Friday, October 9, 2015

A Fall Day in the Cuyamacas

It was a HOT day today - a good 10 degrees warmer than it should be at this time of year.

The Baccharis sarothroides that we planted to anchor the slopes around the house bloom every year at this time, and are covered in nectar-lovers. Being an especially warm day, they were out in force.

Honey bees are the most numerous, but tarantula hawks of at least three species are visiting also. Pepsis thisbe seemed to be the most common visitor to the milkweed earlier in the season. But now Pepsis mildei, often in groups of females, and Pepsis chrysothemis with its bright red wings are showing up too.

A large female Pepsis mildei. This is the only species of Pepsis in our area with orange antennae (in both sexes). This one was at least 40 mm long - one of the larger individuals. We saw a tarantula wandering the landscape around dusk, so the Pepsis have everything they need right here!
SO much nectar (and so little time)!

Later in the afternoon, I paid a quick visit to Paso Picacho campground and vicinity in the state park (Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, to be precise).

Honey Bees were the most common visitors to some of the last "fresh" Ericameria parishii, near the beginning of the Stonewall Peak trail. I saw a Pepsis mildei female and what appeared to be Pepsis thisbe on the same bush also.

A dinner-plate-sized shelf fungus, seemingly growing out of the ground. There were dead, burned tree stumps in the area though (some with more of this fungus), so I suspect there was some wood under this big specimen. Stonewall Peak trail.

Snowberry is "berrying". Azalea Glen trail.

Signs of cooler times to come soon.

What IS this?? (Answer at the end of the post)

An ultra-pubescent plant along the Azalea Glen trail. To be determined.

The fuzzy-leaved plant, with sunlight seeping through...

The mystery "mountain range" is the edge of an acorn cup!


  1. I've gotta say that your way of presenting the information is outstanding. You photos are like eye-candy, always interesting to look at. And your attention to details, your humor and or contests makes everyting come together in a nice way.

  2. Thanks Meredith - that's the balance I'm trying for. Needed this little break yesterday, too, after TOO-MUCH-WORK!