Archivos de Diario para febrero 2009

03 de febrero de 2009

Salt Point, Bone-Dry

Nate had a hankern' for some mushroom action, so we headed up to Salt Point this weekend with Lauren and Kevin. It was a beautiful day, continuing this alarming trend of clear skies and warm temperatures. Green rolling hills all through the Sonoma farm lands, but parts of the coastal hills were still brown. Highlight of the drive up was a bobcat just off the road! We were all pretty psyched about that one.

The woods weirdly dry. Usually I head up there toward the end of Feb, and it's usually pretty moist, if not sopping wet. This time we were kind of despairing of finding any mushrooms, let alone edibles. Luckily, we did find some black trumpets to take home, along with a handful of yellow feet and hedgehogs.

It actually wasn't a bad day for flowers. I've been jonesin' to see some fetid adder's tongue this winter, but I figured since they were blooming down in San Mateo county that I had missed their bloom up in Sonoma, but luckily I happened upon some! Joy! Coralroot was flowering too, but no sign of calypsos yet. Saw my first Western trillium of the year, too (along with a totally sweet dance fly, with many thanks to ap2il for the ID).

Some hawks long the road as we drove back, but frankly I was so exhausted I wasn't exactly paying too much attention. Looking forward to going back later in the month. Fingers crossed for rain!

Anotado en 03 de febrero de 2009 a las 09:16 AM por kueda kueda | 18 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Ok, I GUESS mammals can be kind of cute

But only a little.




Courtesy of The Affected Provincial's Almanac.

Anotado en 03 de febrero de 2009 a las 04:37 PM por kueda kueda | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de febrero de 2009

The Annelids and the Horde

Headed to Pillar Point on Saturday with plans to meet up with some friends of friends, but I got their early to check out the docks. The docks were a blast, with an overwhelming array of weird creatures (still not slugs that I could spot, though; was kind of hoping for Eubranchus, Catriona, or Elysia). In particular we found some neat polychaete worms, including the dorvilleid I observed the last time I was there, and what I think was something in the family Phyllodocidae. The latter was living in this possibly mucosal tube attached to some algae, and when I coaxed it out, it had the most incredible head, with huge tentacle like protrusions. An insane animal. I also saw this clump of purple-plumed sabellid worms that I think was Myxicola infundibulum. Quite beautiful, if a little mysterious.

Lots of the usual giant barnacles and skeleton shrimp at the dock. Also saw a very cool isopod that I'm pretty sure is in the family Sphaeromatidae, though I think I need to bone up a bit on isopod anatomy to get past there. It was just hanging out on a piece of kelp attached to a boat.

When we left the dock and started walking toward the point, we realized the beach was packed. TONS of people walking, clamming, checking stuff out. We inspected the pilings under the pier but found only an ochre star and some Obelia and other hydroids (still, slug food...). The reef was not less crowded, more people that I've ever seen. Surf was high, and hot spots like the pool of plenty were mostly covered. Managed to find a few slugs, including Flabellina trilineata, which was on a piece of hydroid that also had a tiny Doto amyra. Tiny. Other slugs included Doris montereyensis and Triopha maculata, and one more F. trilineata.

Non-sluggy action was pretty conventional: ochre, sunflower, knobbly, and giant pink sea stars, the usual array of anemones, sculpins etc. Only actually met up with the friends of friends at the very end, b/c it was impossible to find anyone in the crowds.

Anotado en 09 de febrero de 2009 a las 04:54 PM por kueda kueda | 12 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de febrero de 2009

Muir Woods in Bloom

I had planned going mushrooming up at Salt Point with Mickey & Caner, but with the rain and the distance and the uncertainty of mushrooms in general, we decided to just explore a little closer to home and headed to Muir Woods. I'm glad we did, because we caught the beginning of the spring wildflower season! Plenty of early bloomers were out and flowering, including many milkmaids and, amazingly, TONS of fetid adderstongue! Pretty much the entire trailside from Panoramic Highway down Redwood Creek into Muir Woods had a couple, and some spots were practically carpeted with the little flower. Most had already done their thing, but there were plenty still in bloom.

Other welcome sights were my first Indian Warrior of the year, in the higher areas, and Common Star Lily (Toxicoscordion fremontii), one of my favorite flowers to photograph. Toxicoscodion is a relatively change in genus I hadn't known about, and I have to admit I will miss being able to say "Zigadenus." Then again, "Toxicoscordion" sounds kind of like it's describing a poisonous accordion, so that's almost as fun.

Weather was cool and damp throughout, though no outright rain. Pretty much zero in the way of birds. Didn't do too much herp searching (and found nothing for my minimal efforts). Coolest animal by far was the one little Timema Mickey had on her shirt. Timema is a very weird genus of stick insects, always fun to see.

Anotado en 16 de febrero de 2009 a las 06:38 AM por kueda kueda | 13 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de febrero de 2009

Diablo Foothills Regional Park

I thought I'd check out somewhere new this weekend, and I had a hankerin' for some greenery, so I headed east to Diablo Foothills Regional Park, a fine little park right next to Mt. Diablo with lovely oak savanna, rolling green hills, and some cool rock formations.

The Livorna trail head is in a somewhat distasteful suburban development (absurdly large homes, insane pools, gates, etc.), but you quickly leave that behind for the beautiful rolling green hills. Flowers were just starting to get rolling with mustard and fiddleneck blooming in profusion. Some of the oaky areas were fairly birdy. Didn't see a Red-breasted Sapsucker, which is one of my favorite birds in that kind of habitat, but saw plenty of other regulars. Possibly the weirdest sighting of the day was what appeared to be a CA Red-legged frog in amplexus with a bullfrog in a small cattail-filled pond (which was also full of singing Pacific Chorus Frogs). Odd.

Tons and tons of ground squirrels all over the place. Saw three coyotes loping across the n, and though I heard a bunch of alarm calls from the ground squirrels, but I'm not 100% sure it was them.

Buckeye Ravine, which leads down to the base of Castle Rock, was a great, fern-lined little spot, chock full of the eponymous buckeyes and some oaks (and plenty of poison oak, ugh). Saw a bunch of turret spider turrets there, adding to my growing collection of turret observations.

Castle Rock was a beautiful sight, but I didn't ascend due to the presence of noisy peace-spoiling hooligans atop, and the fact that I missed the small trail to the top. Maybe next time.

Overall, there weren't a lot of opportunities to search under cover, but I did manage to find a nice little rock field that yielded an absolutely stunning Calisoga longitarsis, a less-hairy, somewhat smaller relative of the tarantulas that lives around here. This one was the first female I've ever found, so I was quite pleased. She, however, was not.

I think the portion of the Briones-Diablo road that lead back to the trail head would be a remarkable spot for some sunset landscape shots. Lots of west-facing dinosaur-spine rocky outcrops to catch the light. One more reason for a return trip.

Anotado en 23 de febrero de 2009 a las 07:39 AM por kueda kueda | 20 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario