Alemany Farm - Best SF Spot for Butterflies

In 2007 when I combed the city in search of what butterflies still bred here, I wandered into this place on the backside of the Mission District. This piece of land I later learned was to be included in the Natural Areas division of SF Rec & Parks. It has one of the few natural springs in the city. It was ultimately saved by turning it into an educational farm for kids. It was either in 2007, or perhaps 2009 when I repeated my field work, that I had a memorable day here: 18 species in one day. More than half the known butterflies for the county. I set out this day to see if I could repeat that.
One can drop in from above down a public walkway where Murray St. intersects Crescent Ave. Always have Cm. Checkered-Skippers ( P. communes ) along the weedy summit and Anise Swallowtails ( P. zelicaon ) on the radish. What is great about this place for butterflies is it's both weedy and native, both high and low in topography and a plethora of nectar sources. What I wasn't expecting was the Hooded Oriole ( I. cucullatus) perched beautifully before me in the Eucalyptus. This new Powerpoint camera is definitely revealing birds to me in a new way - a subject for some reason I have not really clicked with.
Species seen this day:
1) Western Tiger ( P. rutulus )
2) Anise Swallowtail ( P. zelicaon )
3) Cabbage White ( P. rapae )
4) Gulf Fritillary ( A. vanillae ) * Most solid pop. in county to observe. Spring is

completely surrounded by host: Passiflora sp.
5) West Coast Lady ( V. annabella)
6) Painted Lady ( V. cardui )
7) Field Crescent ( P. puchella )
8) Mylitta Crescent ( P. campestris )
9) Red Admiral ( V. atalanta )
10) Echo Blue ( C. l. echo)
11) Sandhill Skipper ( P. sabuleti )
12) Fiery Skipper ( H. phyleus )
13) Umber Skipper ( P. melane )
14) Cm. Checkered-Skipper ( P. communis )
Total: 14 species. Not quite the record, but a pretty swell showing for San Francisco.

Posted by robberfly robberfly, May 31, 2014 14:34

Observations

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What

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

In 2009, I had 16 species in one day at a place called Alemany Farm. Since we only have approx. 34 breeding species in our small county, I set out to see if I could repeat it...

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What

West Coast Lady Vanessa annabella

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Photos / Sounds

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What

Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

I'm excited to explore non-pretty butterfly photography. Freakish angles, yet still just enough fields marks to i.d.

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What

Common Checkered-Skipper Burnsius communis

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

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What

Echo Azure Celastrina echo

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

It was quite interesting to watch them using a blackberry bramble like a lek. On the Toyon as well, but using the vine in a way I'd never noticed...

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What

Field Crescent Phyciodes pulchella

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

Explosion of these all over the Farm today...

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Cabbage White Pieris rapae

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

Many all over the cabbage rows...

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Sandhill Skipper Polites sabuleti

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

I discovered this disjunct population out here years back. Must be enough Saltgrass around the spring to sustain population.

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What

Gulf Fritillary Dione vanillae

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

Scary to see half of the massive Passiflora round the spring died off. I asked a volunteer if they were trying to kill it. No, she said - the last frost. Interesting.

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Umber Skipper Lon melane

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

A scattered showing of theses on-the-wing today...

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Western Tiger Swallowtail Papilio rutulus

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

Most I'd ever seen here. More males than females...

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Mylitta Crescent Phyciodes mylitta

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

One of the few places in SF that one can see our two Phyciodes species together....

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Fiery Skipper Hylephila phyleus

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

Couldn't find these guys at first. Usually in-between the vegetable rows. Then, after lunch, they were everywhere...

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What

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

14 !!! Two short of my record day here. So close. Still proves to be the best spot for Butterflies in San Francisco. A nice dry run for the SF Butterfly Count next month on the 15th.

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Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

Breath-taking color.

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California Oak Moth Phryganidia californica

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

I think this was a first to see them here. They've planted lots of oak trees since I last went a year back...

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Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Description

"Thick-headed Fly" Cool to end the day on a new bug-for-me. I love what the guide said: " Victims of thick-headed flies off little or no resistance to being caught. They are heal captive during the short flight while the egg is being attached."

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What

Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Description

4th instar...

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What

Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Description

3rd instars...

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What

Lesser Goldfinch Spinus psaltria

Observer

robberfly

Date

May 26, 2014

Comments

Thumb

What an amazing find and place to visit ! Thanks for the info.

Posted by metsa about 7 years ago (Flag)

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