matching mole's wildflowers of July 1st and my wildflowers of June 11th which were quite similar. The spring flowers are gone (productively to seed), replaced by an entirely new set of summer flowers. I have identified over 35 wildflowers that were not blooming in June and only 7 that are still making an appearance.
The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Snails, fish, insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers. All are worthy additions to the bucket. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us. Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located.Follow below the orange Columbia lily to see the transformation along the Hurricane Hill trail. All photos are in lightbox mode, click on them to enlarge.
The Hurricane Hill trail is an extremely popular 3 mile roundtrip hike to a 5757 ft pinnacle of rock. The trailhead starts at about 5200 ft elevation, dips down a bit, and then climbs steadily. In spite of the crowds, we keep coming back to this trail because of my project to gather phenology data of the wildflowers over multiple seasons and various times during the seasons.
The parking lot at the trailhead was full on this summer Thursday, so we had to go back to the picnic area that serves as overflow parking. This added about .8 miles to the hike, but offered an added experience of walking a winding path through a forest with an understory dominated by White Rhododendrons in full bloom.
Back at the official trailhead, the trail emerges from the forest into lush meadows with scattered stands of trees. While I took pictures (over 250 of them!) both on the way up and the way down, I'll present the flowers as if it were a one-way, uphill trip. Different flowers appear as we climb.
Smell that? We've come into an area where the meadow on the downhill side of the trail is covered in miniature rose bushes, not over a foot tall. The effect is still to look like a meadow but smell like a rose garden. I believe that these are the same species of wild roses that grow in my yard up to 8 ft high.
On the other side of this section of trail are dry, rocky outcroppings, with sparser vegetation. One of the special plants here is the Olympic onion.
Farther along, there were more gorgeous and fascinating flowers.
The last third of the trail begins to climb in earnest, switchbacking through meadows and denning areas of the Olympic marmot. While Western bistort is not a showy flower, it populates these upper meadows and seems to go on and on as far as the eye can see.
I had been seeing a plant with white and brown tufts that I thought were seedheads, but then I heard and saw the bumblebees all over them. So I took a closer look. Yep, those are flowers afterall and they have with a vague similarity to the Silky Phacelia reported in the springtime buckets with those stamens protruding way outside the flower. Sure enough this is a relative, the Narrow-sepaled Phacelia. Thank you bees, for not letting me overlook this one!
Yes, there really is something called Locoweed, also known as Mountain oxytropis. I remember locoweed was a occasional plot device in the old westerns on TV when I was growing up. Although I don't think the writers of those scripts envisioned an alpine plant growing on Hurricane Ridge, this species apparently does produce the toxin.
The Prairie smoke (featured at the top of the bucket), also known by the common name Old man's whiskers, was found here near the top from about the last switchback on.
At the end of the trail, there is a rocky pinnacle from which hikers can admire amazing views of the Olympic Mountains, Mt. Baker, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Vancouver Island. That is if they aren't distracted by the wildflowers struggling to grow on the rocks and the chipmunks mooching food. This penstemon had a niche where few boots could stomp on it while still growing right below where hikers rest on the old stone bench at the top. The plant was a mat of foliage only a few inches tall, wrapping around the cracks and crevices in the rocks.
Here is the list of wildflower species that I've been able to identify from this hike:
Yarrow Achillea millefolium, Pale agoseris Agoseris glauca, Olympic onion Allium crenulatum, Pearly everlasting Anaphalis margaritacea, at least two kinds of Arnica Arnica sp., Western mugwort Artemisia ludoviciana, Scotch bluebell Campanula rotundifolia, White heather Cassiope mertensiana, Indian paintbrush Castilleja sp., Fireweed Chamerion angustifolium, Indian Thistle Cirsium edule, Rockslide larkspur Delphinium glareosum, Yellow coralbells Elmera racemosa, Olympic Mountain Fleabane Erigeron flettii, Wandering daisy Erigeron peregrinus, Western wallflower Erysimum capitatum, Old man's whiskers - Prairie smoke Geum triflorum, Cow parsnip Heracleum maximum, Columbia lily Lilium columbianum, Partridgefoot Luetkea pectinata, Lyall's lupine Lupinus lyalli, Lupine sp. Lupinus sp., Mountain owl clover Orthocarpus imbricatus, Mtn Oxytropis (locoweed) Oxytropis monticola, Parrot's beak Pedicularis racemosa, Narrow-sepaled Phacelia Phacelia leptosepalia, Spreading Phylox Phlox diffusa, Pink mountain heather Phyllodoce empetriformis, Alaska Rein-orchid Piperia unalascensis, Western Bistort Polygonum bistortoides, Fan-leaf cinquefoil Potentilla flabellifolia, White rhododenron Rhododendron albiflorum, Baldhip rose Rosa gymnocarpa, Dwarf bramble Rubus lasiococcus, Arrowleaf groundsel Senecio triangularis, Douglas's catchfly Silene douglasii, Rosy Spirea Spiraea splendens, Cusick's speedwell Veronica cusickiidicaule.
The upper third of the trail was also where we found most of the animal action.
We saw Olympic marmots, Olympic yellow-bellied chipmunks, probably the same collared Mountain goat that matching mole saw, Black-tailed deer, and some interesting birds.
This Horned lark was very friendly and approached us on the trail. I would have thought it was begging for food until I saw what it already had in its beak. Sorry, I don't hike with a supply of mealworms in my pack.
This grouse was standing stock still about 5 ft from the edge of the trail. Hikers were walking right past it until we stopped to take photos and created a "grouse-jam." It eventually got nervous with people stopping to watch instead of marching by and it quietly left the scene.
Your turn! What are you seeing in your immediate or extended backyards?
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