Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nuts to you, and other trailside fun

 6,000 words, more or less. Sunday, March 22.

FRC Nature Trail is awakening for Spring

 The shady section of the Feather River College Nature Trail has a few spring wildflowers blooming and the early leaves of quite a few more.  Last week I walked the upper portion of the trail that gets a lot more sun and found many Shelton's Violets and Spring Whitlow Grass blooming.
 In the shady, the prettiest green spots, to me, were the young Bedstraw (above).
 I love to see the windfalls, especially the larger logs, left on the ground to host a variety of fungi, lichens, and invertebrate life as they gradually become soil over the years.  This bracket fungus on a fallen Douglas-fir was particularly impressive.
 The Gooseberries are blooming along the trail nearest the buildings of the upper campus.
 And the last thing I photographed on this day was a long Shelton's Violet.

Jay's Magical Yard

 Dutchman's Pipevine.  A most interesting vine in the Birthwort family, Aristolochiaceae.  I've only seen it in the lower reaches of the Feather River Canyon and on down to Bidwell Park.  But, my flower-loving friend Jay Wright brought a "starter" up from the canyon a few years ago, and "Voila!"  It's thriving, as it climbs on a Dogwood tree in his yard.  An interesting phenomenon: lasat year the whole vine only bore two flowers.  Today, I stopped by after receiving an excited phone call from Jay.  THere must be a thousand blossoms!
 Click on this photo for an even closer view.  This exciting-looking flower has a history of medicinal uses (as suggested by the family name) and is host to the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, and has an interesting way of briefly holding its insect pollinators captive while dusting them with pollen then releasing them to carry the pollen to other flowers.
 THe above cluster, of which there were many on this one plant, reminded me of the grape vines in front of Patti's Thunder.  Too many blossoms to count.  Very impressive.
 Another point of interest is the Fritillaries.  Jay planted one bulb a few years ago, and now he has a half dozen of these spotted flowers (above) and a few albinos (below) from the same original bulb.  We had fun speculating on how this happened.  Seeds?  Subterranean roots?  Maybe both?
 In this lasat photo, I was in the mood to play with the light.  I call it Birthwort Abstract.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Arrives on Spanish Traverse Trail

 Flowers along the Spanish Traverse and Spanish Ridge Trails in the South Park system taken Sunday, March 22.  More text in the morning.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Table Mountain, Part 5

 Descriptive Text coming soon.

Table Mountain, Part 4

 This iconic Valley Oak is the first impressive sight upon parking at the Table Mountain trail heads, that is, for people who look upward.  I must admit, I usually start off by looking at the ground as there are many species of wildflowers blooming right at the edges of the parking lot.  I showed many of these in the first few Table Mountain Posts.
 As I said in an earlier post, we were looking for Phantom Falls, but got lost.  At first we thought this was Phantom Falls, but n closer inspection found that it was not.
 A closer view shows the cave behind the base of the falls, a formation to similar to that at Phantom falls, but much smaller.
 We managed to hike down to the brink of the falls and I took this photo facing upstream. 
 At one of the many small streams we crossed, we looked for Newts.
 In the flat "table" country between creek canyons, this is a typical scene.  Concentric rings of flowers surrounding the drying up puddles from the last rains.
 I labelled this photo "Table Mountain Icons" as it shows many different species of wildflowers blooming in a relatively small space.  In places, there are acres and acres of this sort of scene.
 In one of the small woodlands between the vast open areas, the cattle gather for shade, water, and a scratching post.
Here' s Greg standing at the brink of one of the many deep canyons that cut through the mountain.

Saturday, March 21, 2015