Friday, June 9, 2017

A Boggy Day

 I received a guest from France today.  He discovered the Mountain Lady's Slippers on my blog and asked if I could show him around if he were to visit Quincy on his adventure of trying to photograph all of California's wild orchids.  He scheduled his trip on this date based on my photos earlier this month and my hopes that the Lady's Slippers would still be photogenic by now.  Unfortunately, most of them at my main viewing spot had wilted badly by early this week.  We undertook our search anyway - in the rain.  Flavien presented me with a book in French, a field guide to the Orchids of France.  I'll need to get serious about reviewing my high school French of get help from a colleague who is fluent in French.  Meanwhile, the photos are beautiful.  The book resembles our Audubon and Peterson field guides, and the Latin names of the flowers are the universal language of biological nomenclature.  We went out to the vicinity of Oakland Camp and photographed the wilted orchids, then Flavien with his sharp eye spotted one I had overlooked that was still pretty fresh, definitely photogenic.  We then drove out to the Butterfly Valley Botanical area that is famous for its carnivorous plants but also hosts around a dozen species of orchids.  We didn't have much luck in finding orchids blooming, but come across a great patch of blooming Bear Grass (above and below), a lily that has been an important plant to the nature Maidu people for hundreds of years.  Perhaps thousands.

 Here's Flavien, like me a person trained in science but not botany.  He has been focused on physics and math in his formal education and I was a zoology major.  We are both mostly self-taught in plant identification and natural history, and are both interested in writing.
I found it interesting the the cycles of blooming wildflowers out by Oakland Camp seem to be peaking earlier every year, but the bog at Butterfly Botanical Area seems to be behind schedule.  While the Pitcher Plants, Darlingtonia, were in full bloom, there were very few of the lilies or orchids blooming that were blooming on this date the pst few years I've checked.  It was great to see the Bear Grass, though, and lots of Blue Camas lilies.  I didn't take many photos, but intend to go back on the next sunny day.  We did come back to Quincy to explore one of my relatively secret spots to find some blooming Stream Orchids (below).
Sustenance on our hike was provided by croissants purchased at the bakery in Carey Candy Company, and Flavien was impressed.
So far in June I've managed to average one post per day.  I have accumulated many more photos these past two weeks and will be posting lots more when I get time to hang out at one of our few Internet hot spots.  Service at home is pathetically slow.  Until tomorrow....

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