Wildflower Sightings Archive (2010-2011)

                                                         
2011 Reports
                                                         
September 19, 2011 - High Sierra, throughout California - As anticipation builds for Fall color, wildflowers are still blooming above 9,000 feet, notably an assortment of yellow and orange blooms in the Sweetwater Mountains north of Bridgeport.  What an amazing year!  Kahlee

September 13, 2011 - Mt. Lassen National Park, California - I just spent two days at Lassen Park and was amazed at the amount of wildflowers still blooming. Lassen is having a very late wildflower season. Lots of species and displays. Many are right along the road. I even managed to see Fawn lilies still blooming by snow melt. There are many flowers along the main road from about a mile south of the park to Kings Creek. It is worth the very short walk down to Kings Creek to see the meadow. The best displays were in the higher elevations. Some areas are definitely past peak but there are some flowers that have yet to bloom. I also hiked out to Paradise Meadow. Although past peak, there were many species in bloom and good displays along the trail by the creek and at the edges of the Meadow. The far edge of the meadow and slightly up hill from the edge were many Corn Lily, Lupine and Arrowhead Groundsel still in bloom. I even found a few Sierra Lilies in bloom.  To see photos and plant lists go to: Great Wildflowers Blooming At Lassen  Sandy Steinman

August 24, 2011 - Eastern Sierra / Owens Valley - Look for wild sunflowers and rabbit brush thrughout the Owens Valley, especially near Bishop and Lone Pine.  In the high Sierra, check for late season bloomers around Mosquito Flat and the meadows along Tioga Pass.  Kahlee

August 11, 2011 - Carson Pass, California - I just wanted to add my personal observations re: the Carson Pass wildflowers. August 3 we hiked the Meiss Meadow/Lake/Pond trail (varies depending on what book or website you read) and on August 9 (last Tuesday) hiked up to Frog Lake. The Meiss Meadow hike was the most spectacular wildflower display I have ever seen (being a hiker for 30 + years and a wildflower enthusiast for about 8 years) …just a ton of flowers all along the trail. The Frog Lake hike was also very pretty, with many many flowers…I was told by the Ranger at the information hut at Carson Pass that the truly amazing display was right past Frog Lake continuing on to Winnemucca Lake (of course, this was AFTER we had come back down already so I missed it!) He also said that this week and next were probably the peak. Either trail is well worth a trip if you love the wildflowers! Chris Mo

August 5, 2011 - A huge THANK YOU to Sandy Steinman for his generous and ongoing contributions to this Recent Wildflower Sightings page... Please check out his wonderful website:  Natural History Wanderings.

August 5, 2011 - Carson Pass/Lake Winnemucca - Wildflower report from CarsonNow  Kahlee

August 4, 2011 – Rock Creek Trail - Today we hiked from Rock Creek trailhead out through Little Lakes Valley and out to Long Lakes. After reaching the water crossing at Box Lake we took a secondary trail that followed the creek to right and went to Long Lake. We continued part way around the north shore. The trails had many flowers and many species in bloom as well as many good views. We arrived at the parking area at about 9 o’clock and got one of the last spaces available in the overflow lot. If you plan to do this hike go on a weekday and get there early. After the hike we stopped along the Rock Creek Road on the way down and revisited some of the stops from yesterday, which were now in the shade and made for better flower photography. To see photos and a plant list for Rock Creek Trail - Natural History Wanderings  Sandy

August 3, 2011 - McGee Creek Trail and Rock Creek Road - Today we hiked the McGee Creek trail as far as the second stream crossing, which is about two to two and half miles each way. Although past peak, there were still many flowers in bloom. The best area is the half-mile or so before the stream crossings, which had large displays of yellow buckwheat and red paintbrush. Look up and down the streams and check the moist shaded areas for flowers that you won’t find in the dry open areas. If you go to McGee Creek the second stream crossing is considered challenging and the bridge at the three-mile mark is down. The trail was easy up to the second crossing. It is hot so bring water, sunscreen and insect repellent. There is also one patch of stinging nettle next to the trail.

We drove up Rock Creek Road from 395 and found the flowers along the road very good starting around a drainage at 5.5 miles and at elevation 8750 feet. There is an excellent wildflower spot with many species on the left both on the road and in the woods along the drainage. At 7.2 miles and 9200 feet elevation there is a good wildflower spot on the right. The flowers continue all the way up to the Rock Creek trailhead. The trailhead was mobbed. Even though it was a weekday, no parking was to be found within a mile of the trailhead. To see plant lists and photos for today go to Eastern Sierra - Natural History Wanderings Sandy

August 2, 2011 – White Mountains – Bristlecone - The best roadside flowers are on the dirt road between Schulman and Patriarch Grove. Today in bloom were Red Penstemon, Lupine, Coyote Mint, a Senecio, Paintbrush, a matted Phlox, and Showy Penstemon. I also had two sightings of Marmot near the Schulman Grove. At the Patriarch Grove in addition to the Bristlecone there are a number of tiny flowers that are for plant lens and macro photography. I was able to identify Rosy Buckwheat or Butterballs, Alpine Paintbrush, Dwarf Alpine Daisy, two yellow aster-type composites, two species of Astragalus, and Flax. There were also White-breasted Nuthatches visiting the Bristlecone Pines. To see some photos from today go to: White Mountains - Natural History Wanderings  Sandy

August 1, 2011 - Eastern Sierra, Tioga Pass - Heading west on 120 from Lee Vining the most obvious roadside flowers are Evening Primrose, Blazing Star, Paintbrush and Red Penstemon. Our first stop of the day was Warren Canyon, which is on highway 120, seven and half miles west of 395. If you are coming from Yosemite it is at the 9000 foot sign heading east after going through the Tioga Pass gate. There is an area you can go down to on the south side of the road and get close to the creek. There we found Coyote Mint, Sulphur Buckwheat, Naked Buckwheat, Red Penstemon and our destination flower for the location Lewis’s Monkeyflower, which was abundant but beaten up by the previous day’s storm.

