Journal archives for February 2018

February 10, 2018

Convivial BioBlitzes

In my last journal post, I mentioned wanting to spend some iNaturalist trail time with each of you, when and if possible. I had wanted to post this in early January, and already a whole month has slipped by!

So what I want to try to do is invite you to see when we could plan to be together, small groups of 2, 3, 4, to blitz these trails together. It would be fun to focus in on the taxa that constitute your specialities when we are together. I know I have underrepresented some taxa on my regular trails (especially plants) because I don't know what I am looking at.

In my line of work, my schedule changes radically every four months or so. From now through mid-May, I have most Wednesdays and Fridays available, as well as Monday mornings and some weekends.

I have four regular trails that I visit, and plenty of other places worth exploring. My regular trails, in brief:

  1. Stile Ranch and Santa Teresa County Park (south San José) - California grassland and scrub. Specialty birds include Rock Wren and Rufous-crowned Sparrow; crustose lichens are numerous and beautiful; grasshoppers love the place. About a 2.5-mile loop hike with significant hills (it equals about 35 flights of stairs on my FitBit)
  2. El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve (above Woodside along Skyline) - Round trip loop of about 2 miles between gates 8 and 7. Mixed redwood forest, with Coast Redwood, Pacific Madrone, and Tanoak abundant. Excellent lichens and mosses, and, with moisture, fungi and slime molds. Specialty birds include Varied Thrush (winter) and Hermit Thrush (spring-summer); Pileated Woodpecker and Red Crossbill have been detected, too. Some hills (equals about 28 flights of stairs on my FitBit)
  3. Williams Sisters' Ranch (along Skyline near Windy Hill) - This is an area normally not open to the public. It has a variety of habitats - Redwood, California oak communities, grasslands, and mixed woodland. The butterflies are remarkable, the lichens varied, and we've found remarkable insects there as well. Birds in spring and summer include Grasshopper Sparrow and Lazuli Bunting. Mammals include American Badger! It is not easy to get permission to enter this fascinating area! Elevation gain and loss varies with trail, but this is a hilly area.
  4. Clarkia Trail @ Edgewood County Park - Serpentine grasslands, mixed oak, suburban areas, and chaparral. About 2 miles round-trip, moderate elevation gain (about 14 flights of stairs on my FitBit). The area is famous for wildflowers. It is also the trail I was walking regularly when first I discovered iNaturalist, so I have a special affection for it.
  5. Other places to which we can introduce each other. Special places away from the madding crowd. Anywhere that is particularly fascinating and preferably under-explored. I am always on the hunt, too, for the next regular trails to adopt.

Trails 1 and 2 I do most weeks; Trail 3 (which is actually a lot of choices of trail), is done but once a month. Trail 4 is whenever I feel like it. Trail 5 to Infinity and Beyond.

Respond with suggestions for good dates and locations - and let's get to convivial blitzing! - Jennifer

Posted on February 10, 2018 04:19 AM by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 13 comments | Leave a comment

February 11, 2018

Cladonia Species

This afternoon I took a brief exercise walk at Big Canyon Park in San Carlos. I'd not been here since I started to be more interested in lichens. It wasn't the most exciting lichen hike, but in one stretch (probably one of the less-walked stretches among the park's trail), in the dirt trail cut out bank, there were what appeared to me to be three different Cladonia species.

I understand that Cladonia are difficult. What I'd love to determine here is 1) are these three different species?, 2) are there identifiable species groups within Cladonia in this area that these fit into? (or, to put it differently, are there options for species identification here, so that next time I'll know what details to look for?


Posted on February 11, 2018 02:13 AM by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 3 observations | 9 comments | Leave a comment

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