Sunday, May 21, 2017

Take a Break

Chorro Creek bog thistle on a reserve on the Calpoly-SLO campus.   
I'm on crutches and have one foot encased in a boot brace for a few weeks. Not the best situation for a field biologist. Fortunately, I just finished a fine series of spring hikes.

We did an April bioblitz on a coastal prairie in rural San Mateo County. From sunrise to sunset, thirty  biologists combed a 900-acre grassy ranch with ponds, streams, and brush patches. On that one property on one day, we recorded 1290 observations on iNaturalist consisting of 326 plant and animal species. We already knew that some of the ponds supported California red-legged frogs, a threatened species, and I was fairly certain I had spotted the rare artist's popcornflower on the property in previous years, but the bioblitz gave us a better idea of where they occur.

Artist's popcornflower is quite a name. The easterly team reported seeing its tiny white flowers filling swales and I was a bit jealous I didn't get to see the large sweeps of it this wet spring. However, the expert botanists I sent to that side of the property confirmed the tentative identification I had made from scrawny plants in the previous drought years. My west-side team had a view of ocean cliffs and we saw interesting coastal residents too.