Thursday, April 8, 2010

about habitats label

Garland Ranch Regional Park
April 8, 2010

With these scenery shots, I hope to convey in pictures (more than I can state in words) what the local Central Coast of CA is like from location to location and seasonally from year to year - labeled as habitats. Maybe as I continue with this blog and learn specific IDs, I'll feel more comfortable writing about ecology, geology, hydrology, etc...

winter vetch
Vicia villosa ssp. varia

There are simply too many vetches for me to figure out. Can you ID? These pics were taken within 10 yards of each other. I'm fairly sure this is a non-native. Last year during our anniversary hike, this was the predominant blooming species on the mesa at Garland Ranch; this year that title goes to the blue-eyed grass.

ps 03/01/11 - I originally posted this as unknown vetch. While looking up other plants for a recent hike at Garland Ranch, I came across this vetch. I've made the corrections to the ID above. Erica in the comments below was correct in that this is what is commonly called a hairy vetch. Interestingly enough, the other subspecies (V. villosa ssp. villosa) is the only one actually hairy, and the one shown above is sometimes called a smooth vetch.

cardinal meadowhawk ~ 04/08/10 ~ Garland Ranch

cardinal meadowhawk
Sympetrum illotum

Other than the obvious bright red, I was unsure how to identify this dragonfly species. Thanks to my handy little Common Dragonflies of California, I distinguished this from the neon skimmer (Libellula croceipennis) based on the fact this cardinal meadowhawk perches with its wings held down and forward - a trait that definitely caught my eye!

ps 02/20/12 - Jim of Northwest Dragonflier has a recent post about cardinal meadowhawks.
dense-flowered owl's-clover
Castilleja densiflora ssp. densiflora
Orobanchaceae (formerly Scrophulariaceae)

Despite the common name of owl's-clover, this plant is in the Castilleja genus (family Scrophulariaceae) along with paintbrushes, not Trifolium (family Fabaceae) with other true clovers. For a fabulous picture of why this is called owl's clover, look at Doreen Smith's photo and imagine little owls sitting there.

I'm fairly positive about this ID. There are a couple of other similar looking species: C. brevistyla (short style owl's-clover) - it's difficult to find ID info on this and is not listed for Garland Ranch; and C. exserta ssp. exserta (purple owl's clover) - however, mine doesn't have hooked, hairy beaks.

Note: I did not link to Calflora & CNPLX's C. brevistyla entries because they are still showing a misidentified photo as corrected to C. densiflora by Jeffrey Greenhouse.

ps 04/13/10 - I rewrote this post because I mixed up my links. It's really easy to make mistakes. I can't imagine tackling something as impressive as CalPhotos.

I'll admit... I am totally making a guess as to species. I have many other hummingbird pics, but they're all just as fuzzy as this one.

ps 06/17/10 - For an interesting article on Anna's J-shaped dive and the resulting chirp, check out UC Berkeley News.

pss 09/21/10 - Given the red crown, I'm positive about this ID now.
bee fly
family Bombyliidae

This is the first time I'm linking to another nature blog in my ID. I really like Bug Eric's blog. Yes, I follow an extraordinary number of nature blogs, and I'm enjoying reading the new posts from around the world.

I strongly suspect this is Bombylius major, but Powell & Hogue state there are over 200 species in CA. I'm also surprised this is my first fly posting. I'll never catch up with my backdated ID pics!

ps 04/14/10 - It's been fun reading other people's nature blogs. Squirrel's View has an awesome post on bee flies.

blue-eyed grass & California buttercup
Sisyrinchium bellum & Ranunculus californicus
Iridaceae & Ranunculaceae

I've never before seen so much blue-eyed grass on any of my hikes. It's too bad we didn't capture a photo that shows the proliferation at Garland Ranch. It may have actually outnumbered the vetch on the mesa. On the trail up past the waterfall, we found a small stand of blue-eyed grass which had unusual spiky petals (see second picture above); I wonder why that happens.

pet peeves

Seriously, is oral hygene so important these days that one has to floss their teeth while out on a hike?

We see these plastic tooth flossers littered everywhere - in town, on the popular rec trail, and even deep in the woods away from any parking lot. My second trail pet peeve is finding used, green plastic bags for dog poo. Come on! If you took the care to clean up after your dog, wouldn't you pack the package out, too? My husband's biggest hiking pet peeve is finding orange peels on the trail; I'm still not sure if citrus peels are compostable. At least we didn't find abundant, used condoms during this hike, like we did behind La Sapienza's botanical garden in Rome!

Apologies to my blog followers! This post has undergone numerous revisions in the past day considering almost everything - from online arrogance to my frustration with not being able to find the information I want - has rubbed me the wrong way.

pineapple weed ~ 04/08/10 ~ Garland Ranch

pineapple weed
Matricaria discoidea (formerly Chamomilla suaveolens)

ps 08/04/10 - After seeing this post from Cabinet of Curiosities, I wondered why the genus name was different for what I considered a similar plant. Indeed, there's a new scientific name and I've made the correction above.

Limonium sinuatum

I'm a little disappointed to discover this statice is not native to CA. Every year, I notice a small patch blooming along the Carmel River, just past the seasonal footbridge at Garland.

I also see the "bushier" (for lack of a better word) L. perezii planted in several local gardens and public spaces.

wedding tree ~ 04/08/10 ~ Garland Ranch

wedding tree

This oak has certainly changed its shape from 4 years ago. I believe more branches have broken off; however, the foilage was seasonally advanced compared to years past. And for the first time, flowers were blooming profusely, like I had envisioned when we set our wedding date. Purples and blues were everywhere in the form of blue-eyed grasses, vetches, fiesta flowers, lupines, Chinese houses, and blue dicks. I plan to post additional ID'd pics later.

Doh!... I just realized I haven't actually ID'd this tree. I'm 90% sure it's a CA white oak, aka valley oak, (Quercus lobata). Like I've said before, I have this odd brain block around identifying tree species. As I was looking up appropriate links I found this blue oak (Quercus douglassi) site to be particularly interesting.

harbor seal ~ 04/08/10 ~ Rec Trail

harbor seal
Phoca vitulina

This is the first pup sighting of the year. Granted, we haven't been down to the trail every single day to check since returning from our trip.