Carrizo Plain Wildflowers-March 3

March 6, 2019 at 6:44 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, San Luis Obispo County, Wildflowers) (, , )

Yellow hillside daisies at Carrizo Plain National Monument

It only took a week and a little more rain and cool weather, and the yellow splashes on a few hillsides spread like wet paint splattered on the landscape. While most of the wild color occurs just outside the Carrizo Plain National Monument, it is clearly visible from Soda Lake and Seven Mile Roads.

I love clouds that add depth and an ever-changing light show, and because the plain is skirted by two rows of hills, the clouds were held back just enough to allow sunlight to dapple the soft hills.

I explored Shell Creek Road that runs between State Hwys 41 and 58 on my way from Paso Robles, but there was no sign of wildflowers. It was misting lightly, but as I headed east on Hwy 58 the rain began to dissipate.


Although I’d driven that road several times in the last few months, I had never seen a herd of bison there. Are they destined to become bison burger?

Patches of the low-growing filaree, also known as the storksbill (an invasive exotic) added a touch of pinkish purple on the plain itself. I’m waiting for the more stunning phacelia, which I had seen four years ago, albeit around the third week of February.

The melodic songs of western meadowlarks filled the valley.

Mountain bluebirds never let me pull alongside them for a closer photograph, but I managed to get a few nice images.

Because of the recent rains, I was careful to avoid the treachery of puddles on the five-mile road to the Selby Campground. Some amazing rocks made me wonder if they were a natural easel for native peoples, who did leave their pictograph messages on the nearby Painted Rock (a permit is required to visit it).

Many ranches, or remnants of ranches, dot the Plain. I’m not sure if they are inholdings or part of the monument itself.

You see why I love clouds so much?

I did drive the Elkhorn Road to the Wallace Creek trailhead, but nothing dramatic has shown up yet. Just puddles and mud that glommed onto the underside of my car and stuck to the wheels before spinning off.

Western meadowlark

The meadowlarks often keep their pretty lemon breasts with the black “V” turned away from the camera when they sing.

Be careful on the Simmler and Panorama Roads – I understand they remain soft longer, and the nearest tow company is in Taft, an hour away.

The bloom should become more intense and varied in the coming weeks. I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves for now.

Intersection Seven Mile Road and State Hwy 58
Lark Sparrow

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share


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1 Comment

  1. Joyce said,

    Wow!  These are beautiful!  Thank you for your work!!

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