I got up around 5:30 this morning so I could get over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve and begin my monitoring of my milkweed plot there for evidence of Monarch Butterflies.
I got there around 6:30 am and was pleased to see fellow volunteer and Certified California Naturalist, Roxanne Moger, there, too, ready and anxious to help with this first day at “my” plot. The first thing we saw when we walked in was a lovely doe sitting on the side of the hill right next to the plot. She let us get some photos of her before she got up and moved along. There was a narrow game trail right through the plot that the deer had made.
We divvied the plot up and started by counting all of the plants – over 40 just in our section! – and then we went plant-by plant, looking at every leaf for any evidence of Monarch eggs or larvae. I wasn’t expecting to see any, and we didn’t. The Monarchs didn’t show up last year until the fall, so I didn’t think there would be any in the plot today. But we were still very vigilant about checking every plant and every leaf.
CLICK HERE for the album of photos.
Part of the plot sits at a slight angle and is cluttered with other plants like a large coyote brush bush, a couple of wild rose bushes and some bay, and Roxanne was wonderful about monitoring that part, so I didn’t have to climb under branches or get snagged by thorns. I thought that was so sweet of her! I had a special magnifier to check for eggs, but for most of the time I just used my cell phone as a magnifying glass and took photos if I found anything that looked interesting or unusual. We came across several different kinds of spiders including Yellow Sac Spiders, Trashline Orb Weavers and Jumping Spiders; some Oleander Aphids, Common Green Lacewing eggs, Red Mites, the larvae of Green Stink Bugs and the Twenty-spotted Lady Beetle, some leafhoppers and some spittle bugs.
We were out at the plot for about 2 hours. Later in the day, after I got home, I loaded our findings onto the MLMP website. It took me a little bit to figure out what went where, but I think I get everything in there all right.
- Asian Ladybeetle, Harmonia axyridis,
- California Bay, Umbellularia californica,
- California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana,
- Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus,
- Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea,
- Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis,
- European Praying Mantis, Mantis religiosa,
- Green Leafhopper, Empoasca sp.,
- Green Stink Bug, Chinavia hilaris,
- Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni,
- Jumping Spider, Hentzia sp.,
- Meadow Spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius,
- Oleander Aphid, Aphis nerii,
- Pumpkin Gall Wasp, Dryocosmus minusculus,
- Red Mite, Spider Mite, Tetranychus urticae,
- Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa,
- Spotted Lady’s Thumb, Persicaria maculosa,
- Trashline Orb Weaver Spider, Cyclosa conica,
- Twenty-spotted Lady Beetle, Psyllobora vigintimaculata,
- Yarrow, Achillea millefolium,
- Yellow Sac Spider, Cheiracanthium mildei,