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Author Topic: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California  (Read 50875 times)

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2018, 06:16:22 AM »
Jacek,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share this fascinating information. In the U.S.A. we can learn a general history of Europe, however I find the details that you have shared extremely interesting. It appears, one way or another, we share many of the same conservation issues and challenges. If left alone, or sometimes with the appropriate help, nature can certainly repair itself. Ian McDonald’s diary ‘My local Patch and Wildlife’ hints at an encouraging trend that an ecosystem can return to a balanced natural state of equilibrium. Here in California, I have been documenting the detrimental environmental changes in El Dorado County for decades. Maybe (or maybe not) someday this information will be of some use to stop the misguided management of our natural heritage.

Anyway, thank you for sharing your observations in Poland.  8)
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2018, 12:03:47 AM »


The first of a series of storms with average snow levels arrived Thursday.



It was the first good storm with an average low snow level since 27 November 2017.



On the crest of Peavine Ridge there was 6.5 cm of snow. This is not much, but at least it is a start. The temperature was 35 F, 1.7 C, at 1:45 p.m. This is the first cool daytime temperature on Peavine Ridge since 27 November. For many days I recorded temperatures of 17 C + or - during the afternoon at this site.

I'm a bit busy right now, however I have an outing planned for the coming week, weather permitting.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #32 on: January 25, 2018, 02:15:37 PM »
Unfortunately, I will not have a botanical outing this week.  :'(

I have new project(s) with the U.S. Weather Service and will be busy getting started with this. I will have an outing the following Thursday.  :)  8)

Until then.........
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2018, 03:27:15 PM »
Arturo,

A month or so ago, you ask a question about ambient relative humidity in our part of California. I now have some preliminary quantitative data from some of my remote observation sites on Peavine Ridge and other remote high elevation sites in El Dorado County (Sierra Nevada Mountains).

The data from the crest of Peavine Ridge, 5,146 feet (1,569 meters) is interesting. Over the period from late November 2017 to late January 2018 there have been large swings in the daytime (1:30 p.m. < > 30 minutes) relative humidity. Some readings have been as low as 18% and as high as 92%. To date, there has been a direct correlation between snow cover and relative humidity. On days with no cloud cover and snow cover the relative humidity has generally been in the “teens”.

In addition, I strongly suspect that there have been large swings between the nighttime low temperatures and the daytime high temperatures when the nighttime skies have been clear. As expected, without snow cover dew points have been low, in the 17 F to 20 F range (-8.3 C to 6.7 C). This would also suggest a great deal of radiant nighttime cooling. Soon I will have more instrumental data from this site which will included 24 hour high and low temperatures and other information.

35 years ago, generally there was a consistent snow cover on the crest of Peavine Ridge during the winter. Now snow levels are generally higher and there is no longer a consistent wintertime snow cover on the crest of Peavine Ridge. This was true even during last year’s high precipitation event. Now I am in a position to quantify this data. How climatic change is, or may be, impacting the flora on Peavine Ridge will be interesting to study. Clearly many small plants are now often exposed to low relative humidity, desiccating winds while the soil remains frozen and there is no snow cover. This is an extremely long-term project, but please stay tuned…..

My next outing will be on Thursday 1 February rain or shine. I already have some fascinating sites to visit.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2018, 02:16:20 PM »


The weather was clear and very warm yesterday. I had a interesting outing yesterday. Despite a busy schedule, I was able to visit two sites. I will be reporting on my findings soon.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 06:47:15 PM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2018, 06:43:26 PM »
This year I will be adding a few new features to my botanical diary. First, to help readers better understand the climatic conditions of our region in Northern California I will post a monthly weather roundup of our Placerville farm and Sacramento home.

Currently, I am also summarizing my botanical and natural history data from specific areas and sites in a list format. At this time, I am uncertain how this information will be accessed. Each list will be a work in progress. Even after decades of surveys, I still occasionally find something new to a site. I currently have a partial, incomplete listing for the Gerle Creek area of El Dorado County, California. It is in a spreadsheet format. If anyone is interested in viewing this incomplete list, PM me and I can arrange to have it e-mailed to you or direct you to a web site where it is currently posted.

WEATHER ROUNDUP
January 2018
Placerville, California

Placerville farm, elevation 1,460 feet (445 meters).

