Monday, June 13, 2016

A Little Reconnaissance

 Last Thursday afternoon I took a quick drive and hike through the Butterfly Valley Botanical Preserve as a preliminary to leading a hike there on Saturday for a group of Native Plant Society people from several counties south and east of Plumas.  Predictably, the Pitcher Plants and Sundews were in bloom, and they are usually the highlight for visitors who come a long way to see this place.  But with some 500 species of plants having been identified here, not to mention the insects, spiders and birds one is likely to see, it is a remarkable place.  I have yet to visit the area without seeing at least one plant or animal I've never seen before, and this trip was no exception.
The above photo is of Leopard Lily, and they were abundant and in healthy form.  I never tired of trying to capture my best ever photo of them.
Below, is my favorite insect, or one of my 100 favorites!, the Red Milkweed Beetle.  This past week I saw them for the first time this season.  It didn't take any coaxing to get this one to crawl off a Milkweed Blossom onto my hand.  It was on a roadside patch of Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa, and it is one of the Longhorn Beetles, Family Cerambicidae.  I love how Spellcheck stresses over these Latinized words.  Fortunately, the red underscores don't show up in the final posting.
 Sometime difficult to spot amongst taller blades of true grasses, the Blue-eyed Grass (below) is a member of the Iris family and is Sisyrhinchium bellum.  The Iris family is closely related to the lilies, and some books still have it listed in the Liliaceae.  The Botanical Preserve also has lots of Yellow-eyed Grass, but I was too busy chatting with guests to take a picture.  I plan to visit again this coming week to capture it among others I missed.
 One of the most beautiful members of the Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, is the Crimson Columbine, Aquilegia formosa, below.  Soon I'll post more photos from the Saturday trip during
which I learned several new plants that were first spotted by my guests. It's great to share a hike with a group with such a great variety of experience and background knowledge.

1 comment:

  1. I took so many photos of Leopard Lily this past week that I got my photo from the FRC campus mixed up with the ones from Butterfly Valley. Oh, well, they're all beautiful!