Archive for May, 2009
Cloverpatch is a great place, but I hadn’t made it there in 4 years. I had decided yesterday that I was going to stay home today and finish vacuuming, do laundry, and take care of lots of paperwork piling up on my desk. Forget that! When I woke up this morning and had actually slept well (quiet cats for once) and saw that it was not so hot, I hightailed it for Cloverpatch.
I had 4 plants in mind to find and photograph. Out of thousands of budded up Castilleja tenuis in the main meadow along the trail, only one was in bloom, but that was all I needed to get a good closeup of the individual flower. In the uppermost and easternmost meadow (off trail) I found a nice patch of Castilleja attenuata, the other ex-Orthocarpus, to get a similar closeup. Check and check.
The next plant was much more of a challenge. I first found Woodsia scopulina in that uppermost meadow in 2004. On my last trip there in 2005, I tried in vain to relocate it. It just wasn’t on the rock face I thought it was on, and there are so many up there. And with all the Cystopteris fragilis everywhere, it’s hard to pick out a Woodsia from a distance. Little did I know when Sabine and I were discussing the large Arctostaphylos (canescens or a hairless columbiana—Ken Chambers thinks they should be lumped and I agree) up at the very top of the meadow, that the ferns were just on the other side of the nearest outcrop, 10 or 15 feet away. Today I searched many rock faces before I stopped in frustration, threw up my hands and cried “I just can’t find it!” (with a few other choice words sprinkled in). No sooner had the words left my mouth when I realized I was looking right at them! Now I don’t know how I ever found them in the first place, 5 small plants tucked away on this large rock face. Near them were a few fading Dodecatheon pulchellum and lots of gorgeous Cascadia (Saxifraga) nuttallii (it was going gangbusters in all the seeps up top). Both much more conspicuous plants. I was so relieved to have found them, that they are still there, and that I wasn’t imagining them. And I now have photos of the whole area and a GPS location so I won’t lose them again. One of these days, I’ll try to search the rest of the many rock faces up there to see if there is more. And someday, I’d like to search all the meadows since the trail cuts through only a few. Read the rest of this entry »
It feels like the season has officially begun with my first trip down Road 21 by Hills Creek Reservoir. It was so gorgeous when I got up yesterday that I decided to head out. Without prior planning, I didn’t have my printed lists or charged recorder batteries, so I scribbled some notes on a deposit slip, and took a lot of photos to try to fill out the sketchy lists I made last year for the Hills Creek Reservoir Cliffs and Youngs Flat picnic area.
It’s still early, but there was a lot started. The Crocidium multicaule are gorgeous along the cliffs with a few seeds ripening. The numerous Ribes roezlii are finishing. Lots of adorable Tonella tenella in bloom there as well. The Mimulus are all starting: M. alsinoides, guttatus, and what looks like nasutus with the much bigger leaves. I haven’t heard back from Jennifer Modliszewski, the woman doing research on M. nasutus, on the specimen I sent her from that spot. The very first few Castilleja are starting, but it will be a little longer before there is much color there. The Sedum spathulifolium are in bud with the first Orobanche uniflora blooming among them. I saw (and got photos of) at least one Moss’ elfin flying around and also a pine elfin, something I rarely see, and one Acmon blue. There were also a couple of California tortoiseshells flying around and a couple of checkered skippers, most likely two-banded because there were lots of strawberries and no Sidalcea (the host plant for the common checkered skipper). The shrubs way up on the top of the biggest cliff area were in full bloom. I still think they are Ceanothus cuneatus. They are very early bloomers (none of the other white shrubs in the area are out yet) and the gray twiggy look is pretty distinctive. I got a look with the binoculars and an okay zoom photo (above), but I’d feel a lot better about my ID if I could get closer. Where’s that jet pack I ordered! Read the rest of this entry »