Monday, December 24. 2007
I went out the Mule Hill and San Pasqual trails today. (These trails are currently closed due to the recent fires and you need to be a volunteer trail patroller to use them!) It has rained a few times and things are starting to grow. Some of the regrowth is good, some is bad, and some of it I don't know, so maybe you can help me.
Here you can see that some severely burnt shrubs are sprouting from their roots. Many of the chaparral plants do this. It enables them to recover quickly from a fire and preserve the investment of many decades growth that they have in their roots.
Here's another one. This was a pretty big shrub or small tree.
Here are links to some more photos of chaparral plants that are regrowing in the same fashion.
Here is a beautiful old tree which sadly does not look like it will be recovering:
And here are some that I am not so sure about. If you can ID these plants, please let me know.
Maybe one of them is Pepperweed? These guys are spraying Roundup on emerging Pepperweed. I talked to a ranger about it and he said this is their only chance to make a dent in the Pepperweed invasion: while all the rest of the vegetation is burned back.
We know these next plants are bad. I asked the email group of the San Diego Chapter of the California Native Plant Society about them and they are an Erodium species. We'll know which species when they flower.
And a closer view of one:
There is supposedly one native Erodium species, but it is apparently not very common. These are likely the highly invasive non-native Erodiums. Take a look at this photo. See all that green on the ground? As far as I could tell with my 52 year old eyes they are all Erodiums. I would say the invasion is here. (Cool hawk on the fence post though, huh?)
Most or all of the land these trails pass through were formerly ranch land. My wife lived here in the '80s and remembers cattle being grazed here even that recently. After two or three hundred years of grazing, it's no wonder that the chaparral was pretty thin. It was just struggling to grow back. Look at what a setback this is:
While we are playing the ID game, does anyone know what these are? They are very tiny and are growing along the trail near Via Rancho Parkway. It seems to much to hope that they might be native. I know it's not the greatest photo, but if you know them, please tell me.
Here is a somewhat closer look at them. (And yes, that is a somewhat eroded turd full of berries in the photo.)
And finally, not to leave out our furry little animal friends: I have seen a few squirrels, though not nearly as many as before the fires. But here are something new to me. They are very small holes and very small mounds. The gopher holes I've seen in this area have been much larger and further apart. I was out during midday, so the dirt was dried and I saw no activity, but they are clearly fresh holes.
Hopefully these photos have been more interesting than my usual diatribes.
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