On the north side of the road there is a closed road sign and trail that we took a short distance. There were many species in bloom including Wallflower, Paintbrush, Sulphur Buckwheat, Showy or Alpine Penstemon (blue-purple), Scarlet Gilia, at least two Lupines, Cinquefoil, an Onion, Coyote Mint, a Phacelia, an Erigeron, Snowberry(in flower), Mules Ear, a Phlox, Dogbane, a Catchfly, Mariposa Tulips (beaten up by the storm), Ceanothus, Yarrow, a Stickweed, Meadow Goldenrod, and a Dandelion-like yellow composite. Also a group of five Clark’s Nutcrackers flew in and perched in nearby pines.

Next we headed to Ellery Lake, which is a large lake on the south side of Highway 120, nine miles west of 395. We crossed the dam to get to the other side and it was the highlight of our trip. We saw our four destination plants: Alpine Columbine, Hybrid Columbine (which is a cross between Western Columbine and Alpine Columbine), White Heather and Red Heather (much of the Red Heather was past, but there were still some in bloom). We also saw Rosy Buckwheat, a Blue-Purple Penstemon, Alpine Hulsea, Pink Pussytoes, Mt Pride, Whorled Penstemon, Sky Pilot (that was just about finished), Cinquefoils, Elephants Heads, Rosy Crown Stonecrop, Sierra Stonecrop, a white flower on the cliffs that may have been a saxifrage and a clump of a small white flower that may have been minuartia. Also another visit from a Clark’s Nutcracker.

After Crossing the dam turn left and follow the trail. There is a stream crossing but it very easy. Although you can see most flowers from the trail, it is worth a very short easy scramble up the rocks near the Columbines as you will see even more flowers. The cliffs create shade and even light and there was only minimal wind so it was ideal conditions for close-up flower photography. It was a great photographic and botanical day. To see photos from today go to: East of Yosemite - Natural History Wanderings Sandy

July 31, 2011 – Mono County - The rains continue on and off around Mono Lake. The highlight of today was the east Mono Basin, which is taking highway 120 east from 395 to see displays of the attractive and small pink oddly named Foul Odor Monkeyflower. There was also a lot of endemic Mono Lake Lupine. A more detailed report of other things I saw and photos is at: Mono Basin - Natural History Wanderings Sandy

July 30, 2011 – Bodie Hills - I was in the Bodie Hills today and there are some nice displays and a number of species in bloom, especially lupines, paintbrush and buckwheats. Most of the flowers are found at the higher elevations along Geiger Grade Road. I have posted a detailed report and some photos at: Bodie Hills - Natural History Wanderings Sandy

July 29, 2011 – Yosemite High Country – Tioga Pass - Today we drove across the Yosemite High Country on Tioga Pass road to see the bloom. Passing through Oakdale on the way there were a lot of Jimson Weed and Sunflowers in bloom. The highlight of the day was the meadow Crane Flat and another meadow just a little further down the road. There were good displays of Corn Lily and Cone Flowers. There were Alpine Lily, White Rein Orchard, Western Columbines, Sierra Stickweed, Yellow Monkeyflowers, Jeffrey's Shooting Star, Pine Violets, Coyote Mint, Horse Mint and many more. There were many flowers all along highway 120. Most prevalent were Mountain Pride Penstemon, Numerous Lupines, Naked Buckwheat, Scarlet Penstemon, Showy Penstemon, Pussy Paws, Paintbrush, Mariposa Lily, Wall Flowers and Single-stemmed Groundsel.

After going through the Tioga Pass entrance and heading towards Lee Vining there were a number of flowery areas on the north side of the road and Evening Primrose were starting to come out as well. Of special note was the area across the road from the pullout below Ellery Lake where there were great specimens of the pink Lewis's Monkeyflower and across the road from the pullout just below Warren Canyon where there was a stream lined with White Rein Orchids. To see photos and an Crane Flat area plant list go to: Yosemite High Country - Natural History Wanderings  Sandy

July 11, 2011 - Abbott's Lagoon, Pt. Reyes - It may be approaching the middle of July but the Bay Area wildflower season is not over. Many flowers are in bloom at Abbott’s Lagoon at Pt. Reyes. I hiked out to the lagoon, then went up to the bluff just before the bridge and continued a short distance along the fence at the top, and then down and over to the dunes. Except for the Gentian which was still in bud and very close, most of the summer flowers were out and blooming. There are many species to be found and I I put together a detailed plant list of all the flowers I could ID (with help). Many birds were active today as well but my bird list is rather small as my attention was mainly on the flowers. There were also mule deer and brush rabbits. It was a foggy day creating good light for wildflower photography when the winds slowed down. To see photos and plant list go to Abbott's Lagoon - Natural History Wanderings Sandy

June 3-4 - Yosemite Valley - Dogwoods throughout the area are still amazing.  In some ways more abundant than in my last visits in May.  Other wildflowers line Highway 41, including common madia, clarkia, sacred datura and others, with lots of lupine in fairly large displays around Wawona.  Plenty of wildflower varieties blooming along Highway 140 from Mariposa to the park.  There is one large patch of shooting stars in the large central meadow near Yosemite Lodge.  Should get better as temperatures warm up.  Waterfalls are already spectacular.  Kahlee

