17 de enero de 2022

Help with ID on intriguing plant

For over a year now, I have been intrigued by this small plant that I found in the Bay Area. It is something that I have only found in 2 locations that are in close proximity to each other. So far, the best ID I could get on iNat is "Vascular Plants". I have checked with a number of my friends, who are very knowledgeable about local flora. I even checked with the park's environmental scientist. None of them have an idea what it is. Is it something rare? Interesting? (Definitely interesting to me!) New?
Any help is appreciated.

The plant consists of a stalk with no leaves and one to several flowers. The 7 to 10mm flowers only open when they are wet (rain or heavy fog). When they are dry, the flowers close completely, making the plants nearly invisible and impossible to locate. Most of the flowers show no sign of reproductive organs. Only a few develop what look like round stones. The plants emerge with the first rains (this year in October) and are gone when the rains end (last year, by March). Oddly, I only find them on the trail, never off the trail, even near where the population is quite dense. This makes it seem like they require the ground to be scraped or very compacted.

I have been visiting them on a weekly basis and charting the weather conditions, to see when they bloom. It turns out that they just have to be wet. When I put a few drops on a closed plant, it opens within about 15 minutes.

Any help is appreciated!

Publicado el enero 17, 2022 04:07 MAÑANA por kendalloei kendalloei | 6 observaciones | 22 comentarios | Deja un comentario

01 de agosto de 2020

Calaveras Big Trees - South Grove

Setting and Route:
07:12 to 10:18 AM
Calaveras Big Trees - South Grove
Temp 62F to 74F. Slight wind. Estimated 3-7 mph, depending on location and time.

A gem of a hike for an early weekday morning. Didn't see a soul, except trees, flowers, birds, squirrels and chipmunks. In contrast, I ended a hike here on Saturday at 1PM and passed 97 people in the last mile and a half. Go early!
The hike starts at Beaver Creek. The actual Sequoia Grove (South Grove) starts about a mile into the hike, where you pass a lumber road. There's a nice view of Big Trees Creek and a sign that says,
"This forest has preceeded you by many thousand years;
Please treat it with honor and respect."
Once in the grove, there are Giant Sequoias, standing alone and in pairs, towering above you, bigger at the base than a typical living room. Their red bark stands out. There are over 1,000 Sequoias in the grove, but just a few along the trail. Along the way, there is a lot to see and the sound of Big Trees Creek helps to keep you feeling cool.

Publicado el agosto 1, 2020 11:20 TARDE por kendalloei kendalloei | 10 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Calaveras Big Trees South Grove Rim Loop

Setting and Route:
07:00 to 13:00
Calaveras Big Trees South Grove Rim Loop
Temp 62F to 86F. Slight wind. Estimated 5-10 mph, depending on location and time.
Started on South Grove Trail, and turned right on the lumber road to hike a loop around the rim of the valley.

This was a beautiful hike! I was hoping to be able to look down on the South Grove and see the Sequoia grove from above. However, true to the park's name, there were too many Big Trees to be able to see the valley below it. The rim trail is a wide lumber road that is well maintained on the southern half of the loop and less so on on the northern half of the loop, but is easy to follow throughout the hike. The incline is pretty gentle all the way up, gaining about 1700 feet over 7 miles, making it a moderate hike, though lengthy at 11 miles. The hike begins and ends in coniferous forest, with lots of White Fir, Ponderosa Pine, California Incense Cedar, and Pacific Dogwood. No Sequoias to be seen, though. At higher elevations, it takes you through patches of chaparral, dominated by White Manzanita and Black Oak. There are flowers throughout in Spring and early Summer, including Western Columbine, Naked Buckwheat, Mountain Blue Penstemon and Common Woolly Sunflower. Birds generally try to stay concealed and include Dark-eyed Juncos, Hairy Woodpeckers, Ravens and Turkey Vultures. Mammals include Douglas' Squirrel, Long-eared Chipmunks and Black Bear. I saw my first bear, while on a solo hike. It was a young one, a little bigger than a full-grown black lab on steroids. No picture, as it ran before I could raise my camera. No sign of parents, luckily.
There's a wonderful sign at the intersection between South Grove Trail and the lumber road that says,
"This forest has preceeded you by many thousand years;
Please treat it with honor and respect."
That sign should be put up at the entrance to nearly every forest. :)

