Posts Tagged ‘willows’

Butterflies and More at Groundhog Mountain

Looking north from “Sundew Road”, you can see haze from smoke, but at least there was some view! Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) was blooming abundantly along the old road.

Painted ladies were abundant everywhere we went. Note the 4 or 5 circular marks along the edge of the hindwing.

The area by Groundhog Mountain has been one of my favorites for many years. What with the roads deteriorating, the oppressive heat, and the awful smoke from so many wildfires, I was afraid I wouldn’t get there this year. But on August 11, John Koenig and I took advantage of a relatively pleasant day in an otherwise nasty month and had a wonderful day up at Groundhog. There were still plenty of late-season flowers and a surprising amount of moisture after 2 months of drought. We really enjoyed it and so did the many butterflies and other insects. We spent a long day exploring Waterdog Lake, many of the wetlands, including the shallow lakes up Road 452, and what I like to call “Sundew Road”—what’s left of Road 454 on the north side of the mountain. We saw so many butterflies, moths, caterpillars, bees, dragonflies, as well as hummingbirds, frogs, and toads—too much to show it all, but here are a few highlights from our day. Read the rest of this entry »

Willows and More Blooming at Ikenick Creek

Sitka sedge (Carex aquatilis) blooming along the edge of the south pond in the northwest wetland.

Sitka sedge (Carex aquatilis) blooming along the edge of the south pond in the northwest wetland.

Crab spiders know that willows are insect pollinated and has caught an unsuspecting bee on Geyer's willow (Salix geyeriana).

Crab spiders know that willows are insect pollinated and lay in wait for prey like this unsuspecting bee on Geyer’s willow (Salix geyeriana).

On Friday (May 16), Dave Predeek and I went to check out some of the wetlands along Ikenick Creek in the Smith Ridge area. Dave is one of the few people I’ve met who was already familiar with this fascinating area. The willows were mostly still in bud two weeks ago (see Triple Treat up the McKenzie), so I thought this would be the perfect time to see them in bloom. Indeed it was. We spent most of our time exploring the large wetland just south of Road 2672. The large thickets of Geyer’s willow (Salix geyeriana) were all blooming. They are pretty easy to recognize because they have very small and relatively short catkins. In small patches near the southern end of the wetland, we found Sierra willow (Salix eastwoodiae) and Booth’s willow (S. boothii) in bloom. They both have much larger and showier flowers; the former has hairy ovaries while the latter has glabrous ovaries and fewer hairs on the leaves. I don’t think I could separate the males this time of year. Later on, the leaves of Booth’s willow are shinier, but this early they both have some hairs. Read the rest of this entry »

Triple Treat up the McKenzie

Left) A very fresh brown elfin on a male Sitka willow flower. Right) A echo (spring) azure on a female Sitka willow flower.

Left) A very fresh brown elfin (the purple scales don’t last long) on a male Sitka willow flower. Right) An echo (spring) azure on a female Sitka willow flower.

With the warm spring weather beckoning, Sabine and I headed up the McKenzie Highway on Wednesday (April 30) to see how the bloom was coming along in several favorite sites. Our first stop was to the main wetland at Ikenick Creek. I’d never been there anywhere near this early, and although there were lots of spring flowers on last spring’s early June trip (see The Stars are Shining at Ikenick Creek), I was a bit late for the willows. This year, I wanted to try to catch this area at the very beginning of the season. A few remnants of snow along the north-facing side of the road indicated it was indeed early here. The air was fantastic—so fresh and not hot yet. As soon as we got out of the car, we saw some blooming sitka willow (Salix sitchensis) by the roadside that was serving breakfast to a number of insects, including several brown elfins and echo (formerly spring) azures—an auspicious start to the day! Read the rest of this entry »

Insects and Flowers at Saddleblanket and Elk Camp Wetlands

It had been 4 weeks since I had been to the wetlands at the base of Saddleblanket Mountain and in the area near Elk Camp, so since I am trying to track the whole season of bloom there, it was time for a return visit. John Koenig had never been to the wetlands, so he accompanied me on Thursday, July 11. With John along, I took advantage of his knowledge of graminoids to try and learn a bit more about the many sedges, grasses, rushes, and woodrushes that are found in wetlands. While I can’t remember everything he showed me, I was happy to make some progress and learn to at least recognize some of the species, even if I can’t remember all their names yet.

Platanthera dilatata

We couldn’t have timed it any better for the white bog orchids, which were at peak bloom and in perfect shape.

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Back to Elk Camp Shelter—Not Once But Twice

The meadow by the Elk Camp Shelter was awash in color, with both marsh marigolds and mountain shooting stars still in their prime.

The meadow by the Elk Camp Shelter was awash in color, with both marsh marigolds and mountain shooting stars still in their prime.

After the beautiful day I had enjoying the first flowers of the season near Elk Camp Shelter last month (see Wetland Bloom Starts with a Bang Near Elk Camp Shelter), I decided I should try to come back every few weeks and follow the whole season as it progresses. I’ve thought about doing this many times, but it is hard to squeeze in so many trips to the same place, especially when there are so many great spots to visit. But this one is so easy for me to get to, and the only time I’d seen this area before this year was at the very tail end of the season, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Warfield Creek Bog report

Yesterday I made it to the wetland NNW of Wolf Mountain and had a really good day, so it is time for another report….

newly emerged dragonfly

newly emerged dragonfly

I began the day trying to check out some wetland areas right off of 2308. Road 2308 itself has a big rockslide after half a mile so the first ones were a no go. I went up a little dirt road near the intersection of 2308 and 2307 to look at stuff at T22S.R4E.sec 35. There was a very boring old wetland of 5′ Scirpus microcarpus and such. The pond that shows on the maps is no longer there. But the big lake to the northeast was very nice. Not much of a wetland (unless you’re a sedgehead!), mostly tall stuff including cattails, also lots of Comarum palustre. Loads of aquatics though. The pondlilies were really tall, some of them sticking 3′ above the water. There was Sparganium with a few blossoms left, duckweed and 3 kinds of Potamogetons. I saw Potamogeton pusillus for the first time. There was lots of P. natans and some other one I couldn’t get near enough to even photograph. There’s no bank, so I had to go out on some logs to get to the open water. I scared up a bunch of yellow jackets nesting in one, and was extremely thankful they didn’t sting me. I was not so lucky last year at Bristow Prairie in almost the same situation. I was able to avoid testing my luck again by returning on a different log. In a more pleasant insect encounter, I saw a newly emerged dragonfly pumping up its wings. It was really pale. I wonder how long it takes the color to develop?

