Monday, July 25, 2011

Some Currently Blooming Flowers of Interest

As our elevation in the Sierra (3,000 - 4,000 ft.) gets drier, the spring-like feel of many of my favorite photography spots disappears. The interesting flowers and bugs are mostly near the permanent streams and lake shores. The Spiraea (top photo) is a long-lasting bloom that I see near every stream and pond lately. They're especially abundant and beautiful along Spanish Creek. A member of the Rose family, they do well in landscaping applications - long-lasting bloom and little or no maintenance required. I often photograph milkweeds and write about them here. Currently, four of the five local species are blooming and attracting lots of beetles, bees and butterflies. The Narrowleaf Milkweed (2nd photo) is the lst to bloom and is abundant on the dirt road past Oakland Camp. The first to bloom, and now already going to seed, is the Heartleaf Milkweed (3rd photo). In the same area where I photographed these milkweeds, I found a small patch of Brodiaea coronaria, AKA Harvest Brodiaea. Very short, 6" or so, and almost hidden by taller grasses, I was lucky to see these (4th photo). A new flower to me, right at the edge of my driveway, is the California Harebell, Campanula prenanthoides. These were in a very shady area so hard to photograph. The Wild Hyacinth, Dichelostemma multiflorum, after a long run of blooming are now going to seed and their swelled ovaries are photogenic. Last, I can never ignore a Goldenrod Crab Spider, especially when it is taking a meal. I found this big lady on the large Elderberry bush near the entrance to Oakland Camp, on the left just before the corral. She's been there every day for a couple of weeks, so I could reliably tell my hikers we were going to see one. This might have been our last chance, though, as practially all the flowers on this bush have dropped their petals and are going to seed. That means this spider is nearing the end of its life as an adult. Her kind were so abundant this summer, though, that i'm sure many eggs were laid and next summer will again be a good one for spiders.

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