Archive for September, 2009
I was planning to go back to the Calapooyas yesterday, but the smoke is way too bad down there (it’s just reaching our house this afternoon!), so I decided to head to Tidbits. It had been 2 years, and I missed the place. Since most everything is done blooming, I figured I’d do some more exploring, so after watching pikas on the talus and taking in the great view at the top, I went north along the Gold Hill trail from the old cabin intersection. Once before, I went a short ways down to the first outcrop but didn’t have time for more. I only made it a mile down yesterday when, after exploring another outcrop area, I had to turn around. But just .4 mile from the intersection I was shocked to find 2 plants of Leptosiphon (Linanthus) nuttallii. It turns out James Hickman found it on Rebel Rock, but the nearest site I knew of was at Fairview and Bohemia. The Atlas shows nothing else in Linn County. The rest of my few sites are all in Douglas County.
On my way back, I went the 20 or 30 feet to the top of the ridge to see if there was more—I couldn’t believe there’d be only 2 plants. I found at least another 50 of them on the north side of the ridge. The top is partly shaded and has what looks like a 10′-high sloping wall of sorts. I followed it to the east and discovered another population of Eucephalus gormanii! The two were growing together in places. The aster was still blooming a bit (as it was at the top of the main talus slope). It is hard to count numbers of plants, but it covered about 10′ x 30′, a good-sized population in my experience.
I’ve always wanted to know what is in the rocky areas above the east end of the trail, and since the Gold Hill trail parallels it on this stretch, I figured it was a perfect time to bushwhack straight down and see if there was any more Leptosiphon. After a short stretch of woods, it opened up a bit and got rocky. There were tons of Leptosiphon here! They follow a low draw much of the way down to the trail. Perhaps the first seed landed at the top, and they have been washing down the slope ever since. Just over a rise, the next low spot had nothing but Phlox diffusa. How strange, as it didn’t seem different. I definitely have to go back to see it all in bloom next year. I love the plant and have one I bought in my rock garden. There was also some Trifolium productum in there, another addition to my Tidbits list. Although the flowers were dried out, you could still see the cute little top knot.
Yesterday I made it to the wetland NNW of Wolf Mountain and had a really good day, so it is time for another report….
I began the day trying to check out some wetland areas right off of 2308. Road 2308 itself has a big rockslide after half a mile so the first ones were a no go. I went up a little dirt road near the intersection of 2308 and 2307 to look at stuff at T22S.R4E.sec 35. There was a very boring old wetland of 5′ Scirpus microcarpus and such. The pond that shows on the maps is no longer there. But the big lake to the northeast was very nice. Not much of a wetland (unless you’re a sedgehead!), mostly tall stuff including cattails, also lots of Comarum palustre. Loads of aquatics though. The pondlilies were really tall, some of them sticking 3′ above the water. There was Sparganium with a few blossoms left, duckweed and 3 kinds of Potamogetons. I saw Potamogeton pusillus for the first time. There was lots of P. natans and some other one I couldn’t get near enough to even photograph. There’s no bank, so I had to go out on some logs to get to the open water. I scared up a bunch of yellow jackets nesting in one, and was extremely thankful they didn’t sting me. I was not so lucky last year at Bristow Prairie in almost the same situation. I was able to avoid testing my luck again by returning on a different log. In a more pleasant insect encounter, I saw a newly emerged dragonfly pumping up its wings. It was really pale. I wonder how long it takes the color to develop?
I went up to the Warfield Creek bog via Rd 2316 to Wolf Mountain. On the way up, I passed a little creek spilling down the bank with a gorgeous display of picture-perfect Parnassia cirrata. There was also a lot of faded Micranthes (Saxifraga) odontoloma. I stopped up at the top at the intersection of the spur road up to the top of Wolf Mountain. There is a great view of the wetland and also all the ridges to the north including Bunchgrass Ridge, Verdun Rock, and Mount David Douglas. I went up the Wolf Mountain Road a short ways before deciding it was a bit too rough, and I didn’t have time to move rocks to make it safer. Loads of Rainera stricta and other things. It was probably very pretty a month ago.