Twin Peaks: Belligerent Butterflies and herbicides

Twin Peaks is still enrobed in spring.

The brilliant oxalis now shares its glory with the golden glow of California poppy, the elegant blue spikes of lupin, spots of pink where the wild hollyhock blooms and the dusty purple of the ceanothus. The bumble bees that feasted on oxalis earlier in the season are now checking out the lupin and ceanothus. The honeybees are on to the wild mustard.



Some white-crowned sparrows hang out in the shrubs and sing; others hang out in the parking lot with the pigeons.  A meadowlark  perched on a bush, commenting “quick!” at intervals. A couple of ravens did the tourist thing, landing on top of a peak and looking at the scenery, but it may have been territorial rather than aesthetic appreciation.

Avian tourist

The Aggressor

Anise swallowtail, defending

The butterflies acted territorial as well. Two butterflies were air-dancing, but they were of different species. It soon became clear it wasn’t a dance, it was a fight. A Red Admiral buzzed an Anise Swallowtail, looking for all the world like a crow buzzing a hawk. Apparently some  butterflies are territorial and belligerent. Not sure what it achieved; neither butterfly left the hillside.

And what would spring be with only blossoms, birds, bees, and butterflies?

Native Areas must have herbicides. The Garlon’s back. It’s unclear if they missed the earlier spraying (12-16 March), or if they just feel the hillsides need more Garlon 4 Ultra. The date on the new notice in 15-29 March.

One of the notices for the spraying of this toxic herbicide hung next to a No Smoking sign, and just in front of another sign informing us this was a sanctuary for the Mission Blue butterfly.

Ironic, that.

Slightly ironic

Edited to Add: As of 5 April ’10, the Pesticide notices were still up on Twin Peaks, still with the March 29 date. It was not clear whether the spraying was ongoing or had been done, or had been rescheduled. It also wasn’t clear how they were going to spray, since the presumably desirable native plants and the hated non-natives were all growing in the same area…

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7 Responses to Twin Peaks: Belligerent Butterflies and herbicides

  1. Pingback: Garlon in our watershed « Save Mount Sutro Forest

  2. Sutro Biker says:

    It it clearly strictly posted. Read the signs! Everyone else seems to understand. If you interview those folks, they will tell you of their methods-spot application with some spray. Why are you such an alarmist N.I.M.B.Y.?
    No one really hates the introduced plants. They have simply been abandoned. My you can get a foraging group together and get them to stop spraying because you are doing something to help everything to exist. Every good ecologist knows that some weeds “fill the gaps” in disturbed systems.

    • webmaster says:

      Sutro Biker: Thanks for stopping by here. If you “search” this website by “Twin Peaks” you’ll see all the posts on the subject. But I wasn’t clear what you thought I didn’t understand. The signs?

      There were two lots of signs – posted all over Twin Peaks, at every trailhead, presumably they were covering all of it – saying they were spraying Garlon 4 Ultra, before noon. The first lot were dated March 2-16; the second, March 15-29. The signs were still up on April 5. So it was unclear whether it was a single spraying or multiple applications.

      As for spot-application… this was against oxalis. Have you seen the oxalis up there? It just covers the hills, and it’s mixed in with the native plants.

      And as for being alarmist: Have you checked out Garlon? It’s water-soluble and pretty darn toxic. I wouldn’t wish it on your backyard either.

      Frankly, I hadn’t bothered much about herbicides before I started looking into it. That’s when I got alarmed. This website has a bunch of information and links. Take a look?

      You’re right about weeds filling in the gaps. Garlon, which indiscriminately kills broad-leafed plants, can actually create those gaps, and they favor grasses (which don’t mind Garlon). Since non-native grasses are faster to grow than native ones, they’ll fill the gaps. And no one knows what it’s doing to the soil or to insects.

  3. Pingback: Dialogue with Sutro Biker « Save Mount Sutro Forest

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  5. Pingback: Twin Peaks: Fall Weather, Roundup and Garlon | Save Mount Sutro Forest

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