Week 17 in the PerpJo. There’s a lovely orange/red specimen of bush monkey flower growing in Legacy Park. I first assumed it was scarlet monkey flower but that has quite different leaves, and simpler flowers. I’m confused about the Latin names of the various species. Some sites say that Mimulus changed to Diplacus. Some sites say the reverse. Regardless, the various monkey flowers are important butterfly host plants and a nectar source for hummingbirds.
Month: April 2023
Once a year, the docents from Topanga Canyon and Malibu Creek get together for a weekend of camping, learning, and socialising. And here we are, at the 37th Field Ecology Weekend, beside the meadow* in Malibu Creek State Park.
*Location of ‘the hunt’ in the original Planet of the Apes movie.
I’ve been thinking about salties since reading a disturbing news article yesterday. Then I discovered that if you search for ‘headless crocodile’ on abc.net.au, there are articles on the subject going back to 2006 … so I guess it‘s a thing that trophy hunters do, even though the species has been protected since 1970 😖.
going to seed
“More fresh veggies than you can eat” is a good problem to have. Better than the opposite, that’s for sure. Despite our valiant efforts to eat a basketful of greens every day, they’re bolting.
Our friends Lola and Lynne have a Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) which they inherited from their neighbour. The species is native to the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It is the official state reptile in California and Nevada.
G. agassizii lives for 50 to 80 years. Stallone is in his mid-twenties, healthy and strong. I hung out with him on their back lawn today while he munched on rose petals, his favourite snack.
crimson soup for lunch
Fresh from the garden: a nice fat beet with glossy, full leaves. Coming up: Crimson Soup for lunch. Mm-mmm.
I had time for a very quick sketch between watering baby oak trees and opening the Visitor Center at noon. I love that huge sycamore. It has multiple bee hives in its hollows, as well as several acorn granaries. It’s a generous tree.
fostering plant love
We kicked off the 2023 Junior Ranger program at Malibu Creek State Park today, with my session on plants. We had 23 kids in our target age group (7 to 12 yrs old) plus another 40-odd parents + older/younger kids. Many questions were asked. Many leaves were fondled. I think we all enjoyed ourselves—I know I did!
One enthusiastic young miss informed me that she wants to be a veterinarian. And because she loves animals, she also loves plants, because animals need plants. And we humans need both animals and plants. We are all connected. Yes, wise one, we are.
I’m not a big fan of gophers, given the subterranean damage they wreak, but I’ve learned to live with them, and even save their lives on occasion.
I was thrilled to see my first horned lizard on this morning’s hike with Vic and Annette. Huge kudos to A. for spotting this guy in the shadows. The Blainville’s Horned Lizard is a flat-bodied lizard with a wide oval-shaped body. Adults can vary in length from 2.5-4.5 inches / 6.3-11.4 cm (snout to vent) and have enlarged pointed scales scattered on the upper body and tail, and a large crown of horns on the head. Their biggest claim to fame is that they can squirt an aimed stream of blood from the corners of the eyes for a distance up to 5 ft / 1.5 m.
We also spotted a pair of side-blotched lizard having a cuddle in the middle of the trail. Ah, spring!