Rancho Cañada del Oro - 5/21/2021

It's always a lovely day to be at Rancho. Today was windy and clear, with some tantalizingly dark clouds at the periphery, but not even a whiff of rain for all that wind.

It's not been a great year for flowers at Rancho, which is expected given the lack of hydration. But still, Calochortus were doing their thing. Just a light, occasional scattering of yellow lilies in the Blue Oak grasslands, not nearly as many as last year, or maybe there are more still to come. I'm appreciating their variability this year, which isn't as dramatic as clay lilies, but if you look closely... And there are quite a few clay lilies this year, again not as many as last, but a surprising number, every one with at least one resident adorned with pollen, assisting with reproduction while eating their fill and moving the cycle along. How do humans return to that fractal circle of life? Interestingly strict segregation of yellow lilies on one trail and clay lilies on the other. Both seem to grow in grasslands, but clay lilies also do just fine on the rocky side of the trail. While fairy lanterns thrive in the shadier areas in between.

So many insects! I wonder how they're adapting to fewer flowers this year. I was testing my third new phone, a Galaxy S10, plus a new Moment macro lens, and got to use them on just a few tolerant bugs. While the S10 does a better job than either the S21 or Pixel 5, it's still somewhat disappointing on sharpness (although occasionally very good), and they're still over-processing, although not as horribly as with the S21. So I'll probably use my S8 for insects going forward. Even my DSLR is letting me down, mostly not focusing well nowadays, I don't know why, it has no excuse. I'll probably be selling it too, but first find what I hope is a very capable new setup, light for hiking, excellent optics, great close up and macro, ability to get large depth of field, true color. Recommendations?

What else? A gorgeous gopher snake, more colorful than usual, warm enough to be out, and move very slowly, so I could appreciate them for a while. And an Acorn Woodpecker looking out of their nest! One of several holes carved into a big Blue Oak. I just learned that they will reuse those holes for many years, which I'm sure the Oaks are glad to hear, since they are large.

How delightful to cross paths several times with @merav and get distracted by Bee Assassins and Jewelflowers together. It's always satisfying to encounter someone who appreciates so much life around us.

Posted by newtpatrol newtpatrol, May 22, 2021 02:00

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Sweat Bees (Family Halictidae)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 10:28 AM PDT

Description

On Agoseris

Photos / Sounds

What

Bigflower Agoseris (Agoseris grandiflora)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 10:32 AM PDT

Description

How nice to be out in the morning when they're flowering.

Photos / Sounds

What

Harvest Brodiaea (Brodiaea elegans)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 10:48 AM PDT

Description

Very widely scattered around grassland

Photos / Sounds

What

Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 10:59 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Sweat Bees (Family Halictidae)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 11:01 AM PDT

Description

On Calochortus luteus

Photos / Sounds

What

Yellow Mariposa Lily (Calochortus luteus)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 11:03 AM PDT

Description

Scattered around the grassland, not nearly as many as last year, or perhaps more are on the way.

Photos / Sounds

What

Pacific Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer ssp. catenifer)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 11:21 AM PDT

Description

What a gorgeous gopher snake, more colorful than usual, large (3-4'), slow moving on that warm but not hot day.

Photos / Sounds

What

California Ash (Fraxinus dipetala)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 11:37 AM PDT

Description

I wonder who eats the seeds

Photos / Sounds

What

Sagebrush Woolly Stem Gall Midge (Rhopalomyia floccosa)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 11:44 AM PDT

Description

Lots of them on this Artemisia californica

Photos / Sounds

What

White Globe Lily (Calochortus albus)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 11:53 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Ringlet (Coenonympha california)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 11:58 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Forest Scurfpea (Rupertia physodes)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 12:11 PM PDT

Description

First time I've noticed them here! A large patch in a shady spot just uphill from a seasonal creek.

