February 12, 2023 Triunfo Creek Park

It has been nearly a year since I visited this area. Last spring I was enjoying a great day out when I was coming down a steep slope and slipped on some very loose gravel. My momentum made me lose my balance and tumble into a ditch. Though I only sustained a bruised knee and a small scratch on my nose, I still cringe when I remember the sound of my camera lens literally breaking right off my camera. Perhaps that's why I haven't been back for awhile!

Eleven months later all is well and with an almost year old camera and lens purchased new after that mishap, I set out to check out Triunfo. The interesting thing about this area is that at the top of the hill near the reservoir (off limits) is a large field with several ephemeral ponds that form after rains. While it has been awhile since our last storm, I wanted to check out the ponds to see what life I could find. I was in luck as there were at least 3 ponds still intact in addition to a couple of minor partial creek beds with water. It's still early in the year and we've had a fairly cool winter for a change (with the exception of a few days last week) so pond life is not as robust as it might be later in the year.

However, the ponds were literally teeming with ostracods, maybe numbering up to a thousand. They were swimming about but there were also clusters of them in some spots which you can see from the photos.

Ostracods are actually small crustaceans, which inhabit virtually all aquatic environments on earth. This group of animals have bodies completely enclosed between two valves which in many species occur as calcified “shells”. There are actually over 2000 species of ostracods, some living in saltwater and others in fresh water. In addition to the ostracods, there were quite a few mosquito larvae as well as a couple of tadpoles in the ponds. I even saw one frog but it jumped away and I wasn't able to re-find it for a photo.

In addition to the ephemeral ponds, this area can also be a great one for wildflowers if we get the right weather conditions. While the number of flowers is not necessarily out of the ordinary, the variety of species in this location seems to be greater than in many areas of the Santa Monica mountains. Though too early in the year for much to be in bloom, there was a nice scattering of goldfields, several ceanothus plants and some shining pepperweed. A California peony was in bloom though partially hidden under a black sage plant and I found one Padre's shooting star, one of my favorite early spring flowers.

Best of all, I made it back down the hill, this time without any mishaps. I look forward to a return visit later in the spring to see what flowers appear after our generous rainfall this winter.

Posted on February 14, 2023 06:38 AM by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Padre's Shooting Star (Primula clevelandii)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

February 12, 2023 10:45 AM PST

Description

Triunfo Creek Park
First of the season and only one I saw

Photos / Sounds

What

Culicine Mosquitoes (Subfamily Culicinae)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

February 12, 2023 10:58 AM PST

Description

Triunfo Creek Park

Photos / Sounds

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

February 12, 2023 11:07 AM PST

Description

Triunfo Creek Park
May have been thousands in a few ephemeral ponds. Added several photos to help with ID if it can even be obtained from photos

Photos / Sounds

What

Shining Pepperweed (Lepidium nitidum)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

February 12, 2023 11:21 AM PST

Description

Triunfo Creek Park

Photos / Sounds

What

Frogs and Toads (Order Anura)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

February 12, 2023 11:42 AM PST

Description

Triunfo Creek Park

Comments

Hi @naturephotosuze, Very much enjoyed reading your journal entry on your visit to Triunfo Creek Park. I learned a bit about a life form I knew nothing about (Ostracods)! I hike here also sometimes. I think the Ceanothus in this and surrounding area are have a big year.

Posted by sfelton about 1 year ago

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it and learned about ostracods. The first time I saw them at another location I had no clue what they were. Now I've seen them in several places.

Posted by naturephotosuze about 1 year ago

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Posted by alicelove 12 months ago

Thanks for your nice comment!

Posted by naturephotosuze 12 months ago

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