Posts Tagged ‘Moon Point’

Youngs Rock to Moon Point

While the lower elevation meadows were drying out, this gorgeous area, off-trail just east of Youngs Rock itself, was being fueled by meltwater from the high ridge of Warner Mountain above. Both the monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus) and rosy plectritis (Plectritis congesta) were outstanding.

The Tolmie’s cats ears (Calochortus tolmiei) were outstanding at Youngs Rock. There was also quite a bit of showy tarweed (Madia elegans), but it was closing up in the afternoon.

On Saturday, June 24, Molly Juillerat and I co-led a wildflower field trip for the South Willamette Forest Collaborative, a group of people interested in restoration of the Rigdon area, southeast of Oakridge. Their previous field trip had been to see the Jim’s Creek area, which has been undergoing major restoration work for a number of years. The Youngs Rock trail starts in the Jim’s Creek area along Rigdon Road 21. We had planned to show people the wonderful trail going up to Youngs Rock starting just above the Jim’s Creek restoration area. We had pre-hiked it with some friends the previous Saturday, June 17, but when the weather forecast showed temperatures soaring above 100°F, we felt that it would be entirely too hot for an uphill climb through dry meadows and rocky habitat. Instead, we moved the trip farther uphill to Moon Point, which connects with the upper part of the Youngs Rock trail. At about 5100′, The snow there had only melted within the last few weeks, and the more or less level trail through damp meadows would be much more pleasant on such a hot day. Indeed it was a lovely day, and other than lots of mosquitoes (not aggressive, however), we had a great time. Here are a few highlights from both trips. Read the rest of this entry »

Another Currant at Moon Point

A painted lady drinks from an upturned glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum). Painted ladies are very common this spring.

A painted lady drinks from an upturned glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum). Painted ladies are very common this spring, much more so than the last few years.

Still wanting to check out more populations of glacier lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum) to see how they have been affected by the lack of snow, I decided to go to Moon Point on Friday, May 8. Happily, there were still plenty of snowmelt species in bloom in the meadows. This area is moister and less exposed than Grasshopper Meadows, and the small creeks that cross the trail were still running, although not as much as there would be in a normal year. It was certainly far drier than it was on my early trip in 2011 after a winter of heavy snow pack (see Moon Point Melting Out). There were many short, upturned glacier lilies, as I had seen recently at Grasshopper Meadows and Bristow Prairie. It seemed like there was a higher percentage of “normal” flowers with reflexed tepals, maybe half and half. Perhaps that was from the additional moisture. There were also quite a few western springbeauty (Claytonia lanceolata) and Lyall’s anemone (Anemone lyallii), although they still seemed to be less floriferous than I remember them. A number of steer’s head (Dicentra uniflora) were evident, but I only found a few remaining flowers. Read the rest of this entry »

Photographing Special Plants in Southeastern Lane County

This pretty hedgerow hairstreak was nectaring on cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum), not usually a big favorite with butterflies around here.

Many of you know Gerry Carr’s fabulous plant photos that he donates to the Oregon Flora Project Gallery, the WTU Image Collection (the Burke Herbarium’s gallery of Washington plants), and posts on his own site, Oregon Flora Image Project. If you don’t, be sure to click on the links! Trying to photograph almost every species in Oregon is a huge undertaking, and I’ve enjoyed helping Gerry find plants in the Western Cascades that he hasn’t photographed yet. Several species still on his to do list grow in the wonderful area of southeastern Lane County that I spend so much time in. It seemed like it might be the right time to find some of those late blooming plants, so on Friday, August 10, I picked Gerry up in Lowell and headed down along Hills Creek Reservoir yet again.

Mountain campion (Silene bernardina) is covered with sticky, glandular hairs. You’ll have to wait for Gerry’s exceptional closeups.

Our first stop was Moon Point. Last year we spent the whole day at Moon Point (see Moon Point Melting Out), so this trip, we were only heading to the upper part of the Youngs Rock trail, which is easier to access from the top. With thousands of plants to photograph, one must be as efficient as possible! On the way to the trail intersection, I went poking around looking for the rare green-flowered ginger (Asarum wagneri), one of Gerry’s targets last year. I was surprised to find several still in bloom and was thrilled to find a couple of ripe seeds. The common long-tailed ginger (A. caudatum) was also still displaying flowers, and I found plenty of ripe seed. I’ve posted scans of the latter in the Seed Gallery or you can click here to see the neat fleshy appendages on the seeds. While I was searching for ginger seeds, Gerry discovered his first target plant of the day, mountain campion (Silene bernardina var. rigidula). This is a rare species I’ve only seen here, at nearby Groundhog Mountain, and at Abbott Butte. Silene species are often called catchfly and, indeed, these are sticky enough to catch insects. We photographed some really nice specimens in the shade just after the split in the trails. It was a good thing we did it then because on our way back they were in the sun and had shriveled up. I’ve noticed this with the fairly common Douglas’ campion (S. douglasii). They seem to look their best on cloudy days or first thing in the morning. Not sure why this is true, but I’m sure there’s a good explanation. Read the rest of this entry »

