Guide to California Wildflowers

Lara Hartley has set up a new Flickr group for photos of California wildflowers – it is another resource for flower identification. There is an older Flickr group, CaliFlora, of which the new group can be regarded as a subset. The required tags allow one to search for a flower whose name is unknown, based on flower color and petals, and flower family if one is able to deduce that from the plant. From the group guidelines:

A companion group to CaliFlora, but with a few more TAGGING GUILDELINES.
A group to create an online wildflower field guide of flowering plants native (or naturalized) in california. No trees or ferns.

Each flower posted must have the following tags:

___* Common Name – Of course each species has many local and common names. Please include at least the one you know it by.
___* Binomial Name – Genus species
___* Genus Name separately
___* Flower color(s) – Primary color and any variations from this list: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, brown, red, pink or white. When questionable or in doubt, add all applicable colors.
___* Flower shape(s) – Primary shape of the flower from the following list: 2petals, 3petals, 4petals, 5petals, 6petals, manypetals, longcluster, roundcluster or oddshaped
___* Family Name – the taxonomic family (usually ending in “aceae.”)
___* County.

Additionally, it will be helpful to also tag:
___*Location – general is good enough



Changing Seasons

Now that the Los Padres National Forest has re-opened, plant seed-pod and fruit photography was continued this weekend. The brilliant buckwheat display seen in the small window between National Forest closures at the beginning of October was greatly muted, and I was very happy to have seen and photographed it at that time – it was quite spectacular.

dry(In spring, this area is very colorful with Poppies, Goldfields, Mariposa Lilies, etc)

Now in late November, the vegetation appears subdued and sleepy under the slanted, weakened sunlight. However, there are still a few spots of color of still-flowering plants, and of the bright red fruit of Toyon and Big-berry Manzanita. A few insects were also photographed, as well as some very faded butterflies and one unidentified moth.

(Toyon fruit)

There were many seed pods to photograph and to try to guess from which plant they came. Surprisingly, new leaves of Shooting Stars were observed in two different places, as well as what appeared to be fresh leaves of a type of morning glory. New leaves of a currant species were seen. Yet another newly sprouted leaf was recognized but the species was not remembered.

Chocolate Lily
(Chocolate Lily pods)

As different plants start blooming, hopefully I will be able to ID some of the unidentified pods and leaves. I was able to ID the Shooting Stars pods from the new leaves, because in many cases the seed pods were still standing above the new leaves.

Shooting Stars
(New leaves of Shooting Stars, with pods from last year’s bloom)

Generally, the slideshow starts with photos of seed pods, followed by fruits, some of the still-flowering plants, and ends with some of the observed new leaves.

(Bee on still-flowering Bush Groundsel)

The vegetation appears very dry; hopefully rains will be better this season than the last rainy season, but not too much. I hope that by starting out earlier this season, I will be able to see early-blooming plants that I have missed in previous years. It is considered by some that Spring actually starts at about this time.

New leaves
(New leaves of possibly a morning glory species)

Collections – A Special Reception at CCBER

I was invited to attend and to take photos of a special reception at CCBER on Thursday, November 8, 2007. The invitation read:

“The Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration is hosting a reception to highlight recent developments at the Center including two new displays—“The John Bleck Seed Collection” and “Mirabilia Naturae” (wonders of nature), a collaborative project with CCBER, the University Art Museum, and Dr. Mark Meadow.”

The reception began at 3pm, and in addition to existing displays, there were three new featured cases, as well as new single-display panels and stand-alone boards for the reception.

(Reception entry)

John Bleck answered questions at the new “The John Bleck Seed Collection” display in the northern part of the passageway that surrounds the central area of the CCBER offices on all sides and provides lengthy walls for displays.

John Bleck
(John Bleck answering questions at the seed collection display.)

In the eastern part of the passageway, two new cases were added — one for “Mirabilia Naturae” and another featuring the life’s work of an emeritus faculty Barbara DeWolfe.