May 29, 2011 - Ring Mountain - Tiburon Mariposa Lily (Calochortus tiburonensis) is in bloom and more flowers are still in bud so it will be blooming for a while. There were also many other flowers in bloom as well. There were good views of the city of San Francisco and the prison of San Quentin. To see photos and plant list go to; Natural History Wanderings - Ring Mountain Wildflower Report  Sandy Steinman

May 23, 2011 - McClure's Beach Point Reyes - It is about one mile walking down hill to get to the beach. It was windy and sunny so not the best weather for flower photography. There were whitecaps in the ocean from when we first arrived at the Beach. On the way home there were even whitecaps inland at Nicasio Reservoir. Native Wildflowers seen included Yellow Bush Lupine, Yarrow, California Blackberry, California Poppy, California Figwort, Cow Parsnip, Hedge Nettle, Bush Monkeyflower, Seep Spring Monkeyflower, Seaside Daisy, Clarkia, Morning Glory, Cream Cups, Fernleaf Phacelia, Sea Rocket, Lizard Tail, Pearly Everlasting and two interesting plantains at the beach, Coastal Largeleaf Plantain, and Pacific Seaside Plantain. Alien flowers included Mustard, Radish, Scarlet Pimpernel and a pinkish pea or vetch. Birds included Scrub Jay, Song Sparrow, Turkey Vulture, Raven, California Quail, Brown Pelican and Western Gull.  Natural History Wanderings - Pt Reyes - McClure-Beach  Sandy Steinman

5/23/11 - Big Rock Ridge - Flowers found in pullouts on Lucas Valley Road from Big Rock Ridge to about one mile west of Big Rock: Red Delphinium, Stonecrop, Hedge Nettle, Paintbrush, Alum Root, California Figwort, Cow Parsnip, Clarkia, Thimbleberry, Lupine, Bush Monkeyflower, Chinese house, California Poppy, Yarrow, Linanthus, White Iris, and Ithuriel’s Spear.  Flowers seen on the south side of the road at Big Rock Ridge (we did not go up the fire trail) included Tarweed, Ithuriel’s Spear, Tidytips, Mule’s Ear and Yarrow. The Tidytips had some good-sized displays.  Natural History Wanderings - Big Rock Ridge  Sandy Steinman

May 16, 2011 - Ojai - Gorman - Hungry Valley - Hi all, I travelled up and over the Hwy 33 out of Ojai looking for my favorite wildflower, the mariposa lily, in the places I normally find them, in the dry badlands area north of the Topatopa Mtns. I did not find any there but later in the day on the old Ridge Route found a bunch of them, both yellow and my favorite, lavender, the most striking of all the wildflowers, in my opinion anyway.  Also found an old dead tree to shoot in B&W against a beautiful cloudy sky along Hwy 33.  Off to Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite at the end of the month.  Kahlee, there is a very nice poppy bloom on the west side of I-5 along the old frontage road on part of the Hungry Valley State Park property and the upper reaches of Gorman hills have finally bloomed, poppies, lupine, phacelia, so on.  Hope all is well.  Spencer Westbrook
 
May 15, 2011 - Point Reyes Wildflowers - This past Sunday (May 15), we did a wildflower blitz of Point Reyes. Even with periodic spurts of rain we kept going. Our goal was to scout a number of easily accessible wildflower areas and identify as many plants as possible for a friend's workshop. Plant ID is mainly from the Plant Checklist for Pt. Reyes, the CNPS plant lists for Abbott's Lagoon and Chimney Rock/Lighthouse areas, and Marin Flora. I even managed to ID a few common birds and animals. I didn't take a lot of photos and didn't use a tripod as photography was not a high priority today. I still managed to take a few photos that were not just for identification. My plant lists which are more detailed than ususal and photos are at:
Point Reyes Wildflower Blitz.  Sandy Steinman

May 14, 2011 - Tilden Park Regional Botanic Park Garden - I went to the Tilden Park Regional Botanic Park Garden of Native Plants (May 14) and did some close-up photography there. It has much in bloom and is a good time to visit. To see photos: Natural History Wanderings - Up Close With The Flowers In Tilden Park.  Sandy Steinman

May 9, 2011 - Yosemite National Park - Dogwoods are blooming in the valley with peak bloom expected in the next few days.  Kahlee

May 9, 2011 - Santa Monica Mountains - Look for the spectacular "fried egg" blooms of Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) in the Santa Monica Mountains.  You can see them cascading down the hillside below the Getty Center just north of Sunset Blvd., on the 405.  This means they are likely bloomng in other locations, most notably around the parking lot near Griffith Park Zoo and the Gene Autry Museum. Kahlee

May 2, 2011 - Eastern Sierra including Volcanic Tablelands, Alabama Hills and Southern Sierra including Indian Wells Canyon - Spent four days in the Eastern Sierra from April 28 - May 1.  The first two days were devoted to the Volcanic Tablelands where I found spectacular displays of scalebud along Casa Diablo and Fish Slough roads.  Fish Slough also has a lot of blooming Venus Blazing Star with a bit of Nama and a miniature Lupine mixed in here and there.  Very windy conditions! 

Be careful driving on these roads in the Tablelands.  While passable in a sedan with care, there are many sandy areas where you can spin out or get stuck if you're not careful.  Plenty of rocks in Casa Diablo and in Chidago Canyon so make sure you have clearance and good tires.