Photos / Sounds

What

Loma Prieta Hoita (Hoita strobilina)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 2021

Description

Could be a different Hoita, but it looks a lot like strobilina, and is located just on the back side of its home territory

Photos / Sounds

What

True Bugs (Suborder Heteroptera)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 12:23 PM PDT

Description

Hanging out on Hoita (strobilina?)

Photos / Sounds

What

Scudder's Bush Katydids (Genus Scudderia)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 12:06 PM PDT

Description

Hanging out on Forest Scurfpea (Rupertia physodes)

Photos / Sounds

What

California Bee Assassin (Apiomerus californicus)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 12:30 PM PDT

Description

Saw quite a few bee assasins, often doing their thing on Clay Mariposa lilies (Calochortus argillosis). This one got an ornate checkered beetle.

Photos / Sounds

What

Most Beautiful Jewelflower (Streptanthus glandulosus ssp. glandulosus)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 2021

Photos / Sounds

What

Crab Spiders (Family Thomisidae)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 12:45 PM PDT

Description

Hanging out on a Clay Mariposa lily (Calochortus argillosis)

Photos / Sounds

What

Wiry Snapdragon (Sairocarpus vexillocalyculatus)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 12:48 PM PDT

Description

As usual, just a few in a serpentine spot.

Photos / Sounds

What

Abrams' Liveforever (Dudleya abramsii)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 2021

Photos / Sounds

What

Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 12:56 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Elegant Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 01:07 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Small Carpenter Bees (Genus Ceratina)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 01:07 PM PDT

Description

On Elegant Clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata)

Photos / Sounds

What

Gorgon Copper (Tharsalea gorgon)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 01:17 PM PDT

Description

On Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum)

Photos / Sounds

What

Variable Checkerspot (Euphydryas chalcedona)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 01:18 PM PDT

Description

On Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum)

Photos / Sounds

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 01:18 PM PDT

Description

On Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum)

Photos / Sounds

What

Augochlorine Sweat Bees (Tribe Augochlorini)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 01:19 PM PDT

Description

On Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum)

Photos / Sounds

What

California Bee Assassin (Apiomerus californicus)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 01:22 PM PDT

Description

Once again, caught an ornate checkered beetle. On Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum)

Photos / Sounds

What

Clay Mariposa Lily (Calochortus argillosus)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 01:31 PM PDT

Description

Quite a few of them this year, I love their variability

Photos / Sounds

What

California Sister (Adelpha californica)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 01:43 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 01:49 PM PDT

Description

This large patch looks much scrappier than last year.

Photos / Sounds

What

Yarrow Plume Moth (Gillmeria pallidactyla)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 01:47 PM PDT

Description

I always encounter interesting fauna on this patch of yarrow, this moth is so lovely, and aptly named.

Photos / Sounds

What

Western Screech-Owl (Megascops kennicottii)

Observer

newtpatrol

Date

May 21, 2021 08:00 PM PDT

Description

Owl update. Lady Owl poked out of the box early enough last night that several of the other resident birds were still out and about, took notice and went bonkers. A Junco, Bewick's Wren and Anna's Hummingbird all flew around yelling at Lady Owl in their own way, I'm sure they all have nests in the area right now (although I've yet to see any of them.) Here's a video of some of that happening: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VcQJwWtXPjr5DdGl2kw5hLVz46yWT8t5/view?usp=sharing.

Disclaimer that the video is fairly messy, and I uploaded a lower-quality version than the original. Also unfortunately my music was playing loudly at the beginning, otherwise there's a lot of Junco and Wren yelling going on. Over the course of the video you'll see a Junco, Wren and Hummingbird all go up to Lady Owl, very ballsy, and you'll see her utter indifference.

Still no sign of offspring.

Here's a Flickr album with a larger collection of photos and videos of the Owl family: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmVZPnT5

Tags

Comments

It was so nice to bump into you today! and so many gorgeous flowers!

Posted by merav over 1 year ago (Flag)

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