Journal archives for October 2018

October 01, 2018

Some Statistical Reflections

On the night before the BioBlitz, I glanced at the statistics for Huddart Park. There were 216 species observed, and only three observers had recorded more than 40 species. Now, after the BioBlitz, these numbers have increased dramatically!

species - 216 before - 243 after (11% increase)

Observers with over 40 observations - 3 before - 10 after - 70% increase

We had an excellent mix of experienced iNat-ters and novices, but everyone with whom I interacted was enthusiastic and friendly. Be sure to help with IDing to the extent that you feel confident - the number of unidentified observations from the Blitz has been steadily decreasing - another good sign.

Jennifer

Posted on October 01, 2018 02:12 by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 10, 2018

The Big SIT! October 14 at Pescadero State Beach and Marsh

Dear Members of the San Mateo County Bio-Blitz project -

This Saturday, October 14, is the annual Sequoia Fun(d)-raiser, the Big SIT! at Pescadero. There will be a team of bird-watchers atop the hill here all day...and many of us (like @gyrrlfalcon , @dpom , and @leslie_flint ) are also iNaturalist addicts.

SAS 8th Annual Big Sit! and Big Ride
Sunday, October 14th, 8am - Pescadero State Beach & Marsh
The Big SIT! at Pescadero State Beach and Marsh, atop the hill overlooking the North Pond, accessed using the bridge that Sequoia helped to fund. Officially the day begins at 8:00 am – contact Jennifer Rycenga for more information for early bird birders! We go until at least 5:00, sometimes 6:00 pm. Bring layers, snacks, and a fun attitude. If you've got a scope, bring that, too. The Big SIT! is an annual celebration now for Sequoia Audubon, the birding equivalent of tail-gating, as we search for as many species as we can see from a 17.5 foot diameter circle. We've seen, on average, over 85 species each year we've done this – and created memories, found migrants, and had a wonderful time!

To make a donation, follow this web link - http://www.sequoia-audubon.org/bigsit.html

Hope to see a lot of you there!

Posted on October 10, 2018 02:56 by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 2 comments | Leave a comment

October 28, 2018

Vexations with Lichens - a year later! The case of Lepraria pacifica

In August of 2017, I wrote a journal entry about some of the difficulties for me, as a beginner, with the study of lichens. I have made some progress since then, for sure, but I am not yet utterly humiliated by my complaints back then. Here's a link to that entry - https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/gyrrlfalcon/11114-vexations-with-lichens

My primary complaint today is a simpler, more specific one. I spend a lot of my hiking and lichen-ing time in the Redwood (and mixed Redwood) forests of San Mateo county. The Coast Redwood (Sequoia semperviren) often has a greenish dust lichen on its trunk, near the base. Sharnoff says that Lepraria pacifica is one of the only lichens that will grow on the base of S. sempervirens, and this is attested, too, in the article about this species from Wikipedia by Lendemer (used in the species account here on iNaturalist - https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/345911-Lepraria-pacifica).

So here are my vexatious questions
1. IF there are other species of dust lichens that can tolerate growing on S. sempervirens, what are they?
2. IF these other species exist, what is the relative percentage/likelihood of their occurring in San Mateo county or coastal California? Lepraria is not the most heavily populated among lichen Genus, with less than fifty worldwide (https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/154184-Lepraria). Bordo lists twelve North American species, though that book adds that the genus has not been studied systematically in North America.
3. CAN L. pacifica be told from L. finkii visually in the field? AND do we know if L. finkii can and does grow on Sequoia sempervirens?
4. RELATED to that, what other crustose/squamulose lichens (either Lepraria or any look-alikes) DO adopt Sequoia sempervirens' bark as substrate?

I ask because my statistically justifiable but audacious naming of this green dust lichen on the base of a redwood tree in the midst of unrelieved redwood forest as Lepraria pacifica would constitute the FIRST San Mateo County record in iNaturalist. Since that seems an unlikely occurrence given what is written about L. pacifica's habitat preferences, I have to assume that everyone but me knows the answers to the questions above, OR knows they can't be answered, OR is afraid that there are crypto-species or unknown species out there that could throw this whole thing into doubt.

Thanks for listening! I'll tag some likely suspects in the comments section.

THANKS TO ALL who are generously sharing your lichen knowledge and cautions with me, a rank beginner 😊🌲(somewhere on this tree, there is lichen. You know it, and I know it. We await the day when there is an emoji for lichen, other than 🤯)

Posted on October 28, 2018 17:29 by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 1 observations | 12 comments | Leave a comment

October 31, 2018

Lichen metaphor in Frankenstein!

Dear Siblings in Lichen Enthusiasm -

I am reading Shelly's _Frankenstein_, coming up later in a class for which I am team-teaching. If I ever did read this book back when I was young, I have no memory of it, and am finding it both more interesting and more tedious than I thought I would. But I bolted to attention with this poetic description of knowledge (from Chapter XIII):

"Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind when it has once seized on it like a lichen on the rock."

I believe this means that Knowledge is a crustose lichen, and hence unidentifiable to species without a complete chemical kit. But I am adding this to my favorite quotes!

Posted on October 31, 2018 18:36 by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon | 6 comments | Leave a comment