Alabama Hills has only a few flowers left.  Stopped by Haiwee area in Southern Owens Valley on Saturday, late afternoon . Some mariposa lilies but mainly Mojave aster, Indian paintbrush, Indigo Bush, Sierra onion, and a few others.

Visited Indian Wells Canyon in the Southern Sierra on both Saturday and Sunday.  Fair amount of wind on Saturday, but it died down enough that we could get decent landscapes.  Starting at the corral where the Owens Peak Wilderness kiosk is at the bottom and travelling up into the mountains, there are many species tucked into the brush, especially around the Joshua Tree burn area.  Flowers extend all the way up to the Owens Peak Trailhead and along the trail itself.  Definitely a high clearance road with lots of rocks, ruts, sand and other challenges.  At one point, there is a VERY narrow rocky shelf road with a steep incline that may require 4x4. 

Among the many species we saw were several kids of gilia, phacelia, blue sage, coreopsis, cream cups, miner's lettuce, blue dicks, popcorn flower, white tidy tips, bitter root, bush lupine and miniature lupine, milk vetch, Indian paintbrush, winter fat, sand blossoms, desert larkspur, beavertail cactus, golden gilia, blazing star, sun cups, and too many others to recall.  Truly a spectacular year there.  Kahlee

May 2, 2011 - Point Reyes and Big Rock Ridge - Point Reyes: The Yellow Bush Lupine bloom was outstanding in places. Cow Parsnip and California Poppies were often seen along the road. The all yellow Point Reyes Meadowfoam (Limnanthes douglassi ssp.sulpurea) twas blooming and more profuse than on previous trips. The curvy hillsides past Historic Ranch B were loaded with wildflowers. lants in bloom included Pussy Ears ( Calochortus tolmeii), California Poppies, Mule’s Ear, Douglas Iris, Buttercups, Checker Mallow, Yarrow, Hedge Nettle, Lupine, Foot-steps-of-Spring, Strawberry, Chickweed, Morning Glory, Yellow Monkey Flower, Suncups, Fiddlenecks. All of the above was next to or just off the road. 

Big Rock Ridge is a huge rock on the northern side and highest point of Lucas Valley road in Marin County. The southern side was very flowery and it is the beginning of the Big Rock Ridge Fire Road, which we followed for maybe a quarter of a mile. There were large areas of Goldfields. Also seen were Tidytips, California Poppies, Golden Monkey Flowers, Hog Fennel (lomatium), Red Maids, a yellow Triphysaria (?), Phlox, Cream Cups, Yarrow, Owl’s Clover, Plectritis and a pink clover. Lucas Valley Road also had a lot of the whitish Del Norte Iris in bloom.  To see photos and more information go to a post on my blog, Natural History Wanderings.  Sandy Steinman

May 1, 2011 - Yosemite National Park - Dogwoods - Took a drive over to Yosemite Valley on Saturday 4/30/11, to check on the dogwoods. Well, they are not ready yet, I can see the trees having lots of buds, but no blossoms. I saw only about four trees around the Yosemite store and the housing area with actual early green blossoms. Maybe in another week…  Inge Fernau

April 30, 2011 - Mines Road and Del Puerto Canyon - Today I drove Mines Road, part of San Antonio Road and Del Puerto Canyon. I started outside of Livermore, CA and took Mines Road to the junction (site of the Junction Bar and Grill) and continued for about eight miles along San Antonio Road then doubled back to the junction and took Del Puerto Canyon out to I-80 . The fields that normally have the large displays were disappointing. There were some displays of Goldfields and Tidy Tips but nothing like in the good years in the past. The grasses are coming in fast and are competing with the flowers. 

Species that were plentiful included California Poppy, White-thorn Ceanothus, Goldfields, Paintbrush, Sticky Monkey Flower, and Tidytips. To see the Tufted Poppies and Blazing Stars continue south past the junction for about seven and half miles and look at the rocky hillsides starting around 6 miles. The bright sun and strong winds made the day less than ideal for flower photography. If you want to see flowers it's worth the trip, but if you are expecting the great blooms and displays of the good years in the past you will not be happy. If you are interested in visiting Mines Road go this week as the sun, heat and wind will probably dry things out quickly. Although the road area is public, the land behind the fences is private. Please respect all fence lines and private property postings along the road.  For photos and a plant list of what I saw in bloom today, please visit my blog, Natural History WanderingsSandy Steinman

April 24, 2011 - Abbott's Lagoon, Point Reyes.  Just got back from Abbott's Lagoon in Point Reyes. There's a good variety of wildflowers out there. Yellow poppies are prominent at the trail head and along the first part of the trail. Miniature Lupines and Fiddleneck are also scattered about. Look for Checkerbloom about a half mile in before the boardwalk. Swamp Buttercup was flourishing along the boardwalk area. After the boardwalk, the Douglas Iris' started appearing. There were not any large patches of them like I've seen before at Point Reyes, but certainly enough to satisfy my needs! 

The Sand Dunes area past the end of the trail are filled with a variety of Wildflowers. There were a number of large Silver Lupines with Fiddleneck mixed in. Beach Pea, Yellow Sand Verbena and Wallflowers are also scattered about. Higher up on the Dunes, the Yellow Bush Lupine are just starting and a number of them with barely a flower yet. All in all it was a good trip. You can check out photos here on: Flickr  I hope you and others enjoy the update.  Dave Miller

April 23, 2011 - Redwood Regional Park - Today I went to Skyline Serpentine Prairie which is in Redwood Regional Park in Oakland, CA It is a restoration and protected area. Most of the area is protected by fence, but there are some flowers outside the fences, which allow for close-up photography. The most dominant flowers were Goldfields and California Poppy. Also in bloom were Blue-eyed Grass, Cream Cups, Hayfield Tarweed, Purple Sanicle, Yellow Lomatium, Yarrow, a purple pea or vetch (possibly alien),a Plectritis, Owl’s Clover, and Buttercups. Also seen were the small Presidio Clarkia (Clarkia franciscana) and a tiny whitish Lewisia. Both of these were on the downhill side just inside the fenced area. To see photos and more information go to:  Natural History WanderingsSandy Steinman

May 21, 2011 - Gorman and the Antelope Valley seem to be the current hot spots and with local rains, should be good into mid May.  Tejon has a beautiful display this year, Gorman is looking good, at least the east end behind the duck pond area, there are about a dozen egrets here as well.  Spencer Westbrook

April 21, 2011 - Indian Wells Canyon Burn Area - The bloom is still happening in the Southern Sierra despite recent cold storms.  In Indian Wells Canyon west of Inyokern, carpets of flowers cover several areas among the burned out Joshua Trees between approx. 4,000 - 8,000 feet elevation.  Creosote Ring of the CNPS Bristlecone chapter is having a wildflower hike there on Saturday, April 23rd.  For more details, be sure to check out their website: http://www.bristleconecnps.org/.

April 18, 2011 - Ridgecrest - Alabama Hills - Eastern Sierra - While I was in Ridgecrest for the Desert Wildflower Festival, I was able to get out and around to check out the wildflowers.  Very nice displays of desert dandelion were blooming in the Inyo-Kern area.  Indian Wells Canyon, Short Canyon and Aqueduct Road all have flowers as do some of the 4x4 roads around Jawbone Canyon. Highway 14 between Jawbone Canyon and the 178 has lots of apricot mallow, gold fields (getting rather crispy), hop sage and others.  The most amazing scene is north of Olancha stretching from around Cartago north to Lone Pine.  Vast carpets of sand blossoms (linanthus parryi) have turned the usually bare dirt areas lavender and white.  I don't recall ever seeing this area with so many linanthus. 

Despite other online reports, the Alabama Hills are NOT filled with flowers or anywhere near a peak bloom year.  I did see a few very nice Indian Paintbrush tucked among the rocks and some large patches of white linanthus, but none of the other flowers one would see in a good year (Mojave aster, hop sage, larkspur, brittle bush, etc).  If a significant bloom happens here at all this year, it's likely several weeks away.

Same is true of the Eastern Sierra between Independence and Big Pine.  In a good year, this area would be solidly covered with scalebud from 395 west to the Sierra foothills.  One online resource reported last Friday that a huge scalebud carpet bloom was happening now.  It's definitely NOT.  When I was there on Sunday, there were no vast fields of flowers in this area.  So far, only a relatively small section of the Highway 395 median has anything that could remotely be called a "carpet" of scalebud.

Bush Lupine are in very early stages of bloom in the Eastern Sierra foothills.  At least a week, probably two, away from peak and it's difficult to tell whether or not this will be a decent year.  My sense is no, as there were very few lupine bushes showing buds or signs of them.  No brittle bush in bloom or bud stage there either, although they do tend to show up after the lupine are done.  More snow was due to hit the high Sierra and the winds were pretty intense as I drove home.  It is one of the more unpredictable years with some flowers showing up earlier and it appears, many running late.  Kahlee

April 14, 2011 - Ridgecrest - Despite a recent unseasonally cold storm that brought snowy conditions to the Southern Sierra, wildflowers are still plentiful in a number of locations. Reports have come in that indicate Short Canyon, Nine Mile Canyon, Indian Wells Canyon and the Aqueduct Road have blooms as do the Rademacher Hills above Cerro Coso College (high clearance/4x4 recommended) and Sheep Springs (4x4 required!) This weekend is the Ridgecrest Desert Wildflower Festival and it looks like there will be nice displays of blooms to greet those visiting the area. A big "thank you" to Kathy LaShure for providing the info for this update. Kahlee

April 10, 2011 - Central Coast - Explored several areas around the Central Coast on Sunday (near Lompoc, Santa Maria, Buellton). Other than lots of mustard and wild radish, I found only a few poppies, occasional hummingbird sage, lupine (seemed stunted this year), Indian paintbrush and several other wildflowers. Definitely a less than banner year for blooms along the coast. Didn't go up to Figueroa Mtn as I figured it would be crowded after the publicity about it this week.  Kahlee

April 9, 2010 - Antelope Valley - Highways 58 and 46 - Carrizo Plain - Glorious day exploring for wildflowers. Too cold for a decent poppy show in Antelope Valley.  They were closed up, but the area was lovely nonetheless.  Local 4x4 roads yielded the most interesting views with nice vistas of the Tehachapis with snow.  Nice goldfields among the Joshua Trees.  Unfortunately, lots of trash out there.

I was out at Carrizo Saturday afternoon. I approached from the north and turned around just below Soda Lake. Goodwin Center received two inches of snow overnight.  Snow was still dusting the western foothills but had melted on the Temblors and the valley floor. Many flowers had frozen and were wilted.  Grasses have largely overtaken the wildflowers, but there still are lots of gold fields, owl's clover, tidy tips and a few others tucked in among the grasses near California Valley.

Watch where you drive!  Seven Mile Road was okay, but dirt roads around Soda Lake (as well as Simmler, Elkhorn, et al.) were impassable due to mud.  (I had fun extricating myself with 4WD near Soda Lake.  It looked okay, but my 4Runner sank in quickly.) Didn't see anything worth photographing that was easily accessible. However, if you're prepared to hike in muddy conditions, you may find some nice flowers.  Nothing like last year though. Very little color on the Temblors this Spring.