I went up to the Warfield Creek bog via Rd 2316 to Wolf Mountain. On the way up, I passed a little creek spilling down the bank with a gorgeous display of picture-perfect Parnassia cirrata. There was also a lot of faded Micranthes (Saxifraga) odontoloma. I stopped up at the top at the intersection of the spur road up to the top of Wolf Mountain. There is a great view of the wetland and also all the ridges to the north including Bunchgrass Ridge, Verdun Rock, and Mount David Douglas. I went up the Wolf Mountain Road a short ways before deciding it was a bit too rough, and I didn’t have time to move rocks to make it safer. Loads of Rainera stricta and other things. It was probably very pretty a month ago.

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Hidden Lakes at Bristow Prairie

Another report from the Calapooyas. Yesterday, Sabine and I went back to Bristow Prairie. Things looked about the same as they did when we went last year in September, but we wanted to explore the Lane County side this time and to check out the smaller lakes in the woods. Mostly what was in bloom was goldenrod and Klamath weed, so the whole place had a pretty yellow tinge. The Veratrum has had a great bloom year everywhere and there were loads of V. insolitum hanging on as well as the more common viride and a little californicum. Last year on many of my trips it didn’t appear they had bloomed at all.

We headed straight for the main lake. The Sagittaria was in fading bloom as were the pond lilies. There was also still some Potamogeton epihydrus (I’m pretty sure of the species) with some flowers. I thought I’d seen that last year, but it was disappearing then so I wasn’t sure. We didn’t spend much time looking around the surrounding wetland, but I did see a few Spiranthes stellata and a large area of Stellaria obtusa. We saw lots more of that in damp shady areas as we continued. I had S. crispa on my list, so that was a misidentification. Unfortunately, not only did I drag Sabine on a day of nothing but bushwhacking, but I had her bring her rubber boots for the lower lakes and she lost one, and then we didn’t even need them as things were drying out. We tried but could not find it. I hope to get back earlier next year to see peak bloom. Maybe the boot will reappear when the foliage isn’t so tall!

Southwestern hidden lake at Bristow Prairie

Southwestern hidden lake at Bristow Prairie with oodles of Sagittaria cuneata, willows, Cicuta douglasii, and Spiraea douglasii

We found the lower two lakes without too much trouble although we went back a much easier way than we went down. They are only about 500′ from the bottom of the meadow. The animals obviously know the best way between the lakes and the meadow, so we followed their trail back up. The lower lakes are quite pretty. They are maybe 100′ apart and yet they didn’t have the same plants in them. The south one has tons of Sagittaria cuneata and pond lilies. The north has loads of Menyanthes trifoliata and some pond lilies but no Sagittaria. The bad news is that the southern pond is in Douglas County and the northern one in Lane. I found a swampy area just south of the south pond with a colony of Listera convallarioides. There were also a couple of plants with large, somewhat hairy, palmate leaves that I wouldn’t have guessed were Geranium richardsonii if I hadn’t just seen them blooming a few days before at Skipper Lakes. I double-checked my photos of the Geranium as well as similar plants like Trautvetteria that might be in that habitat, and it is definitely the Geranium. That of course is also on the Douglas County side. The interesting plants seem determined to stay out of Lane County! Read the rest of this entry »

Aquatics at Gordon Meadows

John Koenig, Sabine Dutoit, and I spent Tuesday (June 16) at Gordon Meadows. We found 2 unfamiliar aquatics there in the creek in several places. Might the first be Callitriche heterophylla? The second one looks kind of like some photos of Limosella aquatica, but I’d never heard of it, and it is obviously not blooming which would be helpful. Are these plants elsewhere on the Sweet Home district? They are not on the Carex WG report from 2003.

unknown aquatic

unknown aquatic in woodland creek

We had some other additions to the list: Montia fontana, Cardamine breweri, and Barbarea (1 small plant, not sure of the species, might not be the native one). We spent a lot of time looking at the willows. There are quite a few of an unfamiliar one with glaucous-backed toothed leaves, much larger than Salix geyeriana. Tall plants of it are growing near the creek in the west section of the main meadow and at the far east end of the main meadow and shorter plants in among the commutata thickets on the north edge of the main meadow. With Nick Otting’s help, we concluded it was what John suspected, Salix lasiolepis. Unusual but not precedented for the Western Cascades around there. All together we saw 4 willow species (S. geyeriana, lasiolepis, sitchensis and commutata) in the meadow complex.

It was really pretty with loads of Ranunculus populago, Dodecatheon jeffreyi, and Caltha leptosepala. Some snowbanks remained near the trail. The many species of violets were outstanding as well, especially in the east meadow. The camas was starting in a couple of places and some of the Kalmia was hanging on as well. We saw the very first Montia chamissoi in bloom in the east meadow. They are numerous in the east meadow and east end of the main meadow. They should be blooming well within a couple of weeks I’m guessing, along with all the regulars like Bistort and Pedicularis groenlandica.

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