Saturday, June 25, 2011
More From Oakland Camp
I think the most fun I've had lately as a wandering naturalist is looking for one thing and funding another. I was looking for certain species of flowers when I came across the spider (top two photos) hanging onto a blade of grass. This spider had a tendency to "play possum" when disturbed rather than run away or strike a menacing pose. The Ringneck Snake, Diadophis punctatus, was a total surprise. I used to see them often in the more humid coastal range, but I've only seen them rarely in the Sierra. This one was found dead on a dirt road by one of our visiting artists. It was still in good shape with beautiful colors, so she decided to incorporate it into a project of her paper-making class. The Salsify, Tragopogon sp., is common around Quincy - the entire Sierra at the elevation - and attracts a lot of interest from our Bay Area visitors where a purple relative is found. It's a member of the sunflower family, Asteraceae, of course, but is variously called Oyster Plant, Goat's Beard, Yellow Salsify, and who knows what else. When it goes to seed, it forms a huge puff ball of seeds like a slightly beige version of a dandelion puff ball, but at least twice as large.
The last two photos are of flowers that are both blooming at this time and are often confused with each other, The top one (5th photo from top) is Checker Bloom, a member of the mallow family, and the bottom one is Farewell-to-spring, a member of the evening primrose family. The latter is of the genus Clarkia, after William Clark of "Lewis and Clark" fame. More notes coming soon. Got to run off to an art show.