Average temperatures for January:
High 54.98 F (12.77 C)
Low 34.87 F (1.59 C)
Average 44.87 F (7.15 C)
Average precipitation for January
5.87 inches (149 mm)

The average temperatures for January 2018:
High 58.77 F (14.87 C)
Low 38.48 F (3.60 C)
Average 48.63 F (8.13 C), this is 3.76 F (2.09 C) above average.
The precipitation total for January 2018:
5.98 inches (152 mm), this is 0.11 inches (2.7 mm) above average.

Extremes for January:
Temperature
High 76 F (24.4 C) set on 30th 1984
Low 15 F (-9.4 C) set on 13nd 2007
Precipitation:
Monthly maximum 18.22 inches (463 mm) set in 1997
Monthly minimum a Trace set in 2015

The following new daily record high temperatures were set:
70 F (21.1 C) on the 1st, the old record was 66 F (18.9 C) set in 2001.
The following record high, low temperatures were set:
46 F (7.8 C) on the 4th, tied the old record in 2007
52 F (11.1 C) on the 5th, the old record was 50 F (10 C) set in 1986
49 F (9.4 C) on the 6th, the old record was 47 F (8.3 C) set in 2002
50 F ( 10 C) on the 9th, tied the record in 1995.

WEATHER ROUNDUP
January 2018
Sacramento, California

Our Land Park, Sacramento home, elevation 23 feet (7 meters).

Average temperatures for January:
High 57.68 F (14.27 C)
Low 39.97 F (4.43 C)
Average 48.83 F (9.35 C)
Average precipitation for January:
3.07 inches (78 mm).

The average temperatures for January 2018:
High 58.45 F (9.14 C)
Low 43.81 F (6.56 C)
Average 51.13 F (10.63 C), this is 2.30 F (1.28 C) above average
The precipitation total for January 2018:
5.54 inches (141 mm), this is 2.47 inches (63 mm) above average.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 06:47:43 PM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2018, 07:23:05 AM »
PEAVINE RIDGE
&
KANAKA VALLEY

El Dorado County, California

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Sacramento Weather
Weather: High Clouds
Temperature, High: 69 F, 20.6 C
                       Low: 44 F, 6.7 C
Precipitation: To date: 8.13 inches (207 mm), average to date: 10.37 inches (263 mm). The current precipitation stands at 78% of average to date.

Placerville Weather
Weather: High Clouds
Temperature, High: 69 F, 20.6 C
                       Low: 42 F, 5.6 C
Precipitation: To date: 14.05 inches (357 mm), average to date: 18.63 inches (473 mm). The current precipitation stands at 75% of average to date.




I awoke early on Thursday, 1 February, anxious to leave on my next outing. It had been a bit over a month since I had last been out for a full day. January was a rainy month in Northern California with two relatively cold storms arriving on the 19th and 25th. The storms dropped some much needed snow to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Some of the snow fell as low as 3,275 feet (998 meters) at Riverton on the South Fork of the American River. Unfortunately, the weather quickly changed. Within 5 days temperatures quickly rose to record or near record levels and have remained this way to the present.



I arrived on the crest of Peavine Ridge, 5,146 feet (1,569 meters), at 8:00 a.m. The temperature was very mild for the 1st of February 44 F (6.7 C). A cloud deck of cirrostratus and broken altocumulus was moving through the area. At times the sun formed a halo as it shined through the cirrostratus.



I first set off down the sunny south facing side of the ridge. There was, more or less, no snow on the ground. The crest of Peavine Ridge is capped with a layer of ancient andesite. In many places the soil is shallow and supports the growth of Manzanita scrub and a few trees such as this beautiful specimen of Canyon Live Oak, Quercus chrysolepis (pictured).

I was hoping to find the emerging new growth of Primula (Dodecatheon) hendersonii. The population of this species on Peavine Ridge is very interesting and I have never full surveyed the extent of its range on the ridge.



Indian Dream, Aspidotis densa, is seen frequently among the andesite rocks and boulders on Peavine Ridge.



Most of the ferns were still fairly dormant, however with this stretch of warm weather a few were coming into active growth.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #37 on: February 06, 2018, 07:26:02 AM »


The andesite boulders are covered with many species of lichen on the sunny south slope of Peavine Ridge. Rhizocarpon sp. (yellow), Umbilicaria hyperborea (dark brown), Lecanora mellea (lighter brown), and Candelariella rosulans (dark yellow) can be seen on this rock.



