Changes over time: Informal phenological studies

I first noticed the changes in biology over time in Cabo Pulmo, Baja California Sur, MX. New to the area and living by the coast, I noticed the changes in the flora and fauna that seemed to have cycles of 2-3 weeks. Roughly, after a cycle of one butterfly coming though to pollinate a specific flower, both the flower and pollinator would fade out and give way to a new one.

Green Desert Iguana juveniles would appear then vanish somewhere but then white adults would appear a short time later. Other lizards and different patterns. There are 11 endemic and other local reptiles, many of them threatened, vulnerable or endangered.

I asked a local when he thought the Humpback Whales would stop swimming by since I liked to kayak out to them. He said in two weeks. Having lived there many years he knows the cycles. Sure enough, in two weeks, no more Humpbacks.

When I moved to the Sierra la Laguna cape mountain range, the extra amount of seasonal rain and isolated, island-like habitats provided their own changes over time, also subtle but clearly noticed to the aware observer. Baja California Rock Lizards suddenly appeared, one day, like magic. Black-tailed Jackrabbits popped out but then vanished.

In Todos Santos at the La Poza estuary, winter migrators would appear, although here they would stay longer because of the ample food supplies given life by the restored water supply. From Magnificent Frigatebirds to Xantus's Hummingbirds, the coastal dunes and estuary provide a seasonal banquet. This hummingbird is one of 6 endemic bird species here in Baja.

As I continue to document these changes in iNaturalist, I am amazed by the wide variety of habitats, including coastal highlands through coastal lowlands, desert sage brush, deciduous forests, arid deserts through semi-arid tropical deserts, and after it rains, tropic jungle-like plants.

Bill Levine, Todos Santos, 2019

Posted by blevine blevine, August 14, 2019 14:21

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