Saturday, October 1, 2011

habitat ~ 10/01/11 ~ Garland Ranch Regional Park

Garland Ranch Regional Park
October 1, 2011

posted 10/08/11 - Like I said before, I was not out this day. Andy took all these pictures. He likes setting the timer on the camera and shooting himself running down a trail. It seems quirky to me, but I've seen many trail runners do this kind of thing. Park staff and/or volunteers set up several seasonal footbridges across Carmel River and Las Garzas Creek. The one shown is over the Carmel River by Carmel Valley Village, 12 miles inland from Hwy 1. There's not much water and it's not primarily due to the time of year. There's a huge ruckus between Cal-Am (local water co.) and steelhead conservationists. The mountain ranges in the fourth picture above are the Sierra de Salinas range on the left and the better known Santa Lucia Range on the right. The last picture is of Veeder Pond, which despite its name is actually a vernal pool.

As I was writing this post, I realized I haven't labeled many water features, except for vernal pools and waterfalls. I've added some more this morning:
bays (not Monterey)
Monterey Bay
Pacific Ocean
Mostly these are scenery shots.

I did a little research to figure out the differences between lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. I also tried to find exactly where the Monterey Bay extends (see District 17). Erga. I didn't like what I found, so I've made up my own definitions. Hey, it's my blog. I don't know the official difference between creeks and rivers and suspect many are misnomers, so I'm combining them for simplicity. Dams and reservoirs are obviously man-made. Lakes and ponds are (or were) natural for my own definition. For the demarcation of Monterey Bay, I've chosen Point Pinos Lighthouse near Crespi Pond as the southern boundary. Since I live here, it's really easy to see the difference in the way the water acts around that point. For the northern boundary of the Monterey Bay, I arbitrarily decided Lighthouse Field State Beach in Santa Cruz, which makes nearby Wilder Ranch State Park part of my Pacific Ocean designation. I really want to get a map up and running for this blog, but I'm still working on revamping my labels. Beside, if anyone were really interested, they could easily google map or mapquest any of the locations featured on Nature ID.

ps - Click to read Andy's blog post from his run. I like how our perspectives are different.

vinegar weed ~ 10/01/11 ~ Garland Ranch

Here's one flower I'm sure I wouldn't want to take a strong whiff. In a previous post on the closely related woolly bluecurls, I was asked how they smell. I've long gotten out of the habit of sticking my nose up to unknown plants or even rubbing the leaves with my fingers and smelling them. Apparently, the woolly bluecurls shrubs are sweeter smelling than vinegar weed. I'll have to ask Andy if he could smell this plant on the warm air. Look at how dry it was on the mesa. I'm amazed anything could be blooming after months of no significant rain.

pink honeysuckle ~ 10/01/11 ~ Garland Ranch

pink honeysuckle / California honeysuckle / hairy honeysuckle
Lonicera hispidula

I'm starting to document plants through the seasons (like I have with poison-oak) and not just when they're pretty flowers. To see the pink blooms and the fruit before it turned bright red, check out my pink honeysuckle post from 07/14/11 at Garland Ranch.

I admit I wasn't out this day. I had a flu shot the day before and was feeling a bit wiggy. My doctor wisely decided he didn't want me to have a repeat performance with another hospital stay this year. So, the crappy photos for this day are thanks to Andy. He was on a long trail-run from the main Carmel River entrance all the way past Garzas Creek to Carmel Valley Village and back. It's perhaps 14 miles round trip with a 4,000 foot elevation change (his Garmin wasn't working so this is an estimate). Obviously his heart gets pumping and it's extremely difficult for him to get clear photos with our little point-and-shoot. He knows I like to have close-up shots, shots a few feet back, and scenery shots. Thank you, Andy! For a blogger who regularly takes amazing photos while he runs trails, check out Gary Valle's Photography on the Run.