This is not the best photograph, however one can see the open, rocky, arid terrain on the upper portion of the ridge.



Many native annuals had sprouted earlier in the season and now with warm weather were in active growth. The seedlings of Lupinus stiversii, Harlequin Lupine, (pictured) were easy to spot as I hiked among the andesite rubble.



At one point there was a nice vista to the southwest. Far in the distance Mount Diablo can be seen, the summit rising above the inversion layer. The curved tip of the dead snag in the center of photograph points to the summit of Mount Diablo (very faint!).



Arctostaphylos (Manzanita) was the dominant shrubby species at this site. There were a few specimens of Ceanthus cuneatus var. cuneatus in this area. This is the high elevation limit of this species in this portion of California. At lower elevations on the ridge this species is very common.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2018, 07:29:00 AM »


Three species of Manzanita are commonly seen on this portion of Peavine Ridge. Greenleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos patula (pictured), is commonly seen growing with Whiteleaf Manzanita, Acrtostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida and Indian Manzanita, Arctostaphylos mewukka ssp. mewukka. At this site many Greenleaf Manzanita and Indian Manzanita were in bloom.



In addition, there were intermediate forms that appeared they could possibly be Arctostaphylos patula x A. muwukka ssp. mewukka hybrids. Another possibility is that they could just represent genetic variability within Arctostaphylos mewukka ssp. mewukka.



One way I can analyze the questionable Manzanitas is by propagating, asexually by cuttings, samples of the plants in question. There are a number of ways, at home, I can study the specimens and perhaps come to a better understanding of their disposition.



On the right are two samples of Arctostaphylos mewukka ssp. mewukka; on the left are two samples of one of the plants in question.



Here the differences in foliage can be seen in more detail. On the left is the typical glaucous-gray Arctostaphylos mewukka ssp. mewukka; on the right is a sample of a plant in question. In addition to leaf characteristics, other characteristics need to be examined closely and taken into consideration before a clear (er) determination can be made. If I can get access to a good microscope a count of the chromosomes would be extremely helpful. If the plants in question turned out to be triploid, this would be highly suggestive of an Arctostaphylos patula x A. mewukka ssp. mewukka hybrid, however in another scenario a diploid plant could still be a hybrid. Fun stuff to consider!
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2018, 07:31:49 AM »


After spending some time wander around the open slopes, I moved back up to the crest of the ridge into a grove of conifers, mostly Jeffrey Pine, Pinus jeffreyi. Here I found a small colony of Pyrola picta with its beautifully veined foliage.



Here too I found mats of Ceanothus prostratus creeping along the forest floor.



As I hiked back to the Outback, I stopped at one of my snow survey sites on Peavine Ridge. There was 13 cm (5 inches) of snow at this site, the most I have measured at this site this year. At another nearby site on a north-facing slope there was 23 cm (9 inches) of snow. Historically for this portion of Peavine Ridge, these snow amounts are extremely low for this time of year.



I was not ready to leave Peavine Ridge, so I drove down the road to the dirt track that leads to Chicken Hawk Spring. From here, I hiked through the snow down the gentle north-facing slope to spring. Most of the area in the vicinity of the spring was covered with wet sloppy snow. The creek exiting the spring was free of snow. Mountain Alder, Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia densely line the watercourse.



Many interesting plant species grow in the vicinity of Chicken Hawk Spring. Most where well covered with snow, however I was able to find a few Asarum lemmonii poking through the snow.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #40 on: February 06, 2018, 07:34:34 AM »


In another location I found a colony of Cladonia lichen growing on an old fallen log.



The snow covered most of the plants around Chicken Hawk Spring, so I hiked back to the main road to check on another site. Here there is fantastic panorama view of the Crystal Range. Unfortunately, much mechanical underbrush clearing had taken place (see earlier report). It was very depressing examining the destruction closely now that the heavy machinery had been removed from the area. I did find one small area that had not been torn-up by the machines.



Here I found Calyptridium monospermum and other small plants growing among the andesite boulders.



Here Whiteleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida grew in scattered stands with a few remaining Greenleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos patula, that escaped the hacking at the forest edge.



