More Botanizing Near Hills Creek Reservoir

The gold stars (Crocidium multicaule) were even more outstanding than the previous trip. They can continue to bloom for a long time as long as it stays moist.

We went to Many Creeks Meadow, as I was hoping to see the numerous Pacific hound’s tongue (Adelinia grandis, formerly Cynoglossum grande) that grow there. I’ve been having great luck seeding them around my property, and this is one of the best sites I know for seed (technically nutlets).

After days of weeding on my own property during another sunny stretch, I was ready to go out botanizing again before the rain returned. It’s still quite early, so on April 2 (4/2/24 for those like me who like numbers!), I headed back to the reservoir to see how things were progressing. It’s undoubtedly the best place I know in early spring as it tends to be warmer in the southeastern corner than in the rest of Lane County. Nancy Bray joined me again. After a half hour trying to weed the offending patch of shining geranium (Geranium lucidum) along the cliffs (I’d remembered a bag this time!), we spent a lovely, relaxing day enjoying the flowers and butterflies and the perfect sunny, 70° weather. We made a number of stops and hiked up the steep rocky meadow of Many Creeks Meadow off of Road 2129. We also spent a while watching birds in the reservoir. A number of mergansers, mallards, and a few buffleheads and Canada geese were foraging in the shallow waters of the southeast corner, while violet-green swallows had returned to the cliffs. Here are some photographic highlights.

While I watched ducks and geese from the bridge at the south end of the reservoir, Nancy chatted with some folks fishing from the bridge. They were apparently having a successful day catching trout and offered Nancy a couple (as a vegetarian, I didn’t even want to look at the poor dead fish). I had brought a cooler with me, but I didn’t realize I’d forgotten the ice until we went to put her fish in there. Luckily, I found an empty glass bottle in my car, and we were able to keep the fish chilled by refilling the bottle with icy cold river water several times. It always takes me a while at the beginning of spring to remember all the things to pack for an outing.

It was still quite early at Many Creeks Meadow, but there were lots of gold stars.

We saw a couple of Moss’s elfins along the cliffs where there is an abundance of broadleaf stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium), their host food plant. This one was quite fresh, with a lot more coloration than their usual drab brownish tones. It also had several cream-colored blotches, something I’ve never seen on one before.

We weren’t the only ones lunching at Everage Flat. While I enjoyed my delicious hazelnut butter, avocado, and spinach sandwich, this green comma was equally happy with dog poop—each to his own, as they say.

I was able to use the sweat trick with several different echo azures. In spite of a stiff breeze, this one returned repeatedly to my sweat-laden finger as we sat along the edge of the Willamette River at Camper’s Flat at the end of the day. I was even able to get him to move onto Nancy’s hand at one point.

On our previous trip, the giant fawn-lilies near “Ladybug Rock” weren’t open. This time the thick patches were covered with flowers.

The almost grass-like seedlings of giant fawn-lilies can be hard to spot, but often the seed shell gets stuck at the top of the leaf, making them a lot more recognizable. 

Near the fawn-lilies was a robust patch of mission bells or chocolate lilies (Fritillaria affinis). I hope I can get back to see them in bloom.

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