Hillside walks, 16 and 19 March 2013
It's now more than a week since we had 20 mm of rain. The filarees that appeared immediately after the rain have now nearly all gone to seed. The Camissoniopsis bistorta that was so prolific in one particular area during the week following the rain have now retreated primarily to places shaded by grass or small shrubs. Phacelia minor has staged a partial comeback of flowers, perhaps because of the rain. The first elderberry flowers have appeared.
Two plants that have been flowering prolifically since the beginning of this survey in mid January now have far fewer flowers. Golden currant is almost all gone to fruit, with just a handful of flowers. Mirabilis is still flowering well at the higher elevations, but elsewhere has many fewer flowers.
A discovery this week is a massed patch of lupines. These are very small lupines, probably Lupinus bicolor, miniature lupine.
Half way up the north hillside the way was blocked by a gopher snake, the largest I've ever seen, at least 5 ft long and thick. It simply stayed still while I found a way that didn't disturb it.
Because of starting the walk late on the Saturday, the west hillside was left for a walk on the following Tuesday. This had discoveries that weren't expected: basketbush, which I've also been calling skunkbush, and have been looking for, and now suddenly in full bloom; Danny's skullcap in three places; western nettle (discovered by unwittingly putting my hand on it); bittercress in the damp, shaded area of the steep hill; clematis (not yet sure which one); and Douiglas's nightshade. A sudden explosion of spring bloom!