Thursday, August 16, 2012

Good Blooms and Good Company

 Brought my two teenagers to work with me yesterday and left early enough to look for photo ops on the way.  As we passed the entrance to Gileppi Ranch, I spotted two bright yellow beacons in the roadside ditch.  Backed up for a closer look, and, much to my surprise, there was a pair of Hooker's Evening Primrose.  All the other places where I've been following this flower's progress over the summer, it has reached heights of 3 to 4 feet, bloomed moths ago, and has now willted and formed seed pods.  But these two were only around 6 inches above ground and looked "fresh as daisies."  I suspect in response to frequent weed eater visits, they have "learned" to bloom short, hoping to complete their reproductive cycle beneath the blades.  We're all familiar with this adaptation by Dandelions and a few other common visitors to our lawns.  This is the first time I've seen such extremely short Evening Primrose.  Cheer them on!
 The Madia are still blooming along the north end of Quincy Junction Road.  Check them out early in the morning.  Very beautiful under early morning light.  Across the white fence is a field of many acres of Madia (below), and by noon they all close up.  On my way home, in the early afternoon, the field looks brown and bare.  Then, the next morning it looks like this again.

 Accompanied by 14 nice people on my nature hike at Oakland Camp.  Three from my home state of Massachusetts.  Fun nostalgia exchanged.  Our first significant point of interest on our way to Gilson Creek was a large open area where we find four different species of Milkweeds.  They are mostly gone to seed, but one area with surface moisture had a nice patch of very fresh looking Narrow Leaf Milkweeds.  The same interesting visitors I've been watching all summer: Small Milkweed bugs, Aphids, Green Lacewings, and Goldenrod Crab Spiders.
 This leaf of Showy Milkweed sported a deposit of eggs, most likely from the Small Milkweed Bug since they were active on many milkweed plants in the area, although they might be from the Red Milkweed Beetle.
 One of my guests spotted a patch of the beautiful Scarlet Monkeyflower just past Gilson Creek.
                                                                      Parting Shot.

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