Hello, and happy August!
This week, we managed to pull off another successful trip down in Santa Barbara, despite some hectic schedules.
The first day, I only had Carly with me. We had a late start, and made our way to the Red Rock sites by midmorning. Below is Upper Red Rock,our first site of the trip.
I definitely noticed patches at both of these sites are beginning to thin out. In fact, we didn’t reach 100 samples at Lower Red Rock for the first time in a few months. I think the recent rise of the Passaloria californica fungus we have previously observed at LRR may have had to do with the drop in numbers, as well as the progression of the season.
This trip also marked the last visit of the season out to Upper Oso. It was a good run, but there are a total of about four plants that haven’t completely died back into the hillside once more. It was a good run, Upper Oso, until next season. It was incredibly hot as well. I think this may have been our hottest trip of the summer so far. Carly and I blew through our water by the beginning of the last site at lower red rock and were definitely feeling the effects of dehydration in the last hour of data collection at Lower Red Rock. I think the extra time added from only having two people is what made the first day so arduous.
The second day, Kiana and Salvador met us to collect data on the Davy Brown and Nira sites. These sites have also began to thin out a tad as well. Status of the plants on average has gone down as a whole additionally, because the majority of them have began to senesce.
Contradictory to the general lack of monarch activity we have been noticing, we DID find a fifth instar at the DBT site, which we collected for Dr.V.
Below are some shots from Nira where we also failed to find 100 plants (not counting the ones that were buried behind some poison oak we decided we’re not going to be included)
I am interested to see just how fast the rate of decline in status and quantity will be at these sites will be over the course of August.
Until next time,