see year round: leaf miners and gall wasps.

There's a great project on leaf miners:
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/leaf-mining-insects-of-california

Some are easy to ID as their host plant is part of their English name. Examples we should be able to find:
Toyon Leafminer, https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/469764-Stigmella-heteromelis,
Poison Ivy Leaf-miner, https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/215950-Cameraria-guttifinitella,
Morning-glory Leaf-miner moth: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/214958-Bedellia-somnulentella.

We have 43 Oak Gall Wasp species in Los Angeles County:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?locale=en-US&place_id=962&preferred_place_id=1&subview=grid&taxon_id=205775&view=species
Some have dropped off their hosts by now or are so shriveled and dry that they are really hard to find, but a few are observable even now.

In my (limited) experience, if I can see an oak apple in an oak, chances are other gall wasps have used that tree too.

As to IDs, noting the host plant (and/or including pictures of the host plant) seems to be essential for the ID.

Any other tips?

פורסם ב ינואר 08, 2021 11:05 אחה"צ על־ידי andreacala andreacala | 8 comments | הוספת תגובה

ינואר 01, 2021

Happy New Year 2021

If you're like me, the start of a year is a good time for all sorts of house keeping things, like new folders on the computer, possibly a new desk calendar, or a new box for paper docs...

It's also a good time to look if any of your iNat IDs have Maverick status and to resolve mis-identifications.

There's a handy link to check on this:

https://www.inaturalist.org/identifications?user_id=andreacala&category=maverick

All you need to do is replace andreacala with your own user ID.

I had three, two concerning Susan's observations plus one other.

===

As to a theme for the month of January, I'd love it if "marine life" would continue. There will be low tides in about ten days that are during daytime hours, Susan is on a roll as to nudibranches, we may find a dock...

There's no rain on the horizon for the first half of January, so fungi, lichens, mosses etc. will have to wait a bit, unfortunately.

But maybe one of you has a brilliant idea?

Hugs all around!

פורסם ב ינואר 01, 2021 09:57 אחה"צ על־ידי andreacala andreacala | 0 comments | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 23, 2020

Pelican attacks in our region

Merry, happy eve eve.

In case you haven't heard, here's some intel on brown pelican attacks in the southland (MDR & Ventura). Smells like malicious fishermen. https://www.birdrescue.org/who-is-slashing-brown-pelican-pouches-5000-reward-offered/

My camera went on strike the day before I returned to LA. Good to be back and it'll be even better when I have a lens to lead me around sparsely populated nature zones!

Be safe in the hot zone, amigas.

פורסם ב דצמבר 23, 2020 05:31 אחה"צ על־ידי redrovertracy redrovertracy | 2 comments | הוספת תגובה

דצמבר 01, 2020

December themes, if any...

I just came back from Paramount Ranch north, which just a month ago, when Laura and I explored it to celebrate her birthday, was quite lush by comparison to now. And it was already dry then. Now even the Valley Oaks have dropped their leaves, the beautiful sunflowers at the lowest, moistest elevation are dead, and even the Crows have left. A mountain biker in the far distance must have stirred up some dust that rose into the air like a smoke plume. We need rain so badly, but will get another Santa Ana event Wednesday evening through at least Saturday, red-flagged because of the extreme fire danger. My go-bag is still packed from the last one that wasn't all that bad, so here's hoping for the best.

Hiking up and down the mountain trails, with little to document that would give me joy (much needed joy, considering all that's going on around us), I felt I should (a) bite the bullet and drive longer distances, and (b) focus on the shore. So, anyplace king tide would be a major highlight of the month for me and something I really look forward to. Also something I really REALLY want to do is exploring docks, poop covered and all, as suggested by Susan. So possibly, marine life?

I had a blast exploring various San Fernando Valley lakes and ponds in the last few days. Laura got me to Los Encinos Historical Park, and I also walked around Lake Balboa, Lake Reseda (highlight fighting Coots, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/65949861), and of course the lake in the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve which I make a point of visiting once a month or so. I also really love the Los Angeles River @ Burbank Blvd. Bette Davis Picnic Area is on my list for the next few days, another great spot in the Los Angeles River. Any other suggestions? City Wildlife might be a theme too.

By the way, Laura and I are both "streaking," that means posting at least one observation every day, rain or shine. https://mapsandapps.github.io/inat-streak/ shows the stats. Laura is at 425 (!!) consecutive days, I'm at 348, with a streak that started December 19 last year and has kept me sane through all of 2020. And gave me an opportunity to really see seasons change, organisms come and go, especially since my radius has been so very limited. No trip to Germany and France to see my folks, no overnighter at all this year... (I so miss it.) But what I miss most in this limited radius of the mountains here right now... insects. Just hanging out at whatever flowers and observe... The highlight today was a lone Western Honey Bee on a near dry California Aster...

I hope you and your loved ones are all doing ok, and staying safe.

Big hugs, much love!!

פורסם ב דצמבר 01, 2020 11:46 אחה"צ על־ידי andreacala andreacala | 1 comment | הוספת תגובה

נובמבר 27, 2020

Charmlee

Heads up for those (like me) who don't know that some parks close on fire-alert days. Charmlee is one of them. I now know to check fire conditions for possible park closures (I'll bet most of you knew this already!).

