Late June & Mid July Trips

Hello! This is a double-trip blog again for my last two trips to SB. This is because unfortunately, I dunked my phone at my other job (at a kayak shop) in the ocean. Needless to say that means I no longer have any photos from the
first two day trip in June, so I figured I would just give a short  written synopsis before the photos from the most recent trip. Enjoy!
6/29-6/30 Trip:

The First day, Sal and I drove to count milkweed at the Nira and Davy Brown sites. I was excited to collect more data around this are because of out hole in the data set from earlier in the season. 

The first site we did was the Davy Brown Trail Site. This is where I realized just how spread out this site is. With two people, this took well over two hours. This all may be because of the heat as well. In fact for out lunch break, instead of taking about a half an hour as usual, we both took a nap with the AC on high in my truck!

After our nap alarm went off we decided to head for Nira because we knew it was shaded and figured we could get the hotter Davy Brown Trail site later when it cooled down. Nira and DBT went smoothly, and all sites had well over 100 plants. Nothing out of the ordinary struck me from this day, though I will be avoiding doing those three large sites with only one other person. They take a long time. In fact, by the time Sal and I got to Upper Oso to camp, it was totally dark!

The next day was much more efficient. Since Salvador and I got an earlier start, we knocked out the Upper Oso site relatively quickly. By this time, all of the californica milkweed had opened their pods a while ago and have partially or completely died back.

Then at the Red Rock parking lot, we met up with Kiana, and we knocked out both of those sites, all by about 1:30. Having 3 people down there is incredibly efficient when it comes to collecting data and I truly appreciate the effort and help of everyone  who has been taking the time to go down and help with data collection. 

I only noticed a few differences at these sites since the previous visit. The main thing is the Lower Red Rock site had been hit pretty hard by the Passalora californica fungus we had previously observed at the Nira site. Though I had seen a few black spots at this site before, the proportion affected by the disease was much higher  than previous visits. We noted this for each plant that had signs of the fungus with “BD”.


7/13-7/14 Trip

This trip included both Sal, who is now an experienced milkweed data collector, and a new volunteer from Dr.V’s research group, Carly. After I picked them up, we decided to the Red Rock and the Upper Oso sites the first day, as we would additionally  have Kiana to tackle the larger more time- consuming sites the following day.

Meet Carly and Salvador! (Pictured above)

At Lower and Upper Red Rock, not much had changed since our last visit, except this time the number of pods observed increased quite a bit, and the number of (living) umbels decreased to almost zero. This also came with a decrease in the number of pollinators we saw. 

Upper Red Rock is pictured below:

At Upper Oso, there were very few plants that had not completely died back. All pods had opened weeks ago, but I plan on going to the site until I can no longer find any (partially) living plants. 

Below is a picture of the Upper Oso site from afar

The next day, we met up at the roundabout just past Los Olivos with Kiana, and she followed us out to the last three sites. With four people working as teams of two, these large sites were much more manageable. 

Meet Kiana, who is great at taking data down quickly, and taking selfies on my phone 🙂

Here are some extra photos of the dream team in action…and a very cute baby horny toad I caught by Nira.

^^^Sal at our quick pit stop to jump in the swimming hole on our way back to camp.

Until next time,


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