Monterey County Wildflowers

June 12, 2019 at 5:00 am (California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildflowers) (, )

Harlequin lupine, Lupinus stiversii

We have had six months of pleasantly cool weather with plenty of moisture in California this year, and the Memorial Day weekend was a perfect time to look for tiny treasures in the Los Padres National Forest and environs of southern Monterey County.

The harlequin lupine (above) was perhaps one of the most interesting flowers I found, and it was only in a small patch of ground. They aren’t rare, but I guess they’re also not common.

The color combination of these short lupines is unusual and lovely.

Splendid mariposa lily, Calochortus splendens

There are numerous kinds of mariposa lilies in California, and I’ve seen at least two of them.

Splendid mariposa lily, Calochortus splendens

The splendid mariposa has these white fibers on the inside.

Butterfly mariposa lily

There are several more “normal” types of lupines as well, but even with several guides I’m at a loss to narrow down the species.

I think the lupines with the white tips are Sky Lupines. Several patches of scarlet buglers were alongside the road.

I didn’t realize there were two varieties of the peach colored sticky monkeyflowers until I looked on the Monterey County wildflowers website. Apparently these are Santa Lucia sticky monkeyflowers, Diplacus linearis. When I first saw them last year, they reminded me of the Exbury azaleas common in gardens in the Pacific Northwest.

There were also several types of thistle. I’m going to do my best with the IDs but will change them if somebody more knowledgeable corrects me.

Some flowers had already gone to seed, and I’m thinking the seed display is prettier than the actual blooms. Again, I am giving these IDs my best guess.

Lace parsnip, Lomatium dasycarpum subsp. dasycarpum

Two kinds of clarkia, with one looking more like a miniature magenta poppy.

All of these flowers were on or near the Del Venturi Road that goes through Fort Hunter Liggett into the Los Padres National Forest. Here are some scenes of “The Indians” rock formations and a view off the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road.

There were many other flowers as well, and if I know the name, I’ve included it.

The male ruddy duck was displaying at Del Venturi Pond. Well, it took as much time to find IDs for these flowers as it did to make the trip and take the photos! Flowers are a lot harder than birds to identify, but far easier to photograph.

Harlequin lupine

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Pinnacles National Park – Wildflowers Second Wave

June 2, 2019 at 11:00 am (California, California Central Coast, California wildflowers, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Wildflowers) ()

Elegant clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata)

The first wave of wildflowers at Pinnacles National Park has gone by, and the second wave is going strong even though the grass has now turned brown and gone to seed.

California buckwheat

The California buckwheat was beginning to bloom, and this head was the nicest of the bunch.

Fortunately, I am the kind of person that can take an hour on a one-mile trail because every new flower or butterfly fascinates me, and I must record it via pixels.

I couldn’t get a view into the insides of the mariposa lilies because they were on the hillsides. It was odd that they seemed to grow as singles or in very small groups.

View toward the end of the road at West Entrance
Interesting rock layers on the trail I hiked by the VC

Many flowers were brand new to me, and it took me several hours after I got home and edited the photos to find IDs. I feel rather proud of that effort, although there’s no way I’ll remember the Latin names.

Soap Plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum

This soap plant flowers were actually maybe only an inch across when fully opened.

The goldenstars were also lovely and new to me.

At the turnaround point were lovely views of the pinnacles. I hoped to see a California condor, as I had seen several juveniles on my very first visit about five years ago. No luck.

There were sprinkles of Witches Hair (dodder) that added an orange complement to the flower-dotted brown landscape.

California buckwheat back-dropped by dodder

An artist or photographer often finds great joy in finding just the right angles, the most beautiful specimen, the prettiest background for the subject at hand. That means we are S..L..O..W and most folks get impatient waiting for us. That’s why I prefer to be alone on these trips.

Darkling beetle

Even though my visit was on Memorial Day, there really weren’t that many people there. Maybe because the weather the previous day had been quite cold and raw (for May). It’s amazing what you can see if you walk slowly and look closely at the hidden gems that compete with the beautiful rockscapes called The Pinnacles.

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Coyote Lake Spring

May 19, 2019 at 1:49 pm (California, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildflowers) (, )

Coyote Lake at sunset

I had an assignment in the Bay Area and on the way home I wanted to explore Henry W. Coe State Park. Unfortunately the annual backcountry weekend was limited to only a few hundred permit holders, and I didn’t realize a permit was needed even just to drive through, so I looked for somewhere else to play.

I passed by an artichoke field in San Martin. I love artichokes! (With butter, not mayo)

I found the lovely Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park, and I got the last campsite! I was surprised to see feral hogs right in the campground. These were actually in a streambed.

A yellow-billed magpie gathered craneflies for her young ‘uns.

Red-winged blackbird displays for his lady
Black-tail does

I found some wildflowers I hadn’t seen before, as well as some cool ones I was familiar with, such as this miner’s lettuce.

Hedge nettle

Fairy lanterns, also known as globe lilies ( Calochortus albus ) were numerous and fascinating.

I had to pry one open to see inside! Yellowish lupines were also common.

I took most of these photos on the road that led to the Gilroy Hot Springs, which apparently is out of commission. There was very little traffic and a joy to explore in the early evening and the next morning.

Even the little flowers of the non-native vetch added welcome color.

The small blooms of this non-native flower were also photo-worthy.

I saw two male common mergansers hanging out with a female, but before I could get a better photo a cluster of cyclists came shouting up the road, scaring them off. Then yelled at me for parking in “the middle of the road” when I was actually safely on MY side, and nobody was behind me because it was a dead end road. I was steamed! Took me awhile to get back my good vibe.

Just walking on the road brought up little treasures that I hadn’t noticed while driving, even slowly.

I’m not sure what type of rock this was, but the patterns were amazing. And the Santa Clara dudleya loved it.

Blow Wives
Bottlebrush (non-native) and Coyote Lake

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

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Malibu Wildflowers

May 12, 2019 at 2:59 pm (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, California wildflowers, Nature, Nature photography, Wildflowers)

Phacelia grandiflora

The Woolsey Fire devastated the hillsides of Malibu last year, but fires bring out wildflowers, and the hillsides in and around Newton Canyon were filled with the lovely Phacelia grandiflora, painting the hills a lovely purple.

Site of Woolsey Fire several months ago

Fires release minerals back into the soil, and often in the Spring after a fire the area is lush with greenery and flowers. Some flowers, such as the fire poppy, only bloom after the heat of the flames awaken the seeds. I was not lucky enough to see any of those.

Cardinal catchfly, Silene laciniata
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