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Friday, May 26, 2017

A pink "tail"

About two years ago, I shared some photos of an Ochre Sea Star "comet." 

When a sea star has only one arm remaining (and often a portion of the central disc), and it regrows all of its other arms, it's called a "comet" because the original arm is so much larger and appears similar to the tail of a true comet traveling across the sky.

Today Eric spotted another comet, but in a different species:

This is a Six-armed Sea Star (Leptasterias sp.).  They normally have six arms of similar length, but in this case, the sea star has one very large arm and five much smaller arms.  Note the larger (original) arm is pink, while the newer arms are white.

For comparison, here's a more typical Six-armed Sea Star:

Both of these sea stars were photographed in Del Norte County on 26 May 2017.

I wrote a little more about sea star "comets" in the August 2015 post, so if you're interested, you can review that post here.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Looking north towards Cape Mendocino, the westernmost point in California, on 25 May 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pointing skyward

A pretty patch of Ithuriel's Spear (Triteleia laxa) photographed on 22 May 2017.

For a little more information about this species, review the post from 16 June 2012.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wildflower views

I helped out with a plant survey yesterday.  Here are a few of my favorite views:

Leptosiphon sp.  (Not sure which species — can anyone help?)

Leptosiphon sp. with Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)

Leptosiphon sp. with goldfields, possibly Perennial Goldfields (Lasthenia california ssp. macrantha)

I hope you're also enjoying some of the wildflowers this year!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Catching some z's in the Hemizonia?

An interesting moth in a Hemizonia flower.  The dewdrops on the wing made me wonder if the moth had spent the night in this flower?

Unfortunately, I'm not sure which species of moth this is, but I'll be working on the identification.  If you're familiar with this species, let me know!

Photographed in Marin County on 22 May 2017.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Simmer down

Sunset photographed from Cotati on 21 May 2017, after a hot weekend!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mules and horses

Narrow-leaved Mule's-ears (Wyethia angustifolia)

A very fuzzy bee was also very interested in the flowers: 

Here are the long, slender leaves that give this wildflower part of its name.  The leaves can be up to 20 inches long.  (Hmmm...how long are a mule's ears?)

And here's a close-up of the leaf patterning:

The genus, Wyethia, is named after Nathaniel Wyeth, an inventor (of a horse-drawn ice cutter) and expedition leader.  (Wyeth has connections to Fresh Pond in Cambridge, MA!).  In the early 1800s, he traveled across the country with Thomas Nuttall (of Nuttall's Woodpecker) and John Kirk Townsend (of Townsend's Warbler).