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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

yellow star-thistle ~ 08/26/14 ~ Pinnacles

Asteraceae

This cheery yellow flower is easily in my top 5 most despised plants in the state of CA, which gained a foothold here sometime before 1869 and hails from southern Europe and western Eurasia.  It's super pokey and stops me in my tracks while out hiking.  I realized recently that I may have been mistaking another star-thistle tocalote for this yellow star-thistle, so I made a point to find it on the road outside the National Park to take a closer look and these pictures.  If only it weren't such a great reported butterfly nectar source...

Friday, August 22, 2014

habitat ~ 08/22/14 ~ Asilomar State Beach & Conference Grounds

August 23, 2014

When I was younger, I had no interest in history.  None, whatsoever.  Now that I'm getting older, I'm finding I'm becoming interested in the changes that happen through time.  From a local events website I discovered free summer tours were being offered at Asilomar.  It was just last November when I was lamenting how I didn't appreciate this gem that's on the other side of town from where I live.  So, a friend and I did the State Parks tour Friday afternoon.  It was very informative about the history of the YWCA here (1914-1935), the impressive female architect Julia Morgan and subsequent architects, and the formation of this State Park (you can read the whole story here).  We also heard about the pitch canker that's infesting the Monterey pine trees and how the "restoration" of the Asilomar Dunes Natural Preserve (shown above) became a solution to the moving sands.  How will these dunes look in another 100 years?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

variegated meadowhawk ~ 08/19/14 ~ Pinnacles


When I'm out looking for butterflies, I try my best to ignore the other cool little animals flying around.  It's difficult.  Especially, when this fellow repeatedly circled me on the path and perched, begging for a photo op.  His face reminds me of those old-fashioned political cartoons with big heads and drunk, rosy cheeks.  Given how dry it's been with only a single, shaded pocket of surface moisture (that I've found on the west side), I don't know how the dragonflies are managing.  The reservoir on the east side of the National Park must be swarming with odonates.  Maybe?