The Xerces Society Thanksgiving count numbers were just finalized for our North American western monarch population and it's as bad as the initial estimate. According Xerces, we have lost 86% of monarchs within the last year, and they have issued a call to action. This is serious. Click the image below to find out how you can help western monarchs rebound from this devastating decline.
Photo credit: Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Photo by Naturedigger
If you're a news junkie like most of us living the United States have become, you've undoubtedly run across the numerous articles about the dramatic decrease in our western monarch population in 2018. Our MJV partner, Xerces Society, who conducts the annual Thanksgiving count, released preliminary overwintering monarch numbers in an alarming statement this week which should cause concern among not only the western states where this is occurring, but everywhere, since this unprecedented decline is likely caused by several factors that affect everyone. Below is an excerpt:
"Pesticides, habitat losses and more frequent and severe droughts caused by climate change are believed to be the primary reasons for the decimation of the butterfly population," Xerces says.
Take moment to read the article in its entirety and comment below.
We can all make small changes in our lives such as planting only native plants and not using pesticides in our gardens or on our lawns. Conserving open space in our communities needs to be a top priority or we stand to lose this iconic species and many other beneficial pollinators along with it.
Get off the couch and head outside this holiday season! Nature calms the nerves, soothes the soul and fills the heart. You may even find a little humor in it along the way!
Knotweed! has been updated with new slides, seasonal photos and information. It is now compatible with iOS 12.0. Below is a sample slide illustrating Japanese knotweed's ability to do serious property damage. Check out more of our slides for each knotweed species in the Quick ID section under each species in the app. Also visit the knotweed page for similar information. New seasonal photos and descriptions will help you ID all species of knotweed throughout the seasons. Can you identify Japanese knotweed along the highway right now? The canes are typically reddish at this stage and very easy to spot. See the photo below and download knotweed! for more information.
Take a moment out of your busy week to celebrate these awesome animals! If you're a sea otter fan, definitely visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium and learn about the many ways they are helping this endangered species. There are several places to view them in the wild including whale watches and Elkhorn Slough near Moss Landing. Remember your wildlife ethics, and if you see them in the water while kayaking keep at least 60 or more feet (+20 meters) away, to insure they are not stressed. Definitely bring your camera, since sea otters are one of the most playful, entertaining and unique marine creatures we have the good fortune to celebrate in our lifetime!
Sometimes it's better to snap that pic and ask questions later. In this case, I ran across a female tarantula hawk wasp nectaring on narrow-leaved milkweed at Ulistac Natural Area in Santa Clara. The wasp is about 2 inches long and truly stunning, so I thought, "whoa, what a cool find!" After about three seconds of research I found out this insect has the second most painful sting in the world. Yes, the world. If stung by one of these wasps, it is recommended that you lay flat on your back on the ground and scream. That way, you won't hurt yourself jumping, running and tripping over or into anything. Thankfully the worst of the pain subsides in about five minutes and the sting isn't lethal to humans, just their prey. So, if you live where tarantulas live, then be on the lookout for these wasps!