Posts Tagged ‘lizard’

Reptiles and Insects Enjoy Spring in Rigdon Area

Coltsfoot (Petasites frigidus) was still in bloom along the Middle Fork of the Willamette. It was attracting numerous tiny flies as well as a small bee. If you haven’t smelled coltsfoot, try it, it has an unusual and pleasant menthol-like scent. That might help it attract so many pollinators.

My first official spring trip to Rigdon was on April 8, a lovely warm day. With the social distancing required because of the pandemic, I was out by myself, but I was certainly not alone. While it was still early in the season, there were plenty of the usual April flowers but also a few butterflies, bees, and an unexpected number of reptiles. Here are some photo highlights.

Just like last April (see Early Trips to Rigdon), the blooming manzanitas at Sacandaga Bluff were attracting lots of insects to the flowers, most of which had been pierced earlier by some nectar-robbing bee. This makes it easier for the other insects, like this echo azure and bee (Andrena?) to access the nectar.

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Counting Purple Milkweed at Grassy Glade

A cedar (AKA juniper) hairstreak waiting for the milkweed buds to open.

Last year we did a lot of milkweed counts, but somehow we never counted the main population at Grassy Glade, even though we all went there many times. So on May 30, Maya Goklany, volunteer coordinator for Walama Restoration, and I went to Grassy Glade to look at the milkweed. Thankfully the road in was fine shape, and it didn’t look like there was much storm damage there. The purple (or heartleaf) milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia) was just barely starting to bloom. Only a few plants had any open flowers, although several cedar hairstreaks were hanging around, hoping for some nectar from these butterfly favorites. Read the rest of this entry »

More Discoveries along the Calapooya Crest

Cascade gras-of-Parnassus (Parnassia cirrata var. intermedia) is one of my favorite wildflowers and a wonderful bonus this late in the season.

Cascade grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia cirrata var. intermedia) is one of my favorite wildflowers and a wonderful bonus this late in the season.

Ever since our early June trip to the meadow along Road 3810 on the south side of Loletta Peak (see Another Exciting Day in the Calapooyas: The Sequel), John Koenig and I had been planning to return to see the later blooming plants, especially the Cascade fringed grass-of-Parnassus (Parnassia cirrata) that we found there. Just before we had planned to go, Ed Alverson e-mailed me about the quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) we had discovered there. He’s been studying the scattered populations on the west side of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington. The timing was perfect, as we were able to take Ed along on August 12 to see the population in what we were now calling “Aspen Meadow.” We had been somewhat concerned with all the fires down in Douglas County, especially the Potter Mountain complex burning just east of Balm Mountain (thankfully not actually on Potter Mountain). But other than some drifting smoke above, we had no problems reaching our destination and enjoying what was an otherwise lovely day. Read the rest of this entry »

The Rocky Meadows of Cloverpatch

Anyone who has driven down Highway 58 toward Oakridge in Lane County has probably noticed the distinctive terraced meadows of Cloverpatch Butte across the river. The Cloverpatch Trail cuts through just a few of these, giving a small glimpse of the meadow, rock, and seep habitats found all along the south slope. Most of the meadows are well below 3000′, making this more upland prairie than subalpine meadow, but elements of both are present.

Cloverpatch Butte from the ridge to the south. The meadow with the Dodecatheon can be seen in the upper right. Most of the large meadows well below appear to be inaccessible (not that that will stop me from trying!).

The trail starts at the east end maybe halfway up (reached from TIre Creek Road 5826, 3.8 miles up from North Shore Rd 5821), bypassing the easternmost meadow by only about 50′. It then switchbacks through the woods and into several meadows in the middle before heading uphill through the woods continuing north to road 124 and the top of Cloverpatch Butte itself. At the end of February, I went to Cloverpatch hoping to find a way to the uppermost meadows at the west end. With the help of my wonderful GPS (how did we survive without all these great electronic gizmos?), I had no problem finding it. There were some dazzling drifts of Crocidium multicaule and a great view west down Lookout Point Reservoir. I had thought maybe I could check that out again yesterday, but my main goal for the day was to explore the highest meadow up to the east. I had been there a number of times before but had never done a very thorough job. Two plants of great interest to me grow up there: Dodecatheon pulchellum and Woodsia scopulina. Both are uncommon in the Western Cascades. Read the rest of this entry »

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