Camino Cielo, June 16 and 24

Do fire-followers only follow fires?

I frequently visit Marc Kummel’s “Fotolog” website because of the interesting photos he posts of flora and fauna of mostly East Camino Cielo, but also West Camino Cielo. Not only are the photos wonderful and very close-up, but the commentary provided with the photos is informative. After seeing photos of Yellow-throated Phacelia, Large-flowered Phacelia and Scarlet Larkspur on his site, I went to East Camino Cielo on June 16 to look for these plants. I was unsuccessful, but did find a new-to-me Monardella, and many butterflies both on East and West Camino Cielo.

(Rural Skipper on Monardella hypoleuca, East Camino Cielo)

Sometime later, I e-mailed Marc to ask for directions; he replied a few days later inviting me to a “Flower Walk” with him and his wife Julie. Marc knows the area well, and is also documenting what is happening after certain areas have been — “masticated” by an enormous TimbCo T425 “Hydro-shredder” machine — quote from Marc’s Fotolog. He has observed that some fire followers are growing in the shredded area.

(Area cleared for firebreak, along East Camino Cielo at Painted Cave turnoff)

Shown below, a selection of some of the better photos captured on the walk – which was also a learning experience. More can be seen in the slideshow (since deleted). Most kindly, Marc typed up a list of notable plant names with both common and scientific name and gave them to me, in addition to the id of two additional plants via e-mail. Thanks, Marc.

Mountain Mahogany Hairstreak
(Mountain-Mahogany Hairstreak on Toyon, East Camino Cielo)

Scarlet Larkspur
(Scarlet Larkspur, East Camino Cielo)

Yellow-throated Phacelia
(Yellow-throated Phacelia, East Camino Cielo)

Humboldt Lily
(Humboldt Lily, West Camino Cielo. Julie Kummel said
“they are rare this year because of a natural insect or fungus
that attacks the flower buds every few years”)

A few of better photos taken on the plant hunt June 16th, on both East and West Camino Cielo.

(Fleabane, East Camino Cielo, Erigeron foliosus (var. foliosus?) –
where they are profuse this year)

Great Basin Sartyr
(Great Basin Satyr, East Camino Cielo)

Funereal Duskwing
(Funereal Duskywing, West Camino Cielo)

California Hairstreak
(California Hairstreak, West Camino Cielo)

Spring Azure
(Spring Azure, West Camino Cielo)

Thanks very much to Nick Lethaby, a poster at Santa Barbara County Birding Yahoo group, for butterfly ids from Camino Cielo butterflies, from the Tunnel Road walk, and Morro Bay Butterflies (posts to come).