Hillside walk, 08 January 2018

The first winter storm of the season is due later today. This morning early we received 0.6 mm rain, but it has no impact on the hillside except to make the mosses greener, and to begin the process off regreening some of the liverworts.

In effect this is the last observation day of the dry winter, i.e. no rain since last winter. Tonight we have a couple of inches of rain forecast.

It's interesting how this week is different from last week. The telegraph weed (Heterotheca grandiflora) at the top of the north hillside now has no flowers and the plants are close to dead. However, the spring awakening continues, now with a good number of golden currant flowers (Ribes aureum var. gracillimum) in lower Canyon 3. In the upper reaches of Canyon 3 we have scrub oak (Quercus sp.)in bloom — that is a surprise.

Something I have become aware of in the past few weeks is that while the upper part of Canyon 5 at one time was a haven for woodrat nests, I can no longer identify any woodrat nests. What has happened to them? Has the dryness of the past year been their demise? Or is there some other cause?

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