Current Status of the Vernal Pool, Flowering Plants, and SRP Trails

Date: 12 February 2009 (Day 58 of the Vernal Pool)

main vernal pool at srp
Main Vernal Pool*. (Date of Picture: 12 February 2009)

The Main Vernal Pool: The main pool formed on 17 December 2008, with a depth of 4 inches on 20 December, about one-fourth of its full depth of 16 inches. The pool almost disappeared before the early February rains brought it up to its nearly full depth.

The larger fairy shrimp species is now dead after living its normal life and reproducing. The smaller fairy shrimp species, our own Santa Rosa Fairy Shrimp, with its distinctive red eyes, is still hanging around, mating and developing eggs (actually cysts).

No tadpoles have been sighted yet, which is unusual. The near-disappearance of the pool may have seriously affected their development.

See the latest detailed report for more information, and Introduction To The Pool Critters to learn more about them.

The two small pools were full on 12 February 2009.

See Changes of the Main Pool Vs. Time for plots of the variation of Pool depth and numbers of pond inhabitants in prior years, and the three years of pictures of A Year of the Pool and Vegetation linked at Field Guide to the Santa Rosa Plateau.

Click on the pool pictures to get larger versions.

small vernal pool next to vp trailhead at srp
Small Vernal Pools next to Vernal Pool Trailhead*. (Date of Picture: 20 December 2008 Note picture is not current)

Flowering Plants: See Species typically in bloom in December through February for species that might be seen in bloom during those months, and latest bloom report.

Trails: Trails were quite muddy on 2/7/09, and the entire Santa Rosa Plateau was closed. Call before your visit to see current trail closures.

Varmints: Rattlesnakes should almost all be in their winter homes until about April. However, sometimes baby rattlesnakes have to emerge to find some food, so they may still be encountered.

In the last year, mountain lion sightings have averaged ~two per month. The entire Reserve was closed on 2 March 2004 after a hiker encountered a 60 pound mountain lion who did not run away from him. Efforts to hunt and trap the lion were unsuccessful, and the Reserve was reopened on 8 March.

See Mountain Lion Attacks On People in the U.S. and Canada to understand how rare it is for a mountain lion to attack people. There is an average of only a single mountain lion attack once every two years in the entire state of California.

For every mountain lion, deer or fox sighting at the SRP, there are literally thousands of coyote sightings. See Wild Animals at the Santa Rosa Plateau.

* Panoramas stitched together with a wonderful free program called autostitch.

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Copyright © 2001-2009 by Tom Chester and Kay Madore.
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Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 14 February 2009.