29 April 07

Putah Creek Bioblitz

Bioblitz spot At the end of Blogger Bioblitz Week, I finally got out to my spot and did a bioblitz survey on my own. This is an exercise in humility: I do well at identifying birds, passably with vascular plants, reasonably well at reptiles and amphibians, but fail when it comes to identify insects or any other invertebrates. A proper bioblitz involves a team of skilled naturalists, but the main aim for the blogger version was to have fun, and so I did.

My spot was a bank of Putah Creek not far from home, located at N 38.5177° W 121.7616°. The upland portion was dominated by non-native grasses and weeds, primarily wild ryegrass Lolium perenne. Near the stream itself was a stand of narrowleaf willow (Salix exigua) with occasional Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia). I surveyed plants and birds, the latter anything within about 50 meters of my spot, including overhead and across the creek. I kept my eye out for dragonflies and butterflies, but only saw two of the latter and one of the former, and wasn’t able to get close enough to have a go at looking them up. My favorite identification was wild licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota), which I figured out after a browse through the photo library at CalFlora. My species lists follow:


  • Swainson’s hawk
  • Western kingbird
  • Snowy egret
  • American crow
  • Tree swallow
  • Red-shouldered hawk
  • Ash-throated flycatcher
  • California towhee
  • Turkey vulture
  • Scrub jay
  • White-faced ibis
  • Bushtit
  • Northern oriole
  • Mallard
  • Black-headed grosbeak

Vascular plants:

  • Salix exigua (narrowleaf willow)
  • Fraxinus latifolia (Oregon ash)
  • Convolvulus arvensis (bindweed)
  • Brassica nigra (black mustard)
  • Lolium perenne (ryegrass)
  • Centaurea solstitialis (yellow starthistle)
  • Avena fatua (wild oats)
  • Medicago polymorpha (California burclover)
  • Eucalyptus sp.
  • Vicia sp. (vetch)
  • Plantago lanceolata (plaintain)
  • Geranium dissectum
  • Silybium marianum (milk thistle)
  • Rumex conglomeratus (dock)
  • Glycyrrhiza lepidota (wild licorice)

Blogger bioblitz participant

Posted by at 08:32 PM in Nature and Place | Link |
  1. Ha! I scouted this stretch of Putah Creek but decided I wasn’t up to the task. Glad someone got out there. I’m jealous about the oriole, I haven’t seen one yet this spring.

    Funny that we got totally different birds only a few miles apart.

    neil    3. May 2007, 07:50    Link
  2. I’m impressed!

    One of my great sorrows about being dislocated is the way I can no longer just look out at a patch of land and identify a bunch of things by eye. Now, what I see is Green Leafy Things, Green Fuzzy Things, Prickly Green Things, and so on! So I find the Blogger Bioblitz intriguing but also daunting.

    It’s also nice seeing a bunch of old friends in your bird list. :)

    Rana    8. May 2007, 05:07    Link
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