Thursday, May 27, 2010

grunion greeting, 2010 #2

grunion greeting
full moon cycle, 10:10-11:15pm, clear skies

Yep, it's that time again... for extra-fuzzy late-night pics from me. To cut to the chase, no grunion. High tide was at 10:22pm with a relatively big 6.03 feet.

When we arrived, we recognized Dr. G and his cohorts right away. You can make out the coolers for collecting on the right in the first picture. BUT, it's closed season here until the end of May! However, down on the beach we met a lovely young woman named Liz. She's the researcher from SUNY and made it clear, without any questions from me, that she had a permit to collect for research purposes. I asked why someone all the way from New York would be studying a fish found only along California's coast. Her lab also studies Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia) and there's apparently a similar behavioral relationship of spawning at high tide, like with grunion (Leuresthes tenuis).

We also greeted Diane (our favorite fellow grunion greeter from last year), Bonnie (also from last year), and Sheryl (a newbie). It was nice to catch up with them. Diane and Bonnie had just come from a local Cetacean Society meeting where they learned about the endangered status of vaquita, the world's smallest known cetacean. Diane was kind enough to let us know she saw our ol' night heron friend "Charlie" before Dr. G's crowd arrived.

We saw two young sea lions on the beach. We didn't observe any on the beach last year. As per our usual get-away-from-the-crowd desire, we walked down the beach to the cement structure. Even if we don't see grunion, it's nice to get out to enjoy the soothing waves on a full moon.

For videos that show much better than I've been able, since we keep getting skunked in Monterey, check out YouTube's posts: La Jolla Grunion Run 2008 (I like this mainly for the disco music accompaniment) and Grunion run at Doheny Beach (actually quite informative for a news clip).

habitat ~ 05/27/10 ~ SFB Morse Botanical Reserve

SFB Morse Botanical Reserve in Pebble Beach
May 27, 2010

We affectionately call this place "poetry rock" for the unexpected bronze inscription find, nestled among a couple tree roots. I was caught in the rain here. After attempting to not get too wet, I gave in to the inevitable... and had a fabulous time being wet, listening to the birds, and watching the frisky squirrels. Native roses were blooming everywhere. I resisted the temptation to pull apart old tree trunks to look for lively goodies, because I was thinking I wouldn't want someone ripping open my roof in the rain while I was hunkered down for some cozy. I'm sure I would have found several amazing beetles. Only saw 2 trail runners while trekking through the muddy paths, one being my better half in training for his upcoming trail marathon. It's too bad they want to build, yet another, highfalutin, sterile golf course nearby... to add to the dozens of private backyard courses already built in Pebble Beach as shown above in the last picture.

sneezeweed ~ 05/27/10 ~ SFB Morse Botanical Reserve

Helenium puberulum


I walked right by these and then stopped in my tracks to take another look. It reminded me of a miniature, stunted sunflower. The yellow ray flowers were so tiny I initially thought something had chewed them off. I looked around some more and found several others looking just like this.

ps 05/28/10 - I originally posted this as unknown flower with a guess as to our native species. After looking some more, I'm fairly confident of this ID now, especially since it was growing next to standing water in an area of little disturbance.