INSECT INTRICACIES.... We finally got some much needed rain up here, though the Waldorf campers -numbering up near 140-are not happy with wet tents. We did make it through yesterday with activities up and down the island. Many are new to shoreline camping, and it is proving to be an eye opener. Climbing the slippery rocks and reaching into tide pools for creatures is a learned adventure. Each group of students contributed to an inventory of plants and animals that numbered up to 30 different species. Most notable was finding another Asian Shore Crab out on Joe's Head. I still marvel at the small cave of anemones hiding out on the southern most point where surf must tax their clinging ability. They've always been there, waving their tentacles in search of food.
I now have a group of Monarch butterflies in chrysalises, waiting for emergence. I would say it has been a relatively good year for these insects, and most have headed south by now. They may be laying low, waiting for dryer weather, or breezes to carry them in flight. I'm also watching and feeding another caterpillar, that of a Painted Lady Butterfly. These feed, not on Milkweed, but on Pearly Everlasting and its relatives. These are beautiful caterpillars with branching ornaments on their bodies.
A walk into Totman Cove produced a few surprises. Last week I was able to walk in the dried up wetland behind the beach without getting my feet wet! North Creek seemed unusually low since so little rain water is coming down from the hills to meet the tidal inlet. Now, that issue may be over and too bad I don't have pictures to prove how dry it was. Right now it is pouring rain and the frogs may again be happy.
I was pleased to see several patches of Doll's Eye with its unique fruit. These are produced by the white flower of Baneberry whose name suggests, rightly so, that these berries not be eaten. They do indeed look much the the eyes of dolls, the old fashioned type. The red stalk sets them off in a striking pattern to catch our eyes.
In my garden, I am digging potatoes, picking peas, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, onions, peppers, salad greens and cucumbers. I have a few pumpkins that are becoming more rotund day by day. I even tolerate the Painted Lady caterpillars that thrive on some of the weeds in the garden.
The sun returned to dry out the
campground on Wednesday. It was beautiful and breezy. We all spread
out on the western shore of the island to study the various plants
and animals in the different shoreline zones. The waves prevented
us from making too close a study of the splash zone! I had an
opportunity to climb into Starfish Cave where I found that giant
Sea Star we placed there back in August. The late afternoon sun
lit up the interior of the cave where the anemones could be seen
with a full tentacle spread. I learned from the campers that anemones
eat worms! Several different species of worms were dug in the
mudflat outing during the rain. The long Ribbon Worms were found
being ingested by the anemones during their microscope study in
the Kelp Shed.
9/14/07 Ronnie, drying out.