Journal archives for September 2021

September 09, 2021

North side - 09/08/21

Wednesday 9:00 -11:12 am: no newts.
Weather - hot. Air quality wasn't great, even though the numbers on purple air looked good. I skipped my survey last week due to the bad air quality.
Other roadkills: a little piece of lizard - an alligator lizard?
I kept hearing chipmunks calling from everywhere, but I was only able to see one of them.

Coverage: from the parking lot to the second stop sign.
Traffic: 6 trucks, 17 cars, 9 bikes, 8 pedestrians, and 12 cars parked by the road and in the parking lots (2 cars at the far lot). It was very quiet, very few trucks, cars, etc. I saw someone opening the gate to the boat club on my way back. There were very few fishermen and hikers - one car per trailhead (in addition to a few on the first lot).
A link to all my observations of the day - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?on=2021-09-08&place_id=any&user_id=merav&verifiable=any

Posted on September 09, 2021 05:08 by merav merav | 2 comments | Leave a comment

September 14, 2021

Gall Week 2021!

Dear gall enthusiasts -
Since there is spider week, Cal Coast week, and taco day, we need to have Gall Week! I thought it would be fun to try and document many galls during one week of fall. I think the first week of October could be good, when there should still be plenty of gall in the Bay Area. Are you in?
I will create an iNat project, and I would also like to do some outreach, to tell more people how awesome galls are.
If anyone is interested, we could plan some outings together. I thought it could be nice exploring new places less covered on iNat, target specific gall species, or look for less observed host plants.
Please let me know what you think, if you like (or dislike) the idea, if you’ve got any ideas for locations, gall species, or host species of interest, or if you’ve got suggestions for the t-shirt design :)
Happy fall!
Merav
@gyrrlfalcon @catchang @garth @leslie_flint @graysquirrel @sea-kangaroo @eddiebug @chyroptera @nancyasquith @truthseqr @joyceg @erikamitchell @anudibranchmom @ariel-shamir @megachile @claire2 @naturesarchive @robberfly @tiwane @damontighe @debkccb @jhintermeister @kbakkegard @kejwa @edwardrooks @metsa @moonlittrails @owicki @robberfly @virusmanbob @woolybear @clarkia11

please feel free to tag more people and spread the word!
Update: the project can be found here - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/gall-week-2021-9e58d299-60ec-4b10-af61-11ec0ab46974

Posted on September 14, 2021 01:48 by merav merav | 83 comments | Leave a comment

BioBlitz results!

Thanks for joining the 2nd Shady Oaks Park BioBlitz!
Even though the park was very dry, and even Coyote Creek was dry (like much of California these days), we were still able to find a wide diversity of species. The many oak trees growing in the park provide habitat and food to many insects, which in turn provide food to Fence Lizards and many bird species. In addition to the spiders and insects that crawl on the tree, we also documented colorful gall species, mostly on Oaks, and also on Walnut and Willow. Inside the leaves, we documented tiny leaf miners. The oaks' acorns support many Tree Squirrel, Jays, and Acorn Woodpeckers, that were loud and present.
Only a few plants are in bloom this time of year, such as Narrowleaf Milkweed, Mint, and Clover, and they attract many pollinators: native bees, skippers and other butterflies, and flies.
Since the creek is completely dry, we weren't able to document any of the usual aquatic life, other than many dead Asian Clams, and a dead Red-eared Slider. All the fish, snails, worms, and other aquatic invertebrates are gone. The creek will probably go through dry and wet periods over the next 10 years, as the Anderson dam is fixed. What will happen to all the animals and plants that depend on the creek for habitat or food? Who will be here next time we visit? How will it impact this important urban ecosystem? Join us for our next event to find out.
Also, if you enjoyed learning about galls, please join Gall Week - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/gall-week-2021
Merav
https://www.bioblitz.club/

Posted on September 14, 2021 21:17 by merav merav | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 15, 2021

new Gall Week project

This project is replacing the first one, please join it instead.

