Sunday, May 23, 2010

habitat ~ 05/23/10 ~ Frog Pond Wetland Preserve

May 23, 2010

We were hiking maniacs this weekend, hitting Fort Ord, Jacks Peak, and the Frog Pond in 2 days. Of course, it helps that all are within a few minutes from home (not to mention we don't have a garden or kids to toil over). The Frog Pond is not a place I normally go, because the parking on the side of a very fast road makes me nervous. My hubby used to run this pond regularly at lunch, and he was surprised by the carpet of what we think is duckweed over the water.

honey bee swarm
Apis mellifera

07/09/10 - This was a fun find during our casual walk around the pond. I'm actually surprised at the number of swarms I've seen over the years on tree branches around town. My husband has run through an actively flying swarm out at Fort Ord, which he said was a bizarre experience because they seemed to follow him for a ways. Fortunately, from what I've heard, honey bees are fairly tame when they're swarming. However, I have yet to find a feral hive in CA. While I was in OH, I used to take a group of summer science camp kids every year to see an old feral hive on one of the museum's properties. We could always hear them before finding the tree cavity - I've been thinking of that experience lately as I've been watching the World Cup and hearing the background vuvuzelas. Another fairly local blog, Town Mouse and Country Mouse, had their own experience of a honey bee swarm this spring. Interesting.


common horsetail
Equisetum arvense
Equisetaceae

I'm not going to make a guess as to species since I know so little about horsetails. They are elegant in a horsetail kinda way.

ps 02/12/11 - After considering the giant horsetails I recently saw, I'm now making a guess as to species after looking at the two species found in this area. I've made corrections to the ID above.
vivid dancer on unidentified fern
Argia vivida on unidentified fern

This is my best guess for ID. When zoomed in, I think I can see the triangular black streaks in the middle abdominal segments.

ps 02/10/11 - Again, thanks to Jim Johnson at Northwest Dragonflier and Odonata.Bogfoot.net I have confirmation of this ID, "You're right about the second one." See my previous vivid dancer post for more information.

habitat ~ 05/23/10 ~ Jacks Peak County Park

May 23, 2010

I haven't given Jacks Peak enough coverage on Nature ID. It's a quiet, local gem with incredible views from all sides. The third picture above is looking toward the southern curvy part of the Monterey Bay, Seaside, the airport, and the scary, honkin' huge, new development (on the right, that sandy area is merely the road that's going in!). One hill over, you can see downtown Monterey and the 3 local piers. Around that trail loop you can see Carmel and Point Lobos on the other side. Click on the link above for Jacks Peak to see additional pictures. This park is only a couple minutes from home and there are several not well-known trails that lead up to the Peak. I admit we rarely pay and park in the official parking lot at the top (shown in the distance in the last photo), since getting up the hill is half the fun.

Indian paintbrush ~ 05/23/10 ~ Jacks Peak

(pale form, most likely)

(pale form, most likely)

(normal color)

(note the very red stem is somewhat unusual)

Indian paintbrush
Castilleja affinis

Orobanchaceae (formerly Scrophulariaceae)

Given my current confusion over the Castilleja genus, I'm going to leave these mostly unidentified. I suspect I have 3-4 species shown above. The first two pics were the first time I noticed the hemiparasitic nature of paintbrushes as they were well off the ground and growing on top of the unknown shrub. If you look closely at the second picture, there's an immature katydid (and, no, I didn't do it!). Maybe if I'm really nice, I can get Mark Egger to look at my collection of paintbrush pictures.

ps 07/09/10 - After opening a Flickr account, Mark Egger took a look at my request and helped me with the IDs several weeks ago. He believes they're all the same species. I'm still finding it hard to accept, but I trust his expert opinion. Really, what do I know about paintbrushes, other than they're pretty? I've separated out paintbrushes and what I'd consider owl's clovers, in my labels below and in the side bar, despite the common names. Oh, Calflora's lists Castilleja under Scrophulariaceae, but I'm moving them to the Orobanchaceae family. Also, it seems Jepson's online objects to the term "Indian paintbrush," but I don't see anyone knowing what I'm talking about if I say "Lay and Collie's paintbrush." As always, thank you, Mark Egger!

unknown thingamajigger ~ 05/23/10 ~ Jacks Peak


unknown thingamajigger

Doesn't it look like a wad of cinnamon chewing gum? But, no, it's a hole in a tree root in the middle of the path! I'm guessing it's the opening to a hymenopteran (bees & wasps) nest, but I really have no idea. Do you know?

fairy lantern / white globe lily
Calochortus albus
Liliaceae

These were fairly small, similar to those I saw last year at Fort Ord. I normally think of fairy lanterns as being larger and in fewer numbers like at Point Lobos and Garland Ranch. I wouldn't be surprised if someone came along and started splitting these into subspecies. I was impressed to see so many at Jack's Peak.