Monday, February 16, 2009

A Walk in the Rain
We finally got a winter storm. This brings our rain to about 10" when the average for this time of the rain year (July 1 to June 30) is about 11". Finch Creek is now flowing briskly from Anastasia Creek. If we get a couple more winter storms, we might even reach "average" rainfall!
    When it is wet, the branches that fall have lichen and moss that is a striking deep green and bright yellow or orange fungi open. Dr. Shirley Tucker at UCSB identifies these (thanks!) as perhaps a fungus in the group, Thelephoraceae; not well-known and hard to identify from a photo. I am pretty sure the lichen is Ramalina. Compare this photo to one taken of the same branch after drying 4 hours...(below). 
Here,  the rich greens have gone white and fungal bodies have rolled up tight. With several more wet-dry cycles, the fungal cups continued to open and close. I suspect they are not ephemeral, but may persist on the branch for years. There appears to be a lichen crust on the lower sides of the fungal cups. This might be cryptic coloration? 

   By the way- even with this rain, Jaime's pond has not filled entirely. About 1/4 covered. We may need to work on that next year. 

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sneaky Water in Finch Creek
      It has been dry this winter; this winter's rain total is 6.5" where the long-term average of rainfall at this date in the rain year is 11.2". And the last two winters have been dry. The rocks of Finch Creek all the way up to the old Finch Family homestead (Jean Cahoon's ranch) have been dry since last spring. Today the rocks in Finch Creek at the entry bridge to Hastings on Martin Road are holding quiet pools. Some water is running in Robertson Creek above the junction of these two creeks. Rainfall has been about 2" each of the last three months. And suddenly, the water appeared. 
       Just  as a reminder, in March of 2001 where we now see quiet pools, we saw 20" steelhead in the same place, but of course after heavy rains had scoured the same pools. Here is a photo..