(this is an old-school project, where we'll have to manually add observations)
Apologies for the inconvenience!
@debkccb
@erikamitchell
@milliebasden
@naturesarchive
@sea-kangaroo
@susanmf

Posted on September 15, 2021 02:28 by merav merav | 10 comments | Leave a comment

September 17, 2021

North side - 09/16/21

Thursday 9:20 -11:13 am: no newts.
Weather - cold, for a change. Air quality is also good.
Other roadkills: a small spider wasp.
I didn't hear or see any chipmunks this time. Maybe it was too cold. I spent some time looking for oak galls on scrub oaks, and found some interesting ones. Also, when I got back to the parking lot I heard two crows making a lot of noise. They were chasing a golden eagle, that then landed on a tall eucalyptus on the hill in front of me. A few minutes later it took off, and the crows followed.
Coverage: from the parking lot to the second stop sign.
Traffic: 7 trucks, 28 cars, 4 bikes, 17 pedestrians, and 19 cars parked by the road and in the parking lots (1 car at the far lot). It was very quiet again, a few trucks, cars, etc.
A link to all my observations of the day - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?on=2021-09-16&place_id=any&user_id=merav&verifiable=any

Posted on September 17, 2021 05:23 by merav merav | 3 comments | Leave a comment

September 20, 2021

another hotspot - Mt. Um

Apparently, Mt. Um has a newt roadkill problem as well. A friend counted 203 dead newts over 300yds, from the Junction of Hicks and Mt Umunhum Rds heading toward Almaden Res. He reported them here on H.E.R.P. - http://www.naherp.com/viewrecord.php?r_id=132760

Posted on September 20, 2021 19:11 by merav merav | 4 comments | Leave a comment

September 27, 2021

BioBlitz results!

Thank you for joining the Coyote Creek Fall BioBlitz! People are still uploading observations, but for now, we can share a few findings: some groups saw male Desert Tarantula wondering around. This is the time of the year when the males are looking for mates. They will try to mate with a few females, and die afterwards. Females can live for many years (decades!). It was nice to see so much water in the creek, which is mostly dry north of Coyote Valley. We documented some aquatic invertebrates, including mayfly, caddisfly, and dragonfly larva, all of which have flying adults, in addition to snails, worms, and others. Many bird species were active today, including at least one Golden Eagle, Bluebirds, and many Jays. Please return to this project later to see what others have documented - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/coyote-creek-fall-2021-bioblitz

And a few other links:
If you’d like to learn more about the Coyote Creek Watershed, please join us this Monday (tomorrow) for a webinar here - https://www.grassrootsecology.org/event-calendar/2021/9/27/shining-a-spotlight-on-the-coyote-creek-watershed?fbclid=IwAR39ETLUUgfdtAQCQzypXoRXdAwAIzIqN1IOGDJmGaOFBziHOWsnyFaA1bs
I will present some of our many findings at this meeting, including the new Coyote Creek Biodiversity Project - https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/coyote-creek-biodiversity
And one last thing - I hope you enjoyed watching some galls today. Please join us for the first Gall Week! You can learn more about it here - https://www.bioblitz.club/event-info/gall-week-2021

Posted on September 27, 2021 00:32 by merav merav | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 29, 2021

How to get started?

Gall Week is starting in less than a week! During Gall Week we will try to document the incredible diversity of galls. Galls are little structures on plants, induced by a few different groups of organisms, mostly insects. They often have interesting shapes, and many of them are colorful and objectively pretty. They can be found on leaves, stems, buds, and even roots. For a good background about galls, listen to this podcast interview with Adam Kranz from Gallformes - https://podcast.naturesarchive.com/2021/09/14/galls/
For Gall Week, we are interested in documenting the galls themselves or the gall inducers (adult wasps for example). If you're lucky, you might be able to document one of their associated species - parasitic or inquiline wasps trying to lay their eggs into the galls. We could add these to the project as well.
Since all galls are a result of an interaction between the gall inducer (such as a wasp) and the plant host, it is highly important to document the plant species as well. It is highly important for their identification. Please add the plant name in the observation's comments, and if possible in the "fields" as well. If you're not sure about the plant ID, you can post it to iNaturalist as well, and link that to the gall observation. Please note, you will have to add each observation to this project manually.
---if you've never looked for galls before ----
I'd suggest finding out what are the best host plants in your area. In the West: Oaks, Willows, Coyote Brush, and poplar, among many others. In the East: poplars, willows, and goldenrods (please correct me if I'm wrong). You can find them easily on iNaturalist. Try searching first for gall photos, so you'd know what to look for.
I'd like to share a few resources people can use in order to get started. Please feel free to add more - there are many great resources out there - let's share them! Are there any great books/ websites/ iNat projects that you love using? Please add them in the comments.
Here are a few suggestions, especially for the west:

Posted on September 29, 2021 01:18 by merav merav | 13 comments | Leave a comment

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