Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Friday, March 25, 2011

IBCM V - Irvine Ranch

Day 2 of the California IBCM workshop included a visit to the Irvine Ranch preserve. It's a huge parcel- over 50,000 acres of coastal sage scrub, chaparral, oak savanna and riparian habitats. As someone who has done land management for many years at Bluff Spring Fen, I was very impressed at the stewardship of a site roughly 500 times the size of the Fen. Although there no endangered butterfly species currently occupy the site, it does represent a spot with the potential for restoration of on or more species.

California Ringlet (Coenonympha tullia california)

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

Sara Orangetip (anthocharis sara)

Silvery Blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus)

Although we did not see endangered butterflies on this site, the weather was near-perfect, sunny and in the 70s. We saw lots of other butterfly species, and I even managed to photograph a few. The ringlet, orangetip, and blue are all species that I associate with springtime in coastal southern California. I wish I had been able to get a better shot of the orangetip. That species is very uncooperative as a photo subject.

The U-shaped structure is the entrance to a trapdoor spider burrow
We tried bating with a tiny katydid to entice the spider to show, but had no luck

Jerusalem Cricket (Stenopelmatus sp.)

Hide Beetle (Family Trogidae)

We saw a bunch of other arthropods, as well. I wish that we had been able to entice the trapdoor spider to pop out of it's burrow. I suspect that there were just too many of us, and it could sense the vibrations that we were producing as we milled about the area. At one point, I saw what I thought was an ironclad beetle (Family Zopheridae). When I posed it on my hand for a photo, someone pointed out that it was actually a hide beetle (Family Trogidae). I wish I had known that before I put it on my hand- the Trogidae feed on carrion. I wonder where it had been before I grabbed it.

The entire hike was about 4 miles. I spent that part of the day in warm sunshine surrounded by beautiful scenery and valued colleagues. What more can one ask for in a day's work?

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At 16:52, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great photo of the Orangetip.

At 00:04, Blogger Ur-spo said...

I for one am glad you failed with Mr. Trapdoor.

At 11:38, Blogger rodger said...

Ick...potato bug...I hate those things...they've creeped me out since I was a kid.

Okay...now you know my weakness.


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