Saturday, April 21, 2007

Spring 2007 Field Assistants

Bringing their unique backgrounds and skill to Hastings, our new field assistants arrived in March. They are, from left, Ben Jaffe, Josh Brown, Debbie Visco and Allison Fritts-Penniman. Josh and Debbie are working with Walter Koenig on acorn woodpeckers and Ben and Allison are working on western bluebirds. Welcome! It has been fun to have them all here at Hastings.
Bantam Car Club Pit Stop..
Our neighbor, Bill Spear (top row, second from left) and his friends who own and drive Bantams, stopped by Hastings on Saturday, April 21. They were touring Carmel Valley with these historic vehicles, and stopped in for a few minutes to hear about Hastings. We got a chance to see these early, fuel efficient cars and meet the folks who restore and maintain them; a great visit.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring Flowers: Low Key in 2007
So far, (April 4) we have only 10.27" of rain, and that is only about 1/2 the average rainfall. Not that we ever have an average year. But, this means it is relatively dry, and it has been warm. So, our grasses have headed out and much of the landscape is a thin green, with some golden brown tones. However, tucked in here and there are the usual wild flowers. Virtually all the oaks are in flower now.

Two of the flowers here are subjects of studies at Hastings.

Camille Barr (UC Irvine) stopped by in March to sample tissue from the Hastings "Baby Blue Eyes" (Nemophila menziesii). She also found a similar population near the Toro Cafe on Highway 68. Camille has been doing DNA studies and she thinks the Nemophila (left) at Hastings are pretty distinct- maybe a new species. However, other than a rather pale appearance that Camille can recognize, she is still working on finding an obvious external character we can all see.

Katherine Horjus (UC Santa Cruz) is writing up her doctoral dissertation on the "Woodland Star" (Lithophragma affine) and its moth that both fertilizes it and eats it. The grey, slender moth in the center of the flower is shown here (left). Interesting.

For a gallery of these images and other spring flowers; click here.