Thursday, April 18, 2013

Yadon's piperia ~ 04/18/13 ~ Huckleberry Hill

posted 05/23/13 - "Please watch your step. Those are Yadon's you're treading on."  So said my veteran CNPS guide. Really!?!  I've only ever noticed these when they're blooming in late July and early August and the leaves are completely gone.  I had no idea when the leaves were actually out; they look just like the exotic orchids I have as houseplants.  Once again, I'm noting this location is not Monterey City's Huckleberry Hill Nature Preserve where I first saw Yadon's.

lots o' lotuses ~ 04/18/13 ~ Huckleberry Hill

Bentham's deerweed / Bentham's lotus





Oy!  The 2nd edition Jepsons Manual released last year with its classification overhaul has thrown everyone for a loop, from the reliable memories of old-time native plant folks to the extensive databases of Jepson eFlora,, and CalPhotos.  The embedded links I've included in the names above were a little challenging to track down.  Lotus had most plants split off into Acmispon (deerweeds) and Hosackia (lotuses).  I wouldn't have attempted this post if I hadn't had the expert guidance of an experienced local CNPS member pointing out all these plants to me.  Our local chapter president asked me to accompany this fellow and make a record of what and where he collected for our annual wildflower show.

Speaking of where, my new location label of Huckleberry Hill Natural Habitat Area, which is managed by the Del Monte Forest Conservancy in Pebble Beach, is not the same as my previously featured Huckleberry Hill Nature Preserve, which is managed by the City of Monterey. While these two locations are only across Hwy 68 from each other, I think I see slight differences in habitat resulting from different historical land uses.  For those who live around here, this location is what's better known as the "quarry entrance" off Holman Hwy.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

margined white ~ 04/07/13 ~ Garland Ranch

female  margined white / grey-veined white
female Pieris marginalis venosa (aka Pieris napi venosa)

edited 05/11/13 - Phew!  After a failed quick search of my go-to favorites for butterfly IDs, I cheated and asked Dr. Art Shapiro from UC Davis.  Once you know the spring generation has dark veins and the summer generation is almost all white, this is a fairly easy butterfly to distinguish.  Then, tracking down its currently correct name is a bugger. I'm using Butterflies of America in the first scientific name link above, because they seem the most anal about names. However, Art does not believe most of the CA populations are conspecific with P. marginalis and maintains the P. napi complex (mustard whites) remains uncertain.

Years ago, I was fortunate enough to have been a museum intern and later a research assistant for Dr. Sonja Teraguchi in the first establishment years of Ohio's Long-term Monitoring of Butterflies.  My fondest memories of Ohio are from butterfly outings and workshops with Sonja, various museum volunteers, and The Ohio Lepidopterists. That experience helped create and shape Nature ID. I was aware the program was partially based on the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network, but until I started this blog, I didn't know Art has been doing it since 1972. As an ulterior motive for contacting Dr. Shapiro, I've been wanting to go out with him during one of his butterfly walks for the past handful of years. I've dropped the ball, repeatedly... but not this year. Now, we're tentatively set to go to his Washington site in Nevada County next Tuesday.  I'm looking forward to meeting him and learning from a butterfly master.

checker lily ~ 04/07/13 ~ Garland Ranch


posted 05/05/12 - The only time I have ever found this lily before was during our wedding tree hike in 2009.  I'm posting these photos, because they're a vast improvement from my original entry.  The checker lily is generally not considered a rare plant, but it's rare to me.  Based on this sighting, I told the president of our local CNPS chapter that I predicted this year was going to be a great flower year for our annual wildflower show.  He was more concerned with how dry some areas of the county were.  Turns out we had an unofficial species count of 715 blooming flowers, the second highest count in the 50+ years our wildflower show has been held.  And, if my memory is correct, I believe 2009 was the highest count on record with over 735 spp.  To put this into perspective, we usually have maybe 625-675 spp. in the show, and many other regional wildflower shows may have 100-400 spp. at the most.

Skilton's skink ~ 04/07/13 ~ Garland Ranch

Swoon.  Bright blue is my favorite color. The juveniles and young adults have blue tails, and when they're ready for some lovin' they turn flushy orange. They're remarkably shiny. I've seen western skinks many times before, but this was the first time I could capture a couple on camera.  I was surprised to see one retreating to a hole.  I usually don't think of lizards as being burrowing animals.

wedding tree ~ 04/07/13 ~ Garland Ranch

Hey yo, long time, no?  Has it really been almost 4 months since I last posted to Nature ID?  It's interesting how time seems to become more condensed as I get older.  No offense to anyone but I have a theory as to why elderly folk drive so slow, if an hour feels like half an hour, then going 30 miles per hour feels more like 60 miles per hour.  Whoa.  Time and the unspoken commitments we all make to each other have been looming large in my brain space lately.  I had meant for Nature ID to chronicle nature.  Now I realize it's helped me chronicle the seasons of my life... and I miss the act of recording.  Anniversary.  We did our annual hike a day early with concerns over having enough daylight after school and the possibility that I might be traveling. Imagine our surprise when we found our wedding tree trail closed for rehabilitation.  Fortunately other trails to the tree remain open for now.