Sunday, June 20, 2010

California sea lion
Zalophus californianus

Are you tired of seeing sea lions here? I know I am. The pictures above don't give an accurate sense of just how many sea lions are still in the area. I've mentioned previously that they're really stinky, which makes watching them for any amount of time almost unbearable for me. Please see my previous posts dated June 6, 2010 and May 5, 2010 for postscript notes of my observations of unusual birthing and new local gathering spots during the past couple months. True to their word, the Marine Mammal Center and NOAA taped off some beaches and placed additional signs up designating the "temporary rookery" and federally protected status of CA sea lions. Quite honestly, with all the yellow plastic tape around the rec trail, it looks like there's a police investigation or something.

Recently (06/18/10), I chatted a bit with a local, nationally recognized marine sanctuary volunteer. He calls the birthing of CA sea lions in our area a catastrophe. While he's seen mothers trying to nurse their newborns, he hasn't seen any milk produced. He thinks there's a lot of misinformation being given out to the public by local organizations. He said the females didn't have enough food down in the Channel Islands and that's why they headed this far north. I'm not sure how he would know this.

I am curious to know how the mass numbers of sea lions this year are affecting the populations of squid, sardines, mackerel, smelt, anchovies, and grunion.

ps 06/28/10 - For more information check out The Marine Mammal Center's post on this unusual local birthing.

Coulter's matilija poppy
Romneya coulteri

I'm adding the label of the fried egg poppy to garden plants, even though it is a native wildflower to some parts of California. This particular plant is easily 10 feet tall with 7 inch wide flowers and is going gangbusters right now.

strawberry tree ~ 06/20/10 ~ Rec Trail

strawberry tree
Arbutus unedo

Well, color my bark red, this is a different species than our native madrones (A. menziesii) that I've seen at Los Padres Dam and Mt. Madonna County Park. This strawberry tree is very popular here in Monterey and can be found in many city-maintained areas. The fruits, which are so bright they appear to be fake, stain the sidewalks when they drop. I'm interested in how the pink flowers and orange and red fruits can all be on the same tree at the same time. It's native to Europe.

ps 12/07/11 - To see these trees in their native habitat, check out Cittaslow Botanik Park in Turkey. There they call it