Thursday, April 24, 2014

habitat ~ 04/24/14 ~ Garrapata State Park

Garrapata State Park
April 24, 2014

This is only the second time I've ever stopped to visit Garrapata/Soberanes Point.  The first time back on June 2, 2012 was on a Monterey Bay Chapter CNPS trip.  I don't really know what happened to the threatened State Park closure business from 2 years ago.  How would CA State Parks keep people off the property?  I heard something about the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District stepping in to assist with the basics for this remote spot, like toilet paper in the porta-potty, the porta-potty itself, and trash pick-up.  The MPRPD is an awesome park organization, and I wish they could help manage some other local properties (eh-hem, Hatton Canyon, cough, Jacks Peak, cough).

Garrapata is a popular local tourist destination about 5 miles south of Point Lobos, which I also do not visit much.  I'm not fond of how crowded the trail feels, even in the middle of the week.  The path is narrow, and for anyone to pass, you often have to stand to the side in the poison-oak to let them go. We met a couple from Appalachia under the redwoods.  He was a herpetologist, and I enjoyed chatting with him and his wife about their trip and, of course, herps. However, I wondered if he would collect if he found something he liked.  I've been blind to that kind of activity, because I only collect photographs these days.

Honestly, I wouldn't have stopped here had I not been tagging along with Chris Tenney as he searches Monterey County for butterflies.  He had a couple places in mind down the coast, pending the weather.  So often it can be cool, breezy, and foggy.  We lucked out with the sun, and tucked inland there were a couple hot spots totally protected from the wind.  I was quite impressed with the butterfly diversity, because those same narrow, human-crowded paths in the creek canyon also funnel butterflies into a small area of space.  Within 5 feet of Dudleya, we spotted a couple late season Sonoran blues.  

Sigh.  It amazes me how much I've redirected my own life's path in the 2 months since my first Sonoran sighting.  I only recently realized the true reason why I gave up netting as an entomologist.  Basically, I'm too lazy to process specimens on pins and labels.  What a tedious job.  It's so hard for me to admit that.  I'm looking for alternatives and am still considering a Lytro Light Field Camera as my next camera, pending Andy's beta test with his yearbook kids next year (yes, I asked, and the company is agreeable).  Here's a sample of what it can do - click anywhere on the photo to change the focal point.  Eh, it needs some improvement.  Maybe in another year they'll have a better software patch for macro shots?  The potential is exciting.