07 May, 2014

Treasure hunting

I relocated a few common species around campus, mainly in the wooded are outside McCone and down around the Eucalyptus grove.

For the extra credit, I took a walk up to Lake Temescal and made observations of just about everything I could find: http://www.inaturalist.org/calendar/jrpscott/2014/5/6

Posted on 07 May, 2014 00:13 by jrpscott jrpscott | 7 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

02 April, 2014

spring species hunt

As a keen mushroom forager back home in the UK, I am interested in the different species of fungi native to the bay area. One that caught my eye in particular was Cantharellus Californicus, having seen the following observation of it in the Oakland area: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/351135. I was lucky to be able to find one myself at Lake Temescal, although the specimen I found was small and in poor condition.
I was interested in this species as it is a relative of Cantharellus Cibarius, a mushroom which I frequently collect in Scotland. While Cantharellus Cibarius is excellent to eat, it does not grow to a particularly large size, whereas specimens of Cantharellus Californicus weighing over 2 pounds have been reported, so I am hoping to find one of these large specimens in the future.

Posted on 02 April, 2014 04:42 by jrpscott jrpscott | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment


I did a mini bioblitz at Lake Temescal, where I was able to photograph a good variety of plants and fungi, as well as some insects, spiders and birds. The fact that I visited after a few days of rain meant that fungi were abundant at the time.

Posted on 02 April, 2014 03:59 by jrpscott jrpscott | 25 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

21 March, 2014

Natural History Story

The California Slender Salamander

The California slender salamander is a salamander species which is endemic to to California and a small part of Oregon. Its range is from central California to south-west Oregon, and also the Sierra Nevada foothills. Its lifespan is approximately 8-10 years.
It is a lungless salamander, so it breathes though its skin, this requires it to keeps its skin moist so it needs a damp habitat. This species does not live in ponds or streams, it prefers damp areas on land such as underneath logs. It feeds on small invertebrates such as spiders and beetles, which also occupy similar habitats to the salamander, it waits in ambush and catches its prey with a projectile tongue.
The salamander has some interesting methods of protection from predators such as producing a sticky secretion from its skin with the ability to glue a predator's mouth shut. It can also shed its tail as a distraction while it makes its escape, the tail will regenerate.
This species reaches sexual maturity at 2-4 years of age and reproduces once per year. They lay eggs in the fall once the rain starts, and the eggs hatch anywhere from December through to February. As the eggs are laid on land, the young are born as miniature adults and not as aquatic nymphs like many other species of salamander.
Information source: http://www.californiaherps.com/salamanders/pages/b.attenuatus.html

Posted on 21 March, 2014 01:10 by jrpscott jrpscott | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

05 March, 2014

habitat trips

I went to Lake Temescal again as it has several different type of habitat all in one area. the habitats I chose to focus on were the grassland areas and the (mostly) oak forest area. following the recent rain, I saw a good variety of fungi in both habitats, generally the fungi in the grassland habitat were gilled mushrooms, whereas in the forest habitat I found an earth star, a bolete and some sort of jelly-like fungus. This suggests the fungi in the different habitats are adapted for different methods of spore dispersal. There was pretty much no observable animal life in the grassland, presumably due to the fact that it is very exposed and offers little protection from birds or other predators. The animals I saw in the forest were mostly molluscs, insects and other arthropods. Their small size enables them to exploit the natural protection from predators offered by rotting logs and other vegetation, most of these also had very small eyes or no obvious eyes at all, showing their adaptation to a habitat where there is little to no light.

Posted on 05 March, 2014 04:35 by jrpscott jrpscott | 14 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

05 February, 2014

Geog-171-2014 Homework #2

I took a walk up to Lake Temescal this afternoon where I observed several species of birds, these included a Mallard, and American Coot and a Double Breasted Cormorant, I also saw an Egret but it was too far away to take a worthwhile picture. I also saw a Fox Squirrel, but when I tried to identify it more precisely I could not tell the difference between the different species of Fox Squirrels. Finally I saw a quite a number of small, flowering plants with pink/purple flowers, I couldn't find an precise identification for these. Essentially, the three iconic taxa I observed were birds, animals and plants.

Posted on 05 February, 2014 00:01 by jrpscott jrpscott | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment