Journal archives for August 2019

August 17, 2019

Failed insect husbandry

Curious about the critter(s) inhabiting this very common gall on Quercus turbinella, I brought a half-dozen back from my most recent visit to Rackensack Canyon. I placed them in a pint canning jar and covered it with cheesecloth. Within a couple of days, this wasp emerged; it's identical to an individual I photographed in the field. The next day it was joined by this adult wasp (presumably - jointed antennae).

I intended to return them to Rackensack the next morning, but it turns out that a single layer of cheesecloth is not an impermeable barrier to these guys. They took it on the wing and they or their remains are somewhere here in the house.

Posted on August 17, 2019 10:12 PM by stevejones stevejones | 4 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

August 28, 2019

Mountain fire revisited

I returned to a small wash area I visited twice earlier this summer, once about a week before the Mountain fire, and again about a week after. Some rain fell in the area in July and early August; not enough to wash the abundant ash back into the soil. Nonetheless there are many signs of recovery. Most of the chaparral shrubs are adapted to fire and showing excellent signs of recovery. No annual seedlings were present with a possible exception of these small sennas; they may also be sprouts from perennial roots, though. Hard to call. I suspect they are S. bauhinioides though S. covesii is also found in the area.

One interesting note: Aristolochia watsonii seemed positively abundant. More likely, it was just more visible due to the loss of all ground cover.

I specifically looked for this single individual Thelypodium wrightii, but there's no sign of it. It was growing within a dense copse of mixed chaparral species and not easy to get to for the photos. The copse is much easier to navigate now.

This wash area, though included within the perimeter of the 2005 Bart fire, did not burn at that time. The plants were quite mature prior to the Mountain fire.

List of chaparral perennial species showing good signs of recovery:

Amsonia palmeri
Cercocarpus montanus
Krameria erecta
Nolina microcarpa
Quercus turbinella
Rhamnus ilicifolia
Simmondsia chinensis
Tragia ramosa

Posted on August 28, 2019 01:51 AM by stevejones stevejones | 36 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment