Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bear Creek, Part 3

Here's the next installment from yesterday's trip to Bear Creek Falls and vicinity.  It was exciting to see signs of spring.  First, we saw newly emerged leaves of a flower we knew was familiar, but which one?  The leaves in the top photo look roughly like those of some species of Delphinium, some Geraniums, and at least two local violets. A few minutes later we spotted one that was about to bloom and confirmed that it was a violet, either Viola lobata or Viola sheltonii.  Next time we visit they'll be fully blooming and it will be easier to tell what we saw.  Next, two more photos of the Ensatina I posted yesterday.  I thought I'd show what it looked like when i first tipped over the log it was under.  It was pretty well camouflaged, although those bright orange spots were a give-away.  This is a lungless salamander, Ensatina eschscholtizii, and needs to stay in or close to humid conditions as it breathes through its damp skin.
Next, the fresh green leaves and colorful buds of one of our local currants were out in force.  This always gives me a feeling of anticipation, as do many other species that will eventually produce fruits and berries.  Last, a photo of the Waterfall Buttercup, Ranunculus hystriculus.  There were several dozen of these growing among the mosses and ferns on the damp wall to the right of Bear Creek Falls.  Many more will be blooming soon.

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