Saturday, March 31, 2012

Augury of Spring

Three reasons to slow down on Page Mill Road - sharp curves, bicyclists on the road, and wildflowers.
There is a curve on Page Mill Road that is covered with blossoms of Warrior's plume (aka Indian warrior, Pedicularis densiflora) for a few short weeks every spring. It is blooming right now, a bold announcement that the spring wildflower season has started.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bareheaded Bucks and a Springtime Quiz

Seven bucks in formal antler attire, Dipper Ranch sunset, Christmas 2011

It's the bareheaded season for bucks - by March they should have dropped their antlers. So far this winter, I haven't seen any brown and therefore recently-shed antlers on the ground. On the other hand, all the deer I see right now are antler-less. I play this game in late winter and spring - I try to figure out which are the does and which are the bucks by their body shapes and behavior. If I see a group of deer that are of mixed sizes, I assume it is the matriarch doe with her last two generations of daughters.  If I see a large single deer, I assume it is a lone buck. But I'm not sure, so the guessing game is actually quite fun for the next month or so.

The Columbian black-tailed buck grows and sheds its antlers every year. The antler calendar goes something like this:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Deschampsia elongata

Slender hair grass (Deschampsia elongata) with green seedheads in May
Slender hair grass (Deschampsia elongata) is a native California grass. It showed up in the yard after I trimmed back the ancient rose bushes to paint the garage.