Friday, May 26, 2006

2006 Butterfly Count at Hastings

Five expert and enthusiastic butterfly observers spent Friday, June 9 counting butterflies. They included (left to right) Jennifer Tiehm (NPS, Pinnacles), Andrea Laltoo, Liam O’Brien, Paul Johnson (NPS, Pinnacles) and Professor Jerry Powell (UC Berkeley). Liam, Andrea and Jennifer drove to Chew’s Ridge to count there in the morning while Jerry and Paul walked down the Arnold Road. Later in the afternoon, Paul drove up the new Poisn Oak Hill trail, and Jerry walked the Robertson Creek with Liam, Andrea and Jennifer.

Like our oaks, which flowered and leafed out a month late this cold, wet spring, the many host plants for butterflies were late as well. Maybe it is that, or maybe it is just not a good year for butterflies, but the count was way low this year. Many species were absent, and the common ones were present but in very low numbers, reflecting numbers normally seen in early May. One great white skipper (Heliopetes ericetorum) was seen for the first time at Hastings. They saw only 22 species of butterflies, and their abundance was even more reduced compared to past years. They logged more party hours afield (10.5) than in any past year but recorded the fewest individuals of any of the 9 years on this count, ca. 365, with an average of about 35/party hour. Most years (click here for 1998-2005 information) they have seen ca. 28-30 species and averaged considerably more per hour than this year.
Final results will be made available in a few months.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Robotic Camera Online
Last week, Kevin Browne installed a camera on a massive steel post (thanks to Eric, at Carmel Valley Ironworks) set in concrete by Jaime DelValle. This is located on a hill above the headquarters that is shared with the Hastings CDF Remote Access Weather Station.

You can control the camera and look around Hastings for 5 minute intervals by clicking here, or navigating on the Hastings website to "Natural History" and then "Webcams in Wildlands" where you choose the RoboCam from the list of active webcams.

Some pre-set views include the Headquarters, School Hill, a Red-shouldered hawk nest in a Sycamore tree, and even a view to Pinon Peak lookout, visible on a clear day.