First Trip of the Season to Bristow Prairie

While the rock garden area wasn’t quite as floriferous as usual, the east end had a lovely display of Menzies’ larkspur (Delphinium menziesii), and there were barestem lomatium in bloom everywhere.

The naked stem hawkweed (Crepis pleurocarpa) grows right in the middle of the trail.

On June 4, John Koenig and I went to Bristow Prairie in the Calapooyas. It was our first trip of the year here, but we’re planning to show this area to some folks from the Burke Herbarium in Washington in a few weeks, so we’ll be back soon.

We started our day by hiking the trail from the north trailhead (once we found it—the trail sign is now smashed under a fallen tree!). We were hoping to catch the early flowers, and there were still a few patches of snow in the road ditch, but the warm dry spring had already moved the rock garden area along. There were no exciting discoveries this trip, and there were surprisingly few butterflies or other insects for such a sunny day, but I thought I’d share some photos.

The spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa) were still looking beautiful.

This little bee was enjoying the blossoms of large-flowered blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora).

I recently bought a new higher magnification closeup lens for my camera. I was very excited to try it out on some orangetip eggs after we spotted one flying around near the road. I remembered all the eggs of the rockcress (Boechera sp.) in the area last year (see Still More Discoveries at Bristow Prairie), and was happy to see eggs on many of the plants we looked at. Apparently they usually only lay one egg per plant, so the caterpillar doesn’t run out of food.

While photographing another egg (fresher as it is still white), I noticed an aphid and a tiny beetle!

What I believe is Nevada pea (Lathyrus lanszwertii var. aridus) is more variable than the treatments describe. This is at least the third population I’ve found in the Western Cascades with leaves that range from elliptic (on the left, a picked piece that was growing a few feet away) to linear (on the right). Peas can be very confusing.

At the very end of the day, we checked out this interesting area by the road that is covered with shale. It is almost like a natural patio. It must have had a good buildup of snow to provide enough moisture for so many monkeyflowers (Erythranthe sp.) and blue-eyed Mary, and there was even a patch of blooming Thompson’s mistmaiden, which John was photographing here. I was bummed we hadn’t thought to check out this area before hiking on the trail because there were also sheets of the tiny threeleaf lewisia (Lewisia triphylla), but they were all closed up at this time of day. They must have been beautiful in the morning! Next year….

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