Journal archives for March 2021

March 12, 2021

March 10, 2021 Briar Summit Open Space

On a cool, intermittently rainy day (at last!) I took a short trip to the Briar Summit Open Space Preserve. I found this on a map, read a couple reviews and thought it would be worth checking out on a day when I didn't want to travel too far due to the weather.

I find these "open space preserves" in the Los Angeles area somewhat interesting. At times, they are large and have miles of hiking trails. At others, they're like this--a paved road at the end of a residential area. The road leads up to a DWP site (locked gate near the top). Evidently Jeopardy host Alex Trebek donated this land. Parcels such as this end up as open space only because they are unsuitable for development. Needless to say, my expectations were quite low.

And, yes, not really a "get out in nature" experience. That being said, though, the habitat was in remarkably good shape with several ceanothus plants in full bloom with many more flowers than any others I've seen this year in the local mountains. The roadside (not really a trail per se) was dotted with many California brittle bush plants--some already blooming but many still to bloom. Overall, the soil seemed moist and there were a fair amount of birds flitting around.

Considering the weather, I found a surprising number of insects including one of those super tiny mites (poor photo due to size and it running around and me contending with a wind), a very pretty leafhopper and a couple of trupanea flies. And I also found several healthy looking whitemargin sandmat plants which I don't see too often. While I don't think I'll be spending a lot of time here, I certainly will visit again once more flowers are in bloom as I'm sure they will be attracting many more insects than I saw on this cool day.

Posted on March 12, 2021 12:50 AM by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 19, 2021

March 19, 2021 Paramount Ranch

Today I re-visited the trail where in 2019 I did my informal survey of the Woolsey fire recovery. The trail I chose turned out to be great, as thanks to a lot of rain that winter, I counted at least 50 different species of flowers in probably less than a a mile trail--not all at once of course but throughout the spring season.

What a difference two years makes and unfortunately things looked very dry. I don't think I've ever seen so few flowers along a trail during spring. Everything looked heat stressed with the exception of a few plants including the ubiquitous (this year) purple nightshade. I saw at least two Sara orange tips fly by but I'm not sure if they ever found what they were looking for. I also saw a couple of blue butterflies, probably acmon blues--but again, they didn't stop for me or much else.

Yet, spring is in the air and so a lot of insects were out, the gopher was digging, the hawks were active and lots of lizards were sunning themselves. Check out the handsome side-blotched of several I saw.

Two years ago, the meadow around the church was teeming with small flowers including hundreds of goldfields. Today I saw a couple dozen maybe. The only flower I saw much of was common stork's bill (most quite stunted) and I saw several honeybees working on those.

The blister beetles were eating the few morning glory petals around and even hanging on the purple nightshade plants. The blue elder was nicely leafed out but not a flower was on it.

I did find a couple of cool things today though. It's always fun to see a jumping spider--in fact I saw a couple but I only got a photo of one. I also found this really interesting insect--perhaps a wasp of some sort?--that I failed to get a great photo of but check out the eyes and thick antennae! This is one bug I've absolutely never seen before. I'm very curious as to what it is.

Spring is going to be a challenge for every living thing here due to the dry conditions. Fortunately, there are still pockets of habitat in our local mountains that do have water so I'm hoping that will see us through. And we can hope for more rain.

Posted on March 19, 2021 11:51 PM by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment