|Wolf's milk - actually not a fungus or a Hostess pastry - a fact I learned while browsing iNaturalist|
A bioblitz is an event where animal and plant species are identified in a specific location over a short period of time. The eyes and ears of students and citizens are led by scientists to cover as much area in the park as possible and to confirm identifications. The inventory is useful to understand the park's ecology but it is also a great way for everyone to experience the biological richness of our public lands and the techniques of scientific inventory.
|The motto of the Golden Gates National Parks Conservancy, the nonprofit partner of the Golden Gates National Parks.|
80,000 acres for all forever - that's a darn powerful and inspiring message.
iNaturalist as the primary tool to report the sightings and congregate the data. iNaturalist is an online forum for sharing observations of plants and animals anywhere on the earth. It's easy to report sightings via your cell phone while you are in the field and include photos, and the iNaturalist website has many links to learn more about species and get identification help from the iNat community.
|This buckeye from the same location on Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve shows long parallel scrape marks and you can imagine the animal grasping and turning the seed as it ate. The size and shape of the scat found around the chewed buckeyes plus the location of a nearby stick nest indicate that a dusky-footed woodrat is gnawing on these buckeye seeds.|
|Sierran treefrog eggs, another type of animal sign that has been fun to share on iNaturalist. This pond on Monte Bello Open Space Preserve was dry but started filling up after a long drought period and within a week was quickly occupied by California newts, rough-skinned newts and Sierran treefrogs. There were thousands of treefrog eggs along the edge of the new pond, many being feasted on by hungry newts after their long drought-imposed sentence underground. A pencil-size Santa Cruz gartersnake was trying to swallow a treefrog. I expect we will see many wildlife interactions in this spring bioblitz along California's ecologically rich coast.|
Monte Bello Open Space Preserve a few weeks ago, I noticed a cluster of tiny pink globes on a fallen trunk. They were pretty and I didn't remember seeing them before. Heck, after all these drought conditions, it was great to not only see some mushrooms but also such delicate pink ones. I took a photo and five hours later when I walked out of that creek a wee bit cold and exhausted, I forgot about the pink dots.
|Wolf's milk is the aethalia or fruiting body of a plasmodial slime mold described as being a bag of cytoplasm and thousands of nuclei within a single cellular wall.|
|A California ground squirrel in Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve. Easily identified by the whitish fur on its shoulder and also the fact that it just popped out of the mounded hole in the ground.|
|Skull found near the slime mold log. The teeth pattern and shape of skull suggest this is a raccoon. This was confirmed by herptracker, a naturalist on iNat. A few days later while working on bioblitz logistics with a National Parks colleague, she mentioned a skull she found which likewise turned out to be a raccoon. Her iNat observation has a photo of the bottom jaw. This exercise also helped me respond to a comment on a previous Dipper Ranch post and correct an ID to also be a raccoon skull.|
|Thousands of convergent lady beetles taking a break on a warm winter day. I've just walked you through 3 mammals, 1 amphibian, 1 insect, 1 plant, 1 fungus, and 1 amoeba I've observed in coastal California in the last seven weeks and reported on iNaturalist. Imagine the possibilities at the GOGA bioblitz with many more people, acres and in the middle of spring.|
Wolf's milk, Lycogala epidendrum
California buckeye, Aesculus californica
Dusky-footed woodrat, Neotoma fuscipes
Sierran treefrog, Pseudacris sierra
California newt, Taricha torosa torosa
Rough-skinned newt, Taricha granulosa
Santa Crux gartersnake, Thamnophis atratus atratus
Turkey tail, Trametes versicolor . . . or
False turkey tail, Stereum hirsutum (see discussion in comments below)
California ground squirrel, Spermophilus beecheyi
Convergent lady beetle, Hippodamia convergens
Hunting Slime Molds, Adele Conover, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2001.