Shell Creek Road is closed to through traffic. I came in from Shandon/46 and was able to skirt the reason for the closure (a large muddy pond and water-filled ruts on the road). Not a good flower year in the area, which is probably a good thing as it will minimize traffic and allow the area to recover from all the visitors in recent years who have been less than considerate in traipsing through the flower fields.  Only a few small displays near the 58. I drove several other back roads off of 58 and 46. Last year was glorious, but nothing worth stopping to shoot this year.

There is a fabulous field of flowers on the 58, west of Lokern Road on the way to McKittrick. Lots of thistle sage, gold fields and what looked to be cream cups or possibly tidy tips, layia or scalebud. I was in a hurry to get to Carrizo, so I didn't stop. Ironically, that was the best flower field I saw all day! LOL...

If you follow 58 all the way to Santa Margarita/101, there are some sky lupine along the roads and one area with lots of pink phlox.  No grand landscapes, but macro possibilities most definitely.  Kahlee

April 5, 2011 - Ridgecrest - Indian Wells Valley - Jawbone Canyon and Northern Mojave - It was a fabulous weekend, filled with adventure and amazing flowers. The top of Indian Wells Canyon (burn area and jeep route to Mt. Owens trailhead) is just spectacular. One of the 4x4 spurs off of the Aqueduct Road right near the top of Short Canyon is carpeted with linanthus and other sprinkled with belly flowers (nama and woolly daisy???). South of Jawbone Canyon, there are big slopes covered with California poppies along with lots of Mojave aster, phacelia, scalebud, pincushion (entire hillsides of it), coreopsis, brown-eyed evening primrose, chia, bush lupine, popcorn flower, and more accessible via 4x4. A second bloom of brittlebush is just starting up there. Can’t tell if the desert trumpet is done or just starting. Bladderpod is fabulous. Also found larkspur and some kind of blazing star (???) Can’t remember them all. Glorious! Goldfields around Bowman and Brown Roads near Ridgecrest are getting crispy, but desert dandelion are hanging in.  Thistle sage is noteworthy in the hills above the college. Just wish I’d had another day or two as things are at or past peak with few exceptions.  Kahlee


April 5, 2011 - Figueroa Mountain - Here's a link to the latest report from Helen Tarbet re Figueroa Mountain.

March 29, 2011 - Central Coast - Here's a link to an article in the Santa Maria Times regarding the current wildflower bloom.  Also gives info on some upcoming activities in the area.

March 27, 2011 - Antelope Valley, Northern Mojave Desert and Eastern Sierra - The blooms are well under way in parts of the Antelope Valley. The reserve is behind schedule as is most of So Cal, but areas to the north are spectacular.  We found goldfields and poppies in abundance. Owls clover were spotted at the reserve itself, with small poppy plants and dwarf lupine.  Hwy 14 north of Mojave to Coso junction: lots of scalebud lining the highway. Between Redrock Canyon and Ridgecrest goldfield are carpeting the ground in abundance. Not much happening in Redrock itself however. No blooms on the volcanic tablelands yet.  Dave Weber

March 25, 2011 - Gorman - Carrizo Plain - I took a wildflower reconnaissance trip this (Friday) afternoon to check out Gorman and the Carrizo Plain. It was 39 degrees and raining (with snow flurries) in Gorman and there were virtually no wildflowers. I continued on to the Carrizo Plain which was also devoid of any expanses of wildflowers and it was windy and in the low 40s. Seems wildflowers are still a few weeks away for Southern California.  Nate West

March 18, 2011 - Figueroa Mountain - First report of the season is online for Figueroa Mountain in Santa Barbara County.  The fabulous Helen Tarbet, Adventure Pass Officer, Los Padres National Forest, Santa Lucia Ranger District, prepares these marvelously detailed reports.  If you'd like to get her reports directly or have questions, contact her at at 805-925-9538, ext. 246, or by email

March 17, 2011 - Montana de Oro - SLO County - Lots of poppies on the coastal terrace on the Field Ranch south of Montana de Oro, plus goldfields and mats of Amsinckia spectabilis (fiddleneck) and Astragalus nuttallii (locoweed).  In Coon Creek at Montana de Oro there are still lots of trillium, especially between the 5th and 6th bridge crossings. Lots of False Solomon's Seal, some Ceanothus griseus in full flower, Ribes glutinosum in full flower but waning, some Phacelia viscida just starting, blue dicks, indian paintbrush and more.  CNPS-SLO Chapter

March 17, 2011 - Reservoir Canyon - SLO County - Quite a few flowers but the highlight was Fritillaria ojaienses (we think) on the serpentine ridge's east side. Lots of Delphinium parryi, some poppy, goldfields, shooting stars, etc.  CNPS-SLO Chapter

March 17, 2011 - Kramer Junction - Highway 395 - Lots of flowers popping up around Kramer Junction all the way through Ridgecrest! Looked like desert dandelion and some other tiny yellow ground cover. Thought you might want to know! Nothing north of Ridgecrest yet.  Robb Hardin

March 15, 2011 - Highway 395 - Owens Valley - Randsburg - Good Morning, just got back from quick run up and down 395. Cajon Pass to Crowley Lake. Not much yet on wildflowers but scatterings of deep magenta lupine, roadside daisys, yellow ground huggers right at roadside. Not ready for specific wildflower run.  A must share for Randsburg area. On the north bound downhill run from Randsburg before Ridgecrest carpets of little yellow flowers, while the bases of the Creosote bushes have major growth of Phacelia. A study in purple and yellow plus fragrance! No trouble finding as the color jumps at you. Best location has safe parking at ORV entrance on left of hwy but no visible sign until pull off.  Mary

March 13, 2011 - Bear Valley, California.  Although it is early for most flowers at Bear Valley, you have to come early in the season if you want to see the Adobe Lily. It typically blooms mid to late March in the valley on the left side of the road before the first curve. Luck was on our side as they have started to bloom. However it was not a good photo opportunity as no plants were right by the fence, they mixed in with lots of grass, it was windy and sunny. If you want to photograph them bring your longest telephoto; if you want a close look bring binoculars. Please respect the fence lines and private property!

