Saturday, March 9, 2013

Definitely Spring Today, Part I

 Took an early afternoon hike past Oakland Camp in the area of Gilson Creek and decided that spring has definitely arrived.  At first we were seeing only the new green leaves of various wildflowers, but no blooms.  The above photo is of one of the early violets, Viola purpurea.  Leaves of this violet were all over the south-facing hillside and I expect them to be blooming within another week or so.
 Then we saw many clusters of leaves of the California buttercup (above).  These get rather tall before they bloom, so I thought it might be a few more weeks before we saw any blooms, then my wife spotted one blooming.  Amongst the buttercups there were many early leaves of the Sticky Cinqefoil (below). 
 This blooming buttercup was only a foot above the ground, so maybe lots of them will be blooming soon.  This plant had at least a dozen buds beside the one bloom shown here.
 We found a sunny place on a hillside around 100' above the railroad tracks and decided to sit down and do some sketching.  My sat right in a patch of the tiny Spring Whitlow Grass.  This tiny member of the mustard family, Brassicaceae, is always one of the earliest bloomers around these parts.
The Greenleaf Manzanita were blooming plentifully and didn't look at all like they'd braved a recent snowstorm.  Yes, spring is here.  Part two of this report will follow shortly.

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