Posts Tagged ‘Carpenter Mountain’

A Return Look at Deer Creek Meadows

The upper meadow in its full glory of monkeyflower and rosy plectritis during a break in the clouds. Looking east where there was still lots of blue sky, we didn’t realize that rain was coming in.

The floriferous roadcuts start just after you pass picturesque Fritz Creek, which was still gushing with water most likely from higher elevation melting snow.

After my earlier trip to Deer Creek Road this season (see Golden-lined Banks of Deer Creek Road), I was anxious to return and see the next stage of bloom as well as to explore the upper meadows we hadn’t had energy to do on the first trip on a hot day. On May 25, 2017, just about 3 weeks after the first trip, John Koenig and I drove out to Deer Creek Road, on what turned out to be a cooler day than we expected but a good one for climbing up the steep meadows.

We started out enjoying the lovely sunny day by walking down the road to see what was in bloom. Thompson’s mistmaiden (Romanzoffia thompsonii) and naked broomrape (Orobanche uniflora) were finishing up; silverleaf phacelia (Phacelia hastata), Menzies’ larkspur (Delphinium menziesii), and prairie star (Lithophragma parviflorum) were at peak bloom; and the big show of large-flowered blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora) was just beginning. We also needed to figure out the best way to access the upper meadows. I hadn’t tackled the eastern meadow since 2010 (see Superb Floral Display Above Deer Creek), so I had forgotten where along the steep roadcut Sabine Dutoit and I had managed to climb up. It turns out we did find the same gap in the rocks, although I didn’t recognize it until I got home and looked at my old photos (for those interesting in checking it out, it’s about 1/4 mile past Fritz Creek but bring an aerial photo as you can’t see the meadow from below). Hopefully I’ll remember the spot the next time I go up there. Read the rest of this entry »

Looking for Pollinators at Carpenter Mountain

The parking area is worth spending some time enjoying the flowers and the great view of the Three Sisters.

A checkerspot nectaring on bastard toadflax (Comandra umbellata)

Friday (July 22), I went to Carpenter Mountain for the first time in 5 years. It’s a long drive on gravel roads, but the trail is short, and I was really in the mood to just relax and take photos. I arrived to find the road near the parking area lined with flowers. I probably spent an hour just wandering about chasing butterflies, photographing flowers, and enjoying the terrific view. That’s really my kind of a day. There were lots of Castilleja hispida, Calochortus subalpinus, Penstemon cardwellii, Fragaria virginiana, and tons of perfectly blooming sticky cinquefoil (now Drymocallis glandulosa). I noticed some little green flags that appeared to marking some plots. Carpenter is part of the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, so there is a lot of research going on in the area. I wondered how I would find out what the study subject was here, when, lo and behold, a young woman drove up and started checking her plots. How convenient! It turns out she’s an OSU student studying pollinators—one of my favorite subjects—and one I was sort of studying myself when she drove up. I was trying unsuccessfully to photograph a two-banded checkered skipper frequenting the strawberries—also their caterpillar host species. I find it really interesting how many host species are good nectar species as well. I later got some so-so photos of one drinking from fading Arctostaphylos nevadensis but not from the Fragaria. She was having the same trouble I have been, trying to get some work done with all this unseasonably cold and damp weather. Read the rest of this entry »

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