Also in bloom at Bear Valley and the road in were Tidytips, Manzanitas, Paintbrush, Buttercups, a yellow Lomatium, Creamcups, Gilia, Goldfields, Owl’s Clover, Fiddleneck, Johnny Tuck, Buttercup, and Red Maids. If you want to see Adobe Lilies go now, if you want lots of wildflowers and large displays wait until April.  I have photos and for more information on Bear Valley at:  Natural History Wanderings - Bear Valley Report  Sandy Steinman

March 11, 2011 - Abbott's Lagoon at Point Reyes - Flowers along the trail are coming out slowly and in no great numbers yet. The area that is most flowery is the headlands area that is above and to the south of the bridge. There are displays of Goldfields on the headlands and also Footsteps-of -Spring, California Buttercups, Hog Fennel, white form of Baby Blue-eyes and Johnny Tuck. Seen along the main trail were most of the above as well as a few California Poppy, Salmonberry, Manroot, Big Marsh Buttercup, Candy Flower, Gumplant, Starry Chickweed, a few Fiddlenecks in bud, and lots of Miners Lettuce. Even the beach was sparse as the tide was up (it was the highest I have seen it, possibly due to the tsunami) and much of it was underwater. All that were visible at the Beach were a few Gumplant, Beach Suncup and Beach Strawberry. To see photos go to:  Natural History Wanderings - Abbotts Lagoon  Sandy Steinman

March 10, 2011 - Southern Sierra / Central Valley Foothills / San Luis Obispo and Kern Counties - Still not ready for prime time. Maybe a week or two. Lots of goldfields in the western part of the valley. Some color along Caliente Bodfish Rd, but nothing noteworthy. Highway 166 - Canyons near New Cuyama have almost no flowers. Highway 58 - Little to no color as of yet. Still early for Carrizo and the Temblors as well. Some color around Bakersfield hills.

March 5, 2011 - Various Locations:  Hwy 223 - Arvin - Roadside flowers only: lupine, poppies, popcorn flowers, fiddleneck.  Grasses in the pasture have overtaken flowering plants. The usual large swaths of fiddlenecks are missing this year.  Southern Sierra Foothills - Mustard, fiddleneck, popcorn flowers, phacelia, blue dicks, goldfields and baby blue eyes are scattered about but not in large quantity (yet?)  Gorman - Too early for much yet.  Dave Weber

March 4, 2011 - Point Reyes: Chimney Rock and Lighthouse areas - Chimney Rock: Although there are no large displays, many flowers are now in bloom. The trail out to the point at Chimney Rock revealed over thirty native wildflower species in bloom. Some of the most flowery areas are right near the parking lot and the left fork of the main trail just before the point. Some of the more abundant flowers were very nice specimens of Footsteps of Spring, Douglas Iris, Wallflower, the white form of Baby-blue-eyes, Checkerbloom, Field Chickweed or Spring Snow, and California Buttercup.  Lighthouse Area: After leaving Chimney Rock if you make a left when you go to the main road on your right are some nice specimens of Seep Monkey flower. Continuing to the Lighthouse there is a good wildflower area on the hillside area behind the bathrooms at Lighthouse parking lot.  To see photos from today and plant lists go to: Natural History Wanderings  Sandy Steinman

March 4, 2011 - Interstate 10 - North of Palm Springs - The desert areas next to the highway were going off nicely by Palm Springs and windmill country.  Lots right by the road. Tons of purple and yellow. Didn't stop to see exactly what they were.  Robb Hardin

March 1, 2011 - San Luis Obispo County, Hwy. 58 - Carrizo Plain NM - As of February 26th, there are a few goldfields and Layia, and some Nemophila, but very little. Some shooting stars at Red Hill Rd., and some yellow patches (very few) in the Temblors and along Soda Lake Rd.  Needs a couple of weeks.  Dave Chipping  (Note:  There is a lot of private property along Highway 58.  Please do NOT climb over fences or trespass and be careful not to block traffic or park in unsafe pull-outs!)

February 27, 2011 - Northern San Fernando Valley California - Driving to Santa Clarita yesterday, I noticed very nice displays of Brittle Bush (Encelia Farinosa) are Spring-ing to life around Roxford near the convergence of I-5 and I-14.  I don't recommend stopping to photograph them, especially since they border the freeway.  Merely noting that they might be good early indicator of a nice bloom this year.  Kahlee

February 22, 2011 - Visalia/Central California - My buds and I scoped out the environs northeast of Visalia. In addtion to blooming almond groves, we came across large fields of mustard and a marshy area that appears to have bright yellow belly flowers (Goldfields? This early?). The belly flowers are behind a fence but photos can still be had.   Dave Weber

February 21, 2011 - Highway 99 - Central California - Here's a report for you...driving down Hwy. 99 on my way to Yosemite the median and along the freeway was thick with poppies and some other magenta colored flowers. I would have stopped, but didn't have time.  Jean Day

