Hello and happy Summer!
I am pleased to say that we finally had enough time and volunteers to get all six sites this round of data collection. On 6/15, Dr.Villablanca, Salvador and I made the first successful visit to the Davy Brown Sites and Nira site. on 6/16, Kiana and I took on the Red Rock sites and Upper Oso. Here are some of the highlights form the trips:
At the DBR site, though well spaced , there were well over 100 plants. One thing we made note of fairly often here, were the presence of these blue iridecent beetles that were found either mating or just hanging out in the milkweed.
Additionally, Most of the plants at the Nira site hat that grey spotting of an infection or disease of some sort. I forgot to take a picture but this is a picture I took from a previous visit of whatbI believe is the same disease. I noticed when you tapped an infected leaf it looked like dust was falling off the grey spots.
Thursday was the day when Kiana and I took on both the Upper Oso site and the Red Rock sites. I am used to having three people in order to get done at a decent time, but luckily Kiana has come out with me before, so we were back into the rhythm of things in no time.
Upper oso is unsurprisingly on it’s way out. We found only a few eggs. Most pods we found were already opened as well. However there are still a few californica plants looking relatively healthy. In generally though, the older and drier the plants are becoming, the harder they are to spot.
Lower Red Rock by contrast, is still going strong. As you can see, some of the plants are almost shoulder-height, and most umbels observed from recent trips have opened.
I did notice that the larger plants did not have many eggs or caterpillars on the larger, more developed plants, though that may just be due to the day we came to record data, or the fact that they were much more densely packed, and possibly harder to access for monarchs trying to oviposit an egg.
Upper Red Rock is still going strong as well! as you can see in this photo below most of the grass originally hiding the milkweed has died back, making the milkweed much easier to sport. This site also has well over 100 plants, though they are not quite as developed at the plants at Lower Red Rock.
Overall both of these trips went very smoothly. I look forward to going out and camping as planned for the next time we go collect data two consecutive days in a row!