Journal archives for November 2023

10 November, 2023

Doing well iNatting in San Diego North County in October/November 2023

Well, Ed and I arrived from New York City late on October 29th for a 16-day stay, and we are now settled into our room (Room 108) on the ground floor of the Moonlight Beach Motel in Encinitas, with a fridge full of food in order to be able to make three meals a day.

I have been out iNatting numerous times already, very locally, but nevertheless I have been doing great. To my joy I have been finding all kinds of new things.

We are here later than in previous years, as we always used to arrive very shortly after Labor Day. I guess that because the calendar is moving into November, this time of year counts as late fall or very early winter, as opposed to being very late Summer!

Also, this is the year in which Southern California was impacted by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hilary in August, which meant that they got a huge amount of rain all at once, after many years/decades of severe drought. As a result of all that rain, most wild or semi-wild areas here are still quite lush and green.

Either way, whether due to all that heavy rain, or perhaps partly due to my being here later in the season, I am finding a lot of organisms that I have not found before.

But there are also a couple of species which I found multiples of during my last visit that I am not finding at all this time: like the stink bugs that were on the Orchid Tree on this block, and the Lantana Stick caterpillars which were on the Yellow Lantana bushes a block away, but the lack of caterpillars is not surprising, because those bushes were severely trimmed recently.

I have also already found quite a few plants that were new to me and have cool names such as Devil's Thorn, Saharan Mustard, and Garland Daisy.

People who regularly read the iNat forum post where people report their finds of new Lifers might already know that I have found a Black Webspinner (a new order of insects for me!), a Western Plant Bug, a Yellow-V Moth, and one (now three) shells of the Trask's Shoulderband land snail, a critically endangered species which is endemic to the State of California.

I also found a Yellow-faced Bumblebee -- common apparently, but quite striking and pretty-looking.

On November 1st, my husband spotted a large-ish, very smooth woodlouse, on the sidewalk opposite the hotel. It was a Swift Woodlouse. That is new to me too.

Also on Nov 1st, I also saw two examples of the Grey Buckeye, which is now considered to be not just a color variety of the Common Buckeye, but a separate species, a taxon which only occurs west of the Rockies.

Friday Nov 3rd. Today something curious and weather-related happened. Walking back from Cottonwood Creek Park, as we got level with the hotel, we suddenly saw what seemed to be a striking, curling, narrow plume of something like smoke coming up the road from the direction of the beach. I wondered if it was indeed smoke, or perhaps a plume of dust from the construction that is taking place alongside the creek as it approaches the beach. But the cloud increased in size, and decreased somewhat in intensity, and I could not smell or taste anything at all, so I realized it was not smoke or dust, but sea fog! Then, as we sat outside in the hotel courtyard, and as the breeze blew, we could sometimes actually see the particles of moisture in the fog. I think perhaps the weather is turning colder now.

Sunday Nov 5th -- This would be Guys Fawkes Day if we were in the UK. We went to Ki's for lunch with our friends Barry and Jeannie who had driven here from Fallbrook, and afterwards we went to Cardiff State Beach, and then briefly to Swami's, but only on the clifftop. On the Cardiff Beach I found a small clump of washed-up Ostrich-Plume Hydroids, which was new to me, as well as a broken small Green Abalone shell, which was a new iNat record for me. And I also found an intact soft coral, genus Muricea, which was another lifer.

On Thursday November 9th on the outside of a window of room 101, here on the ground floor of the Motel, I saw an Alfalfa Moth. That was a new lifer:

Friday Nov 10th I found a couple of lifer plants at the edge of the coast road opposite Swami's parking lot -- California Croton was the first one, Coast Morning Glory was the second one. I also got a pretty good look at one of several nice moths there, but I was unable to photograph any of them. They were delta-shaped and mostly beige with a few brown spots.

Sunday November 12th. I got to see and capture a new-to-me Giant Western Crane Fly which had been hiding somewhere in the hotel room for two days after it flew in when I had the door and one window open.

Also on Sunday Nov 12th I got to photograph a West Coast Lady, new to me:

Nov 12th -- I also found a Small Melliot plant -- new to me:

Nov 13th, I found two little baby California seahares. That species was a lifer for me in the years since I first got onto iNat:

And I found several Ventura Hermit Crabs, which were new to me.

All in all, I did really great this visit, especially considering I was only here for not very long -- two weeks and two days. I found at least 21 lifers in 16 days!

Posted on 10 November, 2023 02:42 by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 30 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

Want to know how to ID your SoCal seashells?

Dear Folks,

I will be here at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, San Diego County, for a few more days, leaving at 9 am in the morning of Nov 14th.

I am staying at the Moonlight Beach Motel at 233 2nd Street. It is easy to find via the Encinitas Boulevard exit off of Highway 5.

If anyone wants to see some local shells and learn how to ID them, or wants to bring some of your own shells and ask me to help you ID them, I am willing.

Contact me here on iNat.

Susan Hewitt

P.S. Even once I am back in NYC I am willing to teach anyone how to ID shells.

Posted on 10 November, 2023 19:14 by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 2 comments | Leave a comment

20 November, 2023

Back to NYC again in late November

Well, coming back to New York after 16 days in Southern California was a bit of a shock. It is not really terribly cold, but chilly enough, and now there is apparently not much brand-new nature for me to see, whereas in California I was photographing at least one new lifer every day.

Yesterday Ed and I went to Central Park. First we got out at 102nd Street and 5th Avenue, in order to walk across to the Butterfly Gardens and find out whether there were any insects at all there, and then briefly we went over to the English Garden of the Conservatory Gardens.

I was hoping to get a sense for exactly where we are now in the fall season.

Plenty of plants are looking happy still, and some plant pathogens, but the only insects I could find in the butterfly gardens were one Large Milkweed Bug and a bunch of Oleander Aphids sitting on an old milkweed stem. I also saw something like a bluebottle fly flying, but I was not able to photograph it. There were, however, several pretty little Ruby-Crowned Kinglets flitting around in the largest of the butterfly gardens.

When I gave up searching the Butterfly Gardens and walked over to the Conservatory Garden, I discovered that all of the annuals in the English Garden had been pulled out already. And because the stairs and paths in the French Garden have been under construction for many months now, the staff had not planted any Korean Chrysanthemums there this year. This was sad, because if the Korean Chrysanthemums were there, they would still be in flower, and the nectar and pollen would be attracting countless flying insects, as they have done every year for the last several years, much to my delight. It is wonderful to be able to see so many different flying insects so late in the year. Hopefully I will be able to do that next year.

Posted on 20 November, 2023 22:10 by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 16 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment