California Biodiversity “Day” in the Wilderness Park

Thanks to everyone who participated in California Biodiversity Day at the Wilderness Park on September 11, and thanks to the Park Rangers, who set up their canopy for us! During the official California Biodiversity Days, Sept. 4 – 12, seventeen new observations were reported to our iNaturalist project, including 14 taxa, of which 11 were identified to species.

Here are a few that were observed:

Telegraph Weed (Heterotheca grandiflora)

Telegraph Weed growing up Johnson’s Pasture Road on the “loop”. © Peri Lee · some rights reserved
Telegraph Weed – flower detail. © Peri Lee · some rights reserved

Telegraph Weed was the species most commonly reported in the Park during California Biodiversity Days. Its bright yellow flowers on tall stems (sometimes more than 5 ft) are a common sight in the Park in late summer and fall. It is a pioneer native species, growing along roadsides and in other disturbed sites.

The origin of the common name is hazy. Some think it’s because the tall, slim stalks stick up like telegraph poles. Others have suggested it’s because it readily colonized the areas disturbed by telegraph pole installation.

Threadleaf Groundsel (Senecio flaccidus)

Threadleaf Groundsel next to Palmer-Evey Mountainway. © travisbbotany · some rights reserved

Another late summer and fall bloomer, Threadleaf Groundsel’s bright yellow daisy-like flowers rise about the mass of pale gray-green threadlike leaves that give the shrub its common name. Many different bees like to visit Threadleaf Groundsel.

Small Carpenter Bee (Ceratina sp.)

A Small Carpenter Bee on California Aster (Corethrogyne filaginifolia) next to the Cobal Canyon Trail.
© Nancy Hamlett · some rights reserved

Small Carpenter Bees are related to the large carpenter bees you may have seen around your house, but they are much too small to be able to bore into wood to make their nests; instead they make their nests in the pithy stems of plants.

Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides)

A Woodland Skipper nectaring on Cliff Aster (Malacothrix saxatilis) next to the Cobal Canyon Trail.
© Nancy Hamlett · some rights reserved

Woodland Skippers are common in chaparral in the late summer and fall. The larval host plants are grasses, but the adults nectar on a wide variety of plants.

You can see all of the Biodiversity Day observations here.

California Biodiversity Day at the Wilderness Park

Thanks to everyone who participated in California Biodiversity Day at the Wilderness Park, and especially the Rangers, who set it all up!  On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7 and 8, forty-eight new observations were reported to our iNaturalist project.  Thirty-seven different species were reported, including 13 species not previously reported to iNaturalist for the Park.  Here are a few of our favorites.  The ones with * are new species for our iNaturalist project.

*Lorquin’s Admiral (Limenitis lorquini):
Limenitis_lorquini-090819-5389The Lorquin’s Admiral is thought to be a Batesian mimic of the California Sister, which is reportedly much less palatable to predators.

Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides) nectaring on *Douglas’s Threadleaf Ragwort (Senecio flaccidus var. douglasii):Ochlodes_sylvanoides-090819-5517The Woodland Skippers were all over Evey Canyon on Sunday.  Douglas’s Threadleaf Ragwort blooms later than most and attracts a lot of bees and butterflies in late summer and early fall.

A robber fly (*Stenopogon sp.) with a *Western Yellowjacket (Vespula pensylvanica) prey:Robber_fly-090819-5435This was a two-fer!  Both the Stenopogon robber fly and the Western Yellowjacket were new additions to our project. Isn’t the robber fly a fearsome-looking creature?

A long-horned beetle (*Tragidion annulatum):Tragidion_annulatum-090819-5486With its blue iridescent body and coppery elytra, this large, colorful beetle is an amazing tarantula hawk mimic.

*Genista Broom Moth (Uresiphita reversalis) caterpillar on Spanish Broom (Spartium junceum):Uresiphita_reversalis-090819-5573There were quite a few of these on the broom in Evey Canyon – four on this plant alone. Who knew there was a moth that used broom as a host plant?  We say, “Go caterpillars!  Eat broom!”

If you made observations in the Park but didn’t report them, don’t worry!  You can submit them any time, and they will still be counted both for the Park and for the statewide California Biodiversity Day project.

Some Saturday sightings

Mouse over images to see captions; click on image to see full size.

It was a hot day (96°F) in the Wilderness Park Saturday, and along the Cobal Canyon trail animals as well as hikers were seeking refuge from the heat. A couple of mule deer were lying quietly in the shade of the oak trees, and a large Southern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri) disappeared into a cool spot under a large fallen log converted into a bench. (We didn’t get a photo of the snake – we were too busy getting up off the bench – but you can see a similar one here.)

We also noticed red trumpets of California Fuchsia. (Epilobium canum subsp. canum) – a favorite fall flower – blooming on the slopes next to the trail and a Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides) nectaring on another fall flower – California Aster (Corethrogyne filaginifolia).