Although both Acrtostaphylos patula and A. mewukka ssp. mewukka were found in bloom in the areas where I hiked, I did not find any Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida in bloom.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2018, 07:37:20 AM »


Sanicula tuberosa is an early blooming species that is quite common in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada. These were growing safely among the andesite boulders, were the machines did not dare travel.



It was now 12:15 p.m. and I needed to leave the area to conduct some business in Placerville. The temperature was already a balmy 64 F (17.8 C)!



After conducting my business in Placerville there was still plenty of time to check another site. I ended up at Kanaka Valley, elevation 1,009 feet (308 meters). Here I was hoping to find a route to Sweetwater Creek and maybe find the relic population of Rhododendron occidentale that was cataloged from this area back in the early 1900’s. Much of Sweetwater Creek is within private property and access is extremely limited at best. Back in the 1970’s the attitude of absentee landowners was very different. During this period of time, Sweetwater Creek was one of my favorite sites for botanical outings. Many interesting species grow in the area. I have not been able to visit Sweetwater Creek for 40 years, and I would be overjoyed to find access to the small portion of the creek that is within public lands.



I set off on a promising route hoping for the best. Here in the lower foothills of the Sierra Nevada many species are well advanced in growth, especially with the warm temperatures. Chlorogalum pomeridianum was one of many geophytes seen along my route.



Ranunculus occidentalis var. occidentalis comes into growth very quickly after the autumn rains soak the ground. They are also among the first to come into bloom.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2018, 07:40:17 AM »


The route I picked quickly entered a dense chaparral of Chamise, Adenostoma fasciculatum (pictured) and Whiteleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp. viscida.



Here the Whiteleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos viscida ssp.viscida, was blooming profusely. Most of the Manzanitas bloomed with flowers in shades of pink.



Occasionally I spotted a Manzanita with white or near white flowers.



Chaparral Honeysuckle, Lonicera interrupta, was one of many chaparral species in active growth.



The chaparral was extremely dense and tall, however occasionally I had a good view of the surrounding countryside. Here I had a nice peek of Hill Pine, another site with many interesting, endemic, and rare plant species.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2018, 07:42:15 AM »


Lepechinia calycina has very aromatic foliage. Its pleasant fragrance is a pure delight on warm days or after a rain.



The route slowly deteriorated to the point where, to make progress, I found myself crawling under the dense chaparral growth on my hands and knees. I eventually reached a wall of impenetrable branches and had to retreat from my current course.



I was getting late now, and I was disappointing having to return to the Outback without finding a route to Sweetwater Creek.

All was not lost! In this photograph one can see the variation of foliage in Salvia sonomensis. The silvery plant was interesting and I took some cuttings home to root and compare with other forms of this species I grow at the Placerville farm.

I also made quick time back toward the Outback and found another trail in the direction of Sweetwater Creek. I followed it for some distance before it was necessary to turn back. I am highly optimistic that this route will lead me to Sweetwater Creek.

I was pure pleasure to be out in the field again. Once again, in my mind, I had another high successful outing. Now to plan my next trip.

Until next time……
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: 2018 - Robert's botantical adventures in Northern California
« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2018, 02:42:17 PM »


I returned to Peavine Ridge yesterday, 5 February 2018 to do a snow survey and gather meteorological data. On 1 February there was 13 cm (5 inches) of snow at this site. On 5 February I measured only 3.5 cm (1.5 inches) of snow (pictured). The temperatures had cooled only slightly. It was a balmy 63 F (17.2 C) at 1:15 p.m. versus 64 F (17.8 C) at 12:15 p.m. on 1 February. Conditions were also dry. The relative humidity was 29% at 1:15 p.m. An inside slider is forecast to move east of our region today. This will produce breezy north winds, which will dry the air even more.

Yesterday, I also had a big surprise. I sighted the first flight of a Fritillary for this season. It may have been an Atlantis Fritillary, however I was not able to approach the butterfly close enough to make a positive identification.

Birds seen on my 1 February outing:
Wrentit, Chamaea fasciata
Cassin’s Finch, Carpodacus cassinii
Common Raven, Corvus corax
American Robin, Turdus migratorius
Hairy Woodpecker, Picoides villosus
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

 


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