Butterflies, Currants, Shooting Stars, and More

Another spring, another spectacular display of Jeffrey’s shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) by Moon Lake

Yesterday (June 17), my plan was to try to get up to Groundhog Mountain to look for the Douglasia I found a couple of years ago (see Exciting Cliff at Groundhog Mountain). I knew it would be a challenge, as by the time the snow melts off the roads, the Douglasia, free of snow on its vertical rocky habitat, will most likely be finished. Last year’s heavy snowpack kept me from even trying, but this year, I hoped I might make it. Alas, I got stopped by snow less than a quarter of a mile from the turnoff to Waterdog Lake. Past that, I could see the road was completely clear until it turned around to the west side of the mountain. Walking from here would add 4 miles round trip to the hike—not an option for me right now. And driving in from the north side would be even more futile. So, maybe in another week or so I’ll try again. Even if the flowers are fading, it should make estimating the population on the inaccessible cliff a lot easier than it was in the fall when I first saw it. Read the rest of this entry »

Great Gray Owl at Moon Point!

Cottongrass by Moon Lake

Spiranthes stellata, note the starry (not hooded) flowers in a single rank

Sabine and I went to Moon Point yesterday. I wanted to look more carefully around Moon Lake. We went there first taking a short cut from spur road 444 so we could wear our rubber boots and do the trail separately later in regular shoes. Only addition was Platanthera sparsiflora north of the lake. I still haven’t figured out the Potamogeton there but got some pictures and will try to learn them. There was some Parnassia cirrata and Comarum palustre in bloom and lots of pretty cottongrass. Absolutely no sign left of the Lewisia pygmaea we saw in July, but I wasn’t so surprised about that. The tiny pond had dried up as usual and had some Rorippa and tiny Plagiobothrys like I saw last year. Don’t know if I’ll ever learn those.

On our way up the road to the trailhead we stopped when I saw some Spiranthes on the roadside. It’s only the second place I’ve seen them blooming so far this season. They turned out to be Spiranthes stellata! There were about 30–40 in bloom, and when I dug one up for the Herbarium, there were half a dozen tiny plants up against it. They must make offsets. Interestingly, the article Paul Martin Brown put in the NPSO Bulletin says they have single descending tubers. The plant I dug up had multiple tubers, but the tiny vegetative plants next to it definitely had single descending tubers. The ones in my picture don’t descend because they are just too plump. None of the plants were more than maybe 9″ tall. It is a delicate thing. There was a wet ditch to the right of the creek, but that was more north-facing and in the shade. No Spiranthes there but lots of Platanthera stricta and Boykinia occidentalis, neither of which were in the sunny ditch. Read the rest of this entry »

Moon Point update

Now to the Moon Point stuff. After the little foray to the Youngs Rock trail I made it to Moon Point. First I went down to the lake and around the lower meadows nearby (I can finally get there without lost!). A few additions were some Psilocarphus, possibly a Rorippa not blooming, a little Plagiobothrys and a bunch of violet leaves which are most likely palustris. These were all in the old pond spots that have now become grassy. Lots of asters and goldenrod and some nice butterflies, but not like in July. One sad discovery was 2 damselflies “caught” by the Silene bernardina. The first one flew off after I released him from his sticky predicament. The other seemed too worn out. He had been stuck both by his feet and his abdomen. Somebody ought to make glue out of that stuff.

The real reason I’m doing a report, though, is that I found something else exciting up on the Point. It continues to amaze me how much stuff is on those rocks, and how I can keep going back and finding things I’ve never seen before. Almost at the top of the viewpoint rock is a Hieracium, which I’m pretty sure is H. greenei. It looks exactly like what I saw at Buck Canyon and Rattlesnake Mtn in the Rogue Umpqua Divide. Some surfaces are very hairy, others more felty, but all very whitish. The seeds are medium to dark brown with the usual fluff.

There was only the one, so I finally decided it was time to look for the other rocks on that side of the mountain. I’d had been looking at the sky peaking through above the meadow and wondered whether there might be more cliff over there. So I scrambled over to the corner where the ridge heads around to a more east-facing aspect and indeed, there are cliffs on the east.

On the way, I discovered 3 more Orobanche pinorum in full bloom. The usual place near the Point had only a few dead stalks. Finally on the top of this corner rock outcrop, I found what I was looking for—more Hieracium. I counted 8 plants with some flowers and 4 more small non-blooming rosettes. I didn’t go out on the point because it gets narrow and has a serious dropoff to the east. To the west, it would be possible to scramble out there safely. Another time.

The cliffs had lots more Heuchera merriamii, Penstomon rupicola, and Luina hypoleuca (still blooming). I definitely want to get back next season to see if there is Castilleja rupicola on those cliffs. I suspect so. I followed the top of cliff peeking out when possible. I was thinking probably no one knew about the cliff, but then I noticed one of the manzanitas I passed to get out to a good viewpoint had a number of branches sawed off. From there, it is only a hundred yards or so through the open woods back to the top of the meadow and down to the trail. A much easier route for next year.

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