Mirabilia Naturae
(Part of the “Mirabilia Naturae” display case)

Barbara DeWolfe, 95, attended the reception, and was obviously delighted with the contents of the Barbara B. DeWolfe cabinet. Barbara DeWolfe was Professor of Zoology at UCSB from 1946-1977, and studied white-crowned sparrows amongst other species.

Barbara B DeWolfe
(Barbara DeWolfe pointing to the display about her work.)

A quote from July 7, 2000 issue of “The Chronicle” in an article titled “What the White-Crowned Sparrow’s Song Can Teach Us About Human Language” by Luis F. Baptista:

“Barbara DeWolfe, of the University of California at Santa Barbara, has shown that white-crowned sparrows from Puget Sound, in Washington State, sing very different songs from those living in Berkeley or Carmel, Calif., even though the birds from Puget Sound migrate to the San Francisco Bay area in the fall and winter and mingle with the Berkeley and Carmel sparrows there. I subsequently discovered three distinct dialects in San Francisco itself.”

Barbara B DeWolfe
(Part of the Barbara B DeWolfe exhibit )

Other displays showcased the on-line library catalog and archival work being done by Laurie Hannah, librarian, and the Campus Flora project interactive map created by Bree Belyea. To read more about the Campus Flora Project please see Volume 2 of the CCBER newsletter here. John Bleck, Greenhouse Manager at UCSB from 1978-1992, was responsible for planting the unique and diverse species that are found on the campus today.

Bree Belyea
(Bree Belyea, Manager of the Campus Flora Project, with a Google map of the campus flora distribution.)

There were many informational exhibits of the ongoing work at CCBER, including those about restoration, native plants, management of various areas on campus, Chumash heritage, interpretive signs, and specimens from some of the many CCBER collections. I tried to photograph as much as I could of both people and displays, but there were too many of the latter to do full justice to them.

Native Plants
(Native Plant interpretive sign)

Kelly Campbell
(Kelly Campbell, at right, is the graphic artist at CCBER. She is standing next to her father, Tom Campbell, and colleague Janet Myers.)

Jennifer Thorsh
(Jennifer Thorsch, Director of CCBER, is responsible for the coordination of the excellent work done by those who work at CCBER. Jennifer is seen standing between two of the new displays for Mirabilia Naturae and Barbara B DeWolfe.)

Lake Los Carneros, Oct 30-Nov4, 2007

Since my “project” to photograph fall plant colors and seeds was abruptly terminated by the closure of Los Padres National Forest, I decided instead to pursue photos of bird species that I did not have.

I had thought I had read (was mistaken) that there were Ring-necked Ducks on Lake Los Carneros, so that is where I went on October 30th. The ducks tend to keep to the middle of the lake during the day — too far away for photos, so I returned to LLC a number of times to see if they were closer at different times of the day. On each of these trips, I was surprised at the large variety and numbers of other birds, some of which I was able to photograph.

Hutton's Vireo
(Hutton’s Vireo – Lake Los Carneros – October 30, 2007)

On the first day, I thought I had captured a Ruby-crowned Kinglet – but it was in fact a Hutton’s Vireo. On all return visits, I heard the kinglet but was never able to get a photo – they seemed to be taunting me from the many coyote bushes around LLC. Nevertheless, each outing was great because of the variety of birds. It was very enjoyable birding and exercise.

(Redhead, male – Lake Los Carneros – November 02, 2007)

Among the species photographed – Ducks: Redhead, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Ruddy Duck, Wigeons, Gadwalls, Lesser (I think) Scaup – Raptors: Merlin, Kestrel, White-tailed Kite – Sparrows: Lincoln, Golden-crowned, White-crowned – and firsts-for-me: Red-breasted Sapsucker and Hutton’s Vireo.

There were many close misses – California Thrasher, Wilson’s Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Western Meadowlark, coyote (not a bird, I know, but one was seen near the east entrance), etc.

Northern Flicker
(Northern Flicker – Lake Los Carneros – November 02, 2007)

Now that “Daylight Savings” days are here, I will be birding mostly in areas closer to home – More Mesa, Atascadero Creek, Goleta Beach – although visits to East Beach and Bird Refuge over the holiday season are a must.