Publicado el agosto 1, 2020 10:15 TARDE por kendalloei kendalloei | 19 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

16 de junio de 2020

Buckeye Blitz

I have been photographing a California Buckeye through all of its phases and started noticing how much life depends on this one tree. So, I decided to do a Buckeye Blitz. Rather then doing it all at once, it will be a documentation of all the organisms that I find associating themselves with my tree friend over the next year or more. I'll be back to add observations as I make them.

Publicado el junio 16, 2020 10:53 TARDE por kendalloei kendalloei | 6 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

02 de octubre de 2017

2017-09-30 Angel Kerley Trail and Burma Rd to Moses Rock and back

Setting and Route:
07:30 to 12:30
Mount Diablo - Start Northgate Rd and Angel Kerley Trail, then Burma Rd to Moses Rock.
Temp 57 to 68 degrees. Slight wind. Estimated 0-5 mph, depending on location and time.
Angel Kerley and the first mile and a half of Burma Rd is Oak Woodland, then turns uphill into Chapparal. Heavy Chamise and some areas with Manzanita.

The hike started with a welcome from a Tarantula (Aphonopelma Iodius) just after the trailhead. I call him the greeter. He sat for a good 20 seconds while I got my GoPro started, then backed toward and into his burrow. Sighted 4 Columbian Black-tailed deer before hitting the Chapparal. From the rock that overlooks San Ramon Valley, saw a Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a large boulder. Got nice video of it as it rustled, then took off. Just past the rock, saw three young (not pups, not adult) Coyotes running along the ridge.
The Chapparal area is home to a family of White-tailed Kites. Saw 4 at one point. One was on the bare peak of a tree, repeatedly lifting and lowering her tail. No takers that I saw. :)

Usually pass Moses Rock without inspecting futher, but decided to go off-trail and look around. Moses Spring actually comes partially from the rock and cascades (drips this time of year) down. Lots of plants that I'm not familiar with and aren't typical of the local area. Will have to make a special iNaturalist trip to familiarize myself with them. Also, as I approached, a Red-tailed Hawk was perched on the water cistern. Wonder if they eat goldfish... It would be too easy.
On the way back past my lookout rock, saw 2 Northern Harriers. One had prey in its talons. Got some video, but just after I stopped, an American Kestrel attacked. Over too quick to capture it, so on my way. At the junction of Burma and Angel Kerley, came across a Gopher Snake basking mid-trail. Was not budging or bothering with me. Not far from there, on Angel Kerley, came across another that I mistook for a Rattlesnake because it's head was a triangular. I knew that they would rattle their tail to mimic rattlesnakes, but did not know that they could somehow change the shape of their head to look like a pit viper. It looks like it sort of pulls its head back slightly. This one was not in a friendly mood. Got a nice video of it striking my GoPro.

Fall is upon us. I arrived at my usual time (as soon as the gates open), but the animals are more active than they were during the summer. Possibly a seasonal change in behavior, or may be due to the shortening day. I'm not arriving as late after sunrise. The weather is changing as well. Dew on the grass and on my hiking stick.

The behavior of the Tarantula and the 2 Gopher Snakes made me think about camouflage. Both seemed to use being motionless as the first way to not be seen, and only moved when I didn't go away. Also makes me wonder how many things I just pass by on a typical hike.

In the early morning, raptors were either not visible or perched. Perhaps the air was too still for hovering and/or the ground was too cold for thermals. Later in the morning, Red-tailed hawks were kettling, but still no hovering kites. Most likely, the ground had warmed enough for thermal, but the air was too still for hovering.
Moses Rock and Moses Spring have me interested in how they seem to be an oasis for plant life. Will make a special trip soon.

Publicado el octubre 2, 2017 03:11 MAÑANA por kendalloei kendalloei | 7 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario