Monday, October 10, 2011

habitat ~ 10/10/11 ~ Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Hmph! I have more IDs from this hike, but they're flummoxing me. Those will have to wait until another day. In this habitat post I want to show a typical trail, the unusual geological formations, the variety of blooms in October, the incredible coves for which Point Lobos is famous, and a map of the current closed trails. Enjoy!

ps 10/26/11 - For the only other picture of the rock circles I've found online, check out DidaK's flickr. Thanks to an informative The Rocks of Point Lobos PDF provided by the Point Lobos Foundation (linked in the location name under the photos), I now know the rock circles are weathered concretions.

coffeeberry ~ 10/10/11 ~ Point Lobos

I noticed this plant around a few times this summer at a couple places. The first time I really paid attention to it was at Elkhorn Slough back on July 22, 2011. Considering I only found it in the parking lot, I mentally classified it as a garden plant. I did not post a picture back then, because the ones I saw at Elkhorn are not what I consider native for Nature ID blog labels. As I become more aware of restoration efforts, my labels will likely become a bit mixed.

trentepohlia ~ 10/10/11 ~ Point Lobos

Good golly! I would have never guessed the orange stuff on cypress trees and rocks is a type of green algae. When I first saw it years ago in this limited area of Point Lobos, I figured it was a mold of some sort. Thanks to the handy-dandy checklist the ranger gave us (I mentioned this in my osprey post from this hike), I now have a name to the genus. When I first searched online, I misspelled Trentepohlia as "Trentepholia" with the 'o' and 'h' switched. I got lots of beautiful pictures, but very little actual information about this living thing. Sigh, gone are the days when my only labels were insects, flowers, and places. I still feel like I should take another general biology class to figure out what all those non-plant/non-animals things are.

ps 06/09/12 - I edited the name and links above to reflect better book and online information about the specific Trentepohlia found at Point Lobos.

CA sagebrush ~ 10/10/11 ~ Point Lobos

California sagebrush / old man
Artemisia californica

This was definitely the dominant plant that I noticed during our hike along the water at Point Lobos. I loved how someone from CalAcademy on CalPhotos called this plant "old man" so I had to include it in the common name above. In my second blurry photo above, I was trying to show how the flowers turn into berry-like seeds. Doesn't that seem unusual? In any case, I'm becoming more familiar with the great variety of ever-present Artemisia in our area.

coastal sagewort ~ 10/10/11 ~ Point Lobos

Sometimes it takes me really looking into something several times before I get it. It never ceases to amaze me how many different kinds of plants there are. I've already mentioned (eh-hem, I do repeat myself regularly) there are at least 41 sp./ssp. of Artemisia found in California. I like the feathery soft leaves of this particular sagewort, sagebrush, sage, wormwood... whatever you choose to call it. The flowers did surprise me.

osprey ~ 10/10/11 ~ Point Lobos

osprey with a fish
Pandion haliaetus with a fish

This was a fun find. An osprey has a fish in a tree (sounds like it should be a Dr. Seuss book, but it doesn't rhyme). I'm by no means a birder by any stretch of the imagination, partly because all my pictures of birds are from so far away that it's often difficult to get an ID. And, you know, I rarely ever carry binoculars on hikes with me. I wasn't sure what this was when we viewed it from all sides of the trail. On our way out of the park we described what we saw to the ranger in the toll booth. He gave us a printed Point Lobos observation checklist and noted we wouldn't find the osprey on the list. He said, "We think it lives in the Carmel Lagoon, but it likes to come over here for lunch." The way he said it made us laugh.

ps 10/26/11 - For a much better osprey blog post, check out Ecobirder.