Pond near Blair Lake

I spent the day at Blair Lake yesterday. I would have said “spent a relaxing day…” but while negotiating what passes for a path around the end of the lake, I discovered I’d lost my hat. I had to duck under and plow through those stinky Ribes bracteosum 3 times instead of once. Aargh. Thankfully, I did find where my hat had gotten knocked off and will be more careful next time I’m in jungle conditions like that.


A colorful meadow of bracted lousewort (Pedicularis bracteosa), elephant’s head (P. groenlandica), and celery-leaved lovage (Ligusticum apiifolium)

The flowers were lovely. The Spiraea splendens and Lilium columbianum were outstanding. Most of the meadow was white with Ligusticum. That one is still confusing me. It is not particularly leafy, like the ones that grow on my property or at Lowder, but it seems way too tall to be L. grayii. Closer to the lake, the Pedicularis groenlandica and P. bracteosa made a beautiful combination. There were lots of Platanthera dilatata as well. The many graminoids had me intrigued, so I collected some and hopefully can get more of them figured out this winter. Neither my list nor the old NPSO ones have any graminoids.

4 blues

Four blues enjoying a picnic of sweat

I also had a good time “collecting” butterflies. While there weren’t as many on the wing as I’ve seen in August, there were many blues and checkerspots and some crescents in the mud spots on the trail. With the help of some sweat (no problem with the weather as warm as it has been), I got 4 blues on my hand at the same time! Some of them even flew back on my hand when accidentally knocked off. In fact, I had a tough time convincing the northern Anna’s blue (on the left) that the party was over after 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the checkerspots and crescents weren’t as friendly. They were too nervous to partake in a free salty meal.

While I added a few minor plants to my list (Polygonum polygaloides ssp. kelloggii and P. minimum for instance), my big excitement was visiting a little pond just off to the right on your way up to Blair. You can’t see it from the road, but I’d seen it on the map long ago and had been meaning to check it out. There is a little dirt road just about 0.6 mile before you get to the intersection to go to the campground or the trailhead. You just walk down there, and it deadends shortly at a primitive campsite where you can sort of see the lake. It does have a lot of Spiraea and Salix (the same as at Blair, commutata?) which you can bushwhack through, or you can go around to the left down through a small wetland at the southeast edge which is filled with the same kind of pretty things as in the Blair meadows. But it does have things that aren’t at Blair.

pond west of Blair Lake

pond west of Blair Lake

Strangely enough, there are many Englemann spruce (Picea englemannii). I’ve never found any at Blair (which is probably what is really strange). There’s also Epilobium oregonense along the shore. But the really neat thing is the aquatics. There are blooming pond lilies, like at Blair now, and also the cutest Sagittaria cuneata. None of the leaves are much over 2” long. The ones I saw at Bradley Lake last year and several years ago at Blair Lake (across from the campground, alas those photos are gone so I can’t check them for leaf size) all had much larger leaves. I collected one, as I know at our R&E meeting we talked about how there are very few sites for it in Lane County. There was also some Sparganium, presumably angustifolium, small but with more than one staminate flower head. I had bog boots, but I sunk in a bit too much to get out the 10′ or so I needed to get decent photos and had to resort to wading in in bare feet. Although the water appeared to only be 2 or 3 inches deep, the bottom wasn’t solid. It wasn’t mud either. It must have been a mat of Carex or Eleocharis roots. It was wild, kind of like walking on a water bed. My foot only broke through once, getting me wet up over my knee. Otherwise the mat held pretty well. It will be interesting to see how much the pond shrinks later on in the summer. Have any of you been to it before?

So along with Blair itself and the little lake on the other side of the ridge along rd 730, that makes 3 sites in the area for Sagittaria cuneata. I think there is only one other site in Lane County.

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