February 19, 2011 - Coachella Valley - There is an incredible amount of greenery on the ground in Mission Creek and Coachella Valley Preserve, which is north of Interstate 10 in Palm Springs. We did get some good rain most of Friday night/Saturday morning and most of  Saturday was cloudy so the moisture had more time to soak in. I was in Mission Creek today near Hwy 62/Pierson Road where we saw a lot of surface water and puddles. Desert Sunflowers, Sand Verbena, Brown-Eyed Primrose, Forget-Me-Nots. A few Arizona Lupine were the most visible.  John Warden

February 18, 2011 - Santa Monica Mountains - Cruising through the Sepulveda Pass this morning, I noticed lupine had started blooming, adding  lovely purple spires to the Spring color of the ceanothus on the slopes next to the 405 Freeway.  With the storm this weekend, the local hills and valleys should come alive with color soon.  Kahlee

February 15, 2011 - Highway 58 - Central California - One week ago, East Hwy 58: Just a few Milkmaids and some Fiddleneck starting to show. I also saw a few Shooting Stars. Marc Briggs

February 7, 2011 - Santa Monica Mountains - The Santa Monica Mountains are showing the first signs of Spring with beautiful ceanothus gracing the hillsides.  With our reecent warm weather, we should start seeing more species come out, but lets hope for more rain to get the wildflower season in full swing.  Kahlee
                                                         
2010 Reports
                                                         
September 25 - October 29, 2010 - Owens Valley - Eastern Sierra. I was truly fortunate to spend five weeks in the Eastern Sierra, primarily for Fall color, but I was amazed to find many wildflowers in bloom. And not just the spectacular Autumn bloomer, Rabbit Brush, but many others as well. There were a number of species I couldn't identify, along with easily recognizable Fireweed and Senna. So many landscapes throughout the Owens Valley and low to mid-elevation Sierra were covered in Rabbit Brush. Its gold coloration added tremendously to the glorious Fall colors provided by Aspens (red was really prominent this year), Cottonwoods and other foliage. It was a beautiful season that continued to amaze when I finally had to return home. Kahlee

September 11, 2010 - Abbotts Lagoon, Pt. Reyes, California - Many flowers were in bloom yesterday (9/11/10) at Abbotts Lagoon, Pt. Reyes. Poppies, Yarrow, Cow Parsnip, Lotus, Tarweeds, and alien thistles are still hanging on along the trail. Coyote bush is only starting to come into full bloom. Goldenrod, Marsh Hedge Nettle, Candy flower, and two species of Monkey flowers are in bloom along the boardwalk/marsh area. The best flowers are in the sand and dunes: Sand Verbena, Rocket, Coast Buckwheat, Pink Aquatic Knotweed, Beach Sun Cup, Mock Heather, Dune Gum Plant, Sea-bluff Lettuce, Seaside Dandelion, Curly-leaved Monardella, and even a few Seaside Daisies and Sea Thrifts. A few new to me are Heliotrope, Alkali Heath, and Beach Knotweed. Also appearing today were interesting insects, a garter snake, and birds, including Great Egrets, a Great Blue Heron, White Pelicans, a Bittern and an American Kestrel. I have posted photos on my blog Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

August 8, 2010 - Regional Parks Botanic Garden - Berkeley, California. If you are looking for a good location for summer wildflowers to photograph check, out the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Berkeley. Clarkias are among the most impressive. Several Clarkia species are in bloom throughout the garden. Also the new rock mound in the desert section is very flowery. The garden is rarely crowded. Many days are foggy this time of year providing nice even diffuse light for flower photography. To see some photos check my blog: Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

July 30 - July 31, 2010 - Carson Pass, Winnemuca Lake and Woods Lake. On 7/30, I walked from Carson Pass to Frog and Winnemucca Lakes. On 7/31, I walked from Woods Lake to Minnemucca Lake and up the hillside above Winnemucca Lake. Both walks have many species in bloom and good displays. Do go up the hillside behind Winnemucca Lake if you can as there are nice displays of the Sierra Primrose and White Heather. Go now as the bloom won’t last long too much longer. For photographers be warned that it can be windy and the sun is harsh. The largest hillside displays are between Minnemucca Lake and the woods along the Woods Lake trail. I have posted photos and plant lists on my blog Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

July 23 - 25, 2010 - Yosemite National Park - Yosemite Valley - Tioga Pass - Highway 120 - Rock Creek - Bishop Creek - Eastern Sierra. Wildflowers are still blooming in Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra, but mainly in the high country. The Valley was definitely past peak as were most of the lower elevations, but around 8,000 - 9,000 ft and up it was glorious. Tioga Pass / Hwy 120 were spectacular. (I understand that Glacier Point is looking beautiful as well.) I found meadows filled with shooting stars, lupine and many other species around White Wolf, Tuolumne Meadows and May Lake. The best displays of bush lupine were just east of Tenaya Lake. Thunderstorms have likely prolonged or enhanced the bloom.

You can also find wonderful displays at the top of McGee Creek, Rock Creek and throughout the Bishop Creek drainage (North and South Lake, and Lake Sabrina.) The small lakes and trailheads above Mammoth are also blooming. (I would imagine places like Onion Valley, even Horseshoe Meadow, Sherman Pass -- anywhere in the Sierra at high elevation. I can only imagine what one might find along the PCT or JMT right now...)

I found many different kinds of flowers in these areas including coneflowers, columbines (several colors), American bistort, monkey flowers (yellow Seep and the pink Lewis's), leopard and Kelley's lilies, Cow Parