Rancho weekend

by

Sunday, 19 April 2015

All this pulling weeds puts stress on my arm, which eventually makes it sore. Lateral epicondylitis, says the doctor, more commonly known as tennis elbow. Slow to heal, and not good to continue to stress it. So I begged off the Saturday broom attack volunteer project. But the purple star thistle at Rancho San Antonio may (or may not) still be young enough to be worth going after. And maybe I can do that left-handed. Worth a try.

Six hours later, I had destroyed roughly 42 thousand thistle plants. Or at least it seemed like that. My tank of enthusiasm was empty for the day.

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And the wildlife highlight of the day was finding a tiny mantis in the debris (the white thing, head-down in the center of the picture). I would have just trashed the picture, but I rather liked the wild modernistic abstract art feel of it.

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The other thing I saw was a couple of jackrabbits, one of them returning to the wild after a visit to this pond. Not a whole lot of water around here, and I imagine there is quite a bit of traffic when the people aren’t around.

Oh, and a wild turkey also came out of the woods twenty feet in front of me, as close as I have ever been. It walked unconcernedly across the trail and off into the grasslands to see what was going on there.

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And there are these little puffy balls on the trail here and there.

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Close-up makes them look like tiny cabbages. No idea what they really are. [Follow-up: Tom C tells me they are woolly marbles.]

Sunday, I went back to Rancho, but just for a hike. Usual sort of thing, about 15 miles, 3400 vertical feet.

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A meadow full of owls clover. Nice!

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Why the name? Because the little faces look like, well, something. Maybe owls?

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What I hadn’t noticed before was the little balls above the owls’ heads. At first, I thought those were dewdrops, but clearly they are part of the plant. I think they are the pistils of the flowers.

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And these have to be aphids, but the largest I have ever seen. A good half-centimeter.

Update: Bug Guide says these are katydids, but clearly nymphs. I see no sign of wings, not even budding wings, much less developed wings that would give them the characteristic longer shape I think of as a katydid.

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I consider this photo to be reasonably artistic, but also notice the butterfly’s coiled-up hose and nozzle. (click to zoom)

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Globe lanterns

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Some of the yellow daisy-kind of flowers didn’t have outstanding stamens, but the pollen on these is quite obvious. [Follow-up: Tom C says they are smooth hawksbeard. According to Google, this is considered invasive in some places, and has not previously been reported in Santa Clara county.]

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What could be more innocent than a little yellow bowl? [Follow-up: Tom C says it’s a mariposa lilly.]

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With, of course, guests, dining on the goodies.

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And guests, once removed, dining on the diners.

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I have seen yellow crab spiders in these flowers, also in California poppies, but I don’t recall white.

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What I especially like about this picture, in addition to the spider’s textured body, is the way its eye bugs out.

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More wildflowers. [Tom C says this is the fruit of the lomatium.]

The season is really in full swing here. Lots of variety, enthusiasm everywhere.

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This bush would not necessarily be that impressive in its own right, except that it is the only one anywhere near here. Don’t know what it is, but it certainly stands out amidst its neighbors. [Follow-up: Tom C says it’s a bush mallow.]

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[Follow-up: Tom C says these are Wind Poppies.]

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Spring, indeed, and all of us enjoying it to the max.

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8 Responses to “Rancho weekend”

  1. jackylene Says:

    Fantastic flowers.

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  2. Tom Cochrane Says:

    Dave, the cabbale looking plants are called Wooly Marbles. The yellow flowers are likely Smooth hawksbeard. The one below the Yellow mariposa lilies is of Fruit of a plant called Lomatium. Orange ones are Wind Poppies. The pink flowering bush is Bush Mallow. Where did you find it? Was it along the Chamise trail?

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    • 86dave Says:

      Thanks, Tom. Chamise trail, indeed. Big enough that it has clearly been here for a while, but there was only one.

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      • Tom Cochrane Says:

        yeah, I found it at that spot last year. it was about 2 ft tall then. I see it has gained maybe a foot? I found another one further up on the steep part, about a foot tall, but it had been heavily eaten by deer and I could not refind it a few weeks later

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      • 86dave Says:

        Might even be 2 feet! Pretty good size now.

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  3. D Says:

    Yeah for Tom C! Well, the photos are great, too, Dave…

    Like

  4. tom Cochrane Says:

    Hey Dave where did you see all that owls clover?
    What tool did you use on the purple star?

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    • 86dave Says:

      Owls clover near the top of Black Mt road.

      Chisel blade on thistle, trying to get at least a little way below the surface, but as you know, the ground is getting hard, so it’s hard to go very deep.

      Like

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