April 7, 2021 Las Virgenes Canyon

I'm behind on my postings but decided to highlight this visit from last week...not because I found anything unusual or super interesting but because of how degraded the environment was. This place burned thoroughly in the Woolsey Fire. It actually was charred. It recovered quite nicely due to the rains in 2019. However in this drought year, it is looking worse. The sad thing is, is that there is some water here in places so there should be some great habitat. Unfortunately, invasives have really taken over. There was always an abundance of mustard along the trail when you first go in. And as bad as mustard is, it has been here in California so long, some native species have adapted to it.

However, in addition to the mustard, which by the way, was a lot less than usual, there was an abundance of small melilot. It seemed to be growing everywhere. I don't remember seeing so much here in the past so it must be having a banner year. In the about 1.75 miles I covered I only saw two native flowers (excepting two very straggly looking purple nightshade plants). These included the always nice to see seep monkeyflower and a very few fiddleneck. There may have been more in the riparian area you can't reach but needless to say it was very disappointing. It would be a massive job to try and eradicate these non-natives but it sure would have been nice if after the fire something could have been done to enhance the habitat.

On a positive note, there was fresh growth on the red willows in the dry stream bed, hundreds of tadpoles (many who will probably not survive the mountain bikers plowing through the pond that forms in the middle of the trail) and a brand new valley oak growing near the massive valley oak you see when you first enter the trailhead. This place could be a real mecca for wildlife if the habitat was restored. Testament to that is that almost all the wildlife I saw was in the two major riparian areas that remain.

Posted by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze, April 13, 2021 17:38

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Valley Oak (Quercus lobata)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

April 7, 2021 09:06 AM PDT

Description

Las Virgenes Canyon

Photos / Sounds

What

King Island Melilot (Melilotus indicus)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

April 7, 2021 09:08 AM PDT

Description

Las Virgenes Canyon
Absolutely everywhere...I've never seen so much here--less mustard this year so maybe this does better in drought conditions?

Photos / Sounds

What

Red Willow (Salix laevigata)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

April 7, 2021 09:18 AM PDT

Description

Las Virgenes Canyon

Photos / Sounds

What

Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

April 7, 2021 09:39 AM PDT

Description

Las Virgenes Canyon

Photos / Sounds

What

Seep Monkeyflower (Erythranthe guttata)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

April 7, 2021 09:55 AM PDT

Description

Las Virgenes Canyon

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