monarch butterfly

The Sea Ranch is fortunate to have a large number of very healthy pollinators.

Here again it is useful to bring a small child with you when you plan to visit. This gives the adults in your party an excuse to be really interested in what the birds and the bees are doing in our bushes. Our most active pollinators are almost certainly the bees, but we also have a great assortment of humming birds, butterflies, moths, bats, and more. Did you know that bees knees are thought to be electrostatic and that helps them to gather pollen? (The rest of the bee is probably electrostatic too, but as you can plainly see they carry the pollen in their socks so the knees must be where the action is most intense.)

bee with pollen sacks

Have you ever watched a hummingbird fly high up in the air and then swoop down in a death defying dive? He is attempting to attract a mate. (OK, it is a different kind of pollination that he has in mind, but it is pretty important to the survival of hummingbirds and they are important to the propagation of certain types of flowers). Here in The Sea Ranch pollination is going on all around us and that is a good thing because, as we all know, without pollination there would be nothing for anyone to eat - even us. In a very real way it is important to tell the child that you brought along on your visit that these little "bugs" literally give us life.

Hummingbird

butterfly

The Sea Ranch is a great place to think about the chain of life without having to get too scientific or overly political. Unfortunately "us" humans don't much like "weeds" so we have inadvertantly eliminated a lot of the very best sustenance for our Monarch Butterflies and they can't overwinter with us as frequently as they used to, but we still see a smattering of these beautiful creatures and, if we are very lucky, a select few might take up residence in one or another of our windrows this winter. Another genre of beautiful visitor to The Sea Ranch is our moths, the cousins of our butterflies. Most of the time people don't think much about moths except to worry about them dining in our wardrobe, but, as we all know, it is the larvae of the moth that does the damage to the clothing that we don't wear very often. By the time that metamorphosis has taken place, the resultant ethereal beauty doesn't eat much at all during it's brief existence except for a sip of nectar from time to time. While so engaged he or she is effectively pollinating the flower that he or she is visiting. So how important was the old t-shirt that the little worm consumed when the grub didn't know any better and how important is the wild flower that the moth is pollinating? (Check out the antenna on this one and think about the fact that she is not using mascara!)

moth

Keep your eyes peeled when you are walking our trails and you will meet some very exotic creatures.