Monday, March 5, 2012

Bear Creek, Part 6

This is the sixth in my series of reports from our recent trip to Bear Creek Falls.  As I said before, we were delighted that spring had arrived, even though it is still quite cold up here in Quincy.  In fact, more snow is forecast for tonight. 
On the sandy hillside below the falls, overlooking the spot where Bear Creek enters the Feather River, the flowers are beginning to bloom.  This is the same spot where, three weeks ago, we saw huge gatherings of Convergent Ladybird Beetles, mostly resting on Yerba Santa.  On this past Saturday, there were only a few left, but the new sources of color were the Henbit Dead Nettle (top photo), an attractive member of the mint family, and wild mustard (4th photo).  The rock walls on both sides of the falls would probably frustrate a geologist, for they were totally covered in vegetation, mostly mosses and ferns, and a few early-blooming wildflowers like the Waterfall Buttercup.  Here (2nd photo) I pictured a couple of fronds of Western Polypody, Polypodium calirhiza, which when backlit shows off its loaded sporangia.  For the third photo, I chased the Ladybird Beetle around the stick half a dozen times before it took a rest and stayed still long enough for a photo.  I can't seem to get enough beetle photos.  The last photo, I'm guessing, is of millipedes, perhaps an immature stage.  The body form and behavior seemed characteristic of millipedes, but I saw no legs.  I'm don't specialize in Myriapods, so I'm not sure what these are.  They were swarming beneath a large rock.

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