Journal archives for February 2017

February 19, 2017

58/250 Project - More counties....and a bear!

Number of counties with at least one record: 41
Number of counties with 250 or more species level (SL) observations: 2

It has been just over six months since I last updated my journal regarding the California 58/250 project and while I haven’t passed the 250 species mark in any additional counties, I have added seven new counties to the list of those where I’ve made species-level, photo-documented observations. One of the benefits of this project is that it has encouraged me to explore parts of California that I hadn’t previously visited. After a quick trip to Humboldt County in late June, we crossed over the mountains of the Coast Range, turned north up Interstate 5, and spent several days soaking and tromping around Lake Shasta. Along the northeast shore of the lake, we camped at the site of a long-abandoned homestead, where plums and fig trees grew wild among the oaks and Gray Pines. This spot also held the largest, richest patch of ripe blackberries I’ve ever encountered and the resident Black Bear was kind enough to ignore my daily pilfering of breakfast berries. (Shasta County)

http://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/rjadams55/2016/6/27
http://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/rjadams55/2016/6/28

Continuing north, we worked our way to Lava Beds National Monument. Isolated near the Oregon border, this park hold a rugged beauty unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere in California. Expansive fields of volcanic debris lay like blankets across the park and lava tube caves worm their way underground with sporadic collapsed ceilings allowing access to cool, dark hide-aways. At one location, pictographs of several styles covered the walls and boulders at a cave entrance, while hundreds of feet deep in a another, mushrooms were found growing out of cracks in the walls. In other caves, uncountable numbers of metallic-yellow microbial communities dotted the walls like millions of gold foil beads shining in the dark. Other highlights of the park included finding an American Pika on the barren slopes of an old cinder cone. This increasing rare species is one I normally associate with the Sierras, not high desert volcanic fields. It was also home to butterflies of both the Cascades and Great Basin.

http://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/rjadams55/2016/6/29
http://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/rjadams55/2016/6/30

Lava Beds was also the location of the Modoc Indian Wars, and on a much more solemn note, one can walk through the fortifications and caves, where for several months in 1872-73, a small band of Modoc Indians successfully fought off a much larger US Army contingent. Eventually, dissension, treachery, and a lack of resources led to the capture and the execution of the Modoc leaders. Just outside the main body of the park in Modoc County is Petroglyph Point. Walking around the base of this massive sandstone monolith, thousands of Native American carvings can be seen, frequently beneath other people’s declarations of eternal love or salutes to various heavy metal bands, but looking through these, the sheer number and complexity of the carvings was astounding. Adding to the beauty of the Point are the numerous birds that nest in the cracks and crevices of the rock. Baby American Kestrels were begging for food and swarms of Cliff Swallows and White-throated Swifts buzzed around the cliff face like bees at a hive (Siskiyou and Modoc Counties).

As the summer progressed, additional trips to the Sierra Nevada added several long-sought species….To be continued….

Posted on February 19, 2017 02:41 by rjadams55 rjadams55 | 3 comments | Leave a comment