I haven't been up Encinal since the fires and, my, there's a lot of real estate for sale and in escrow. Nonetheless, it was a lovely day up there with barely a breeze.

פורסם ב נובמבר 27, 2020 11:23 אחה"צ על־ידי redrovertracy redrovertracy | 10 comments | הוספת תגובה

נובמבר 25, 2020

Dock fouling?

Hi all,
I ran into this blog from an inaturalist user in the Bay Area. I thought it was pretty interesting and something we might want to try if we’re feeling adventurous!

https://chloevanloon.com/2020/10/29/dock-fouling-fun/

Maybe some of you have done this before? They found some great stuff.

פורסם ב נובמבר 25, 2020 05:16 לפנה"צ על־ידי naturephotosuze naturephotosuze | 14 comments | הוספת תגובה

נובמבר 17, 2020

King Tidepooling

Good day!

I took advantage of the low tide yesterday and scouted Point Fermin. Happy to report that it wasn't overly peopled once you round the bend, putting the Cabrillo Beach path out of sight.

There was a secondary grouping of people around Sunken City (selfies galore). I saw a young man atop the cliff running to stop a child of about 4 from going over. One grown man was creating his own way back down the cliff, sending sand and small rock to his buddies egging him on below. Good observation location for anthropology students (!).

I had most of the tide pools to myself. Sweet. Even sweeter was finally seeing a giant keyhole limpet. Three no less! Tons of purple sea urchins...took me a while to see them. Many were hidden in crevices or seemed to have pulled debris over them (which worked to fool me at first). And thanks for the sea hare fairy dust -- saw a bunch!

Parking is easy there and costs $1/hour (credit card; no need to key in your license). There were some shady characters under the trees along the paved path to the beach (path starts next to the parking entrance off Oliver Vickery Circle Way). They were simple to avoid by going straight to the beach via the Cabrillo Beach Bath House building. Also, good to know that there's a large lifeguard building on the other side of the Bath House.

Hopefully this is helpful. I would love to explore with you but that's TBD as my schedule for this next month is currently in flux. Fingers crossed ;-)

PS: I wonder if there's less scavenging going on here because of the algae. There is a prevalence of lithothamnion on rock and creatures. Less appetizing for sure.

פורסם ב נובמבר 17, 2020 06:58 אחה"צ על־ידי redrovertracy redrovertracy | 1 comment | הוספת תגובה

נובמבר 12, 2020

Central Coast

Hello Wild Women!

While I was preoccupied with business during most of my visit to the SLO area, I managed to get some observations in ALONG with some great new insights for observing manzanita (I believe Andrea has made that available).

Most of my photos were taken while I was engaged in other activities so they're through a dirty truck window or fast snaps. I also realize that I behave like I have a long lens (thanks for bearing with me, LOL). And some of the macros are poorly focused because I was either precariously balanced or freezing (went from 90 on arrival to 60s/30s high/low).

Let me say: ruby-crowned kinglets! I'm no longer a virgin. My first spot was driving up a dirt road lined with scrub and poison oak. It was hot and termites were swarming. Little birds were at the edges of the road having a field day. When I stopped the car, they got bolder. I saw several ruby-crowned kinglets, not knowing their ID. Then one popped its color and I thought another species had flown in. Then it disappeared (not). Going through the photos later was funny as I slowly realized it was the same bird.

The one that got away: I didn't have my camera on me when I ended up on a ridge at eye level with two soaring golden eagles. What an amazing experience (NOT DOCUMENTED...head banging on wall).

Homo sapiens observations: It's virally hot out there...and having been in several rural zones, I can tell you that people are either duped, over it, or think Covid-19 is an urban affliction. The behavior I saw was downright dangerous... from sidewalks and outdoor cafes (which I avoid) to trails.

Hope you all are well-stocked and safe. I am so enjoying your observations.
xo Tracy

פורסם ב נובמבר 12, 2020 03:50 אחה"צ על־ידי redrovertracy redrovertracy | 18 comments | הוספת תגובה

נובמבר 04, 2020

November ideas (aka Election Day distractions)

Hello all,
I think you know Andrea and I ventured out this morning to Paramount Ranch since I haven't been there in years/decades. She was kind enough to show me around and help me make observations that represent new life list species on iNat for me -- thank you, Andrea. No bobcats today, though we did find scat. The highlight for us were the two Northern Harriers, who despite being mobbed by crows, showed that this was their territory and were not to be driven off. Check out our observations on iNat for Andrea's wonderful photos.

Meanwhile, we don't have a theme for the month, and I know some of you aren't into it so much. Hence, this might be more for Andrea and I especially since we started a little of it this morning. Specifically, Andrea wanted to show me a certain lichen I hadn't yet observed and she had found there in the past. Yup, you guessed it, I'm proposing lichen observations. And, we're in luck because Andrea would like to show off a great spot named, Sage ____, somewhere in the north San Fernando Valley where we can find a nice variety of lichens to photograph.

This might be too far for you to join in, but please chime in if you are interested and we can find a good date for a field trip. Otherwise, the fun thing is that lichen can be found in so many places and I bet you will find some during your outings sometime this month. If so, please add them to our project.

Anyone with December ideas, please share :)
Stay safe and big hugs,
Laura

פורסם ב נובמבר 04, 2020 02:24 לפנה"צ על־ידי scubabruin scubabruin | 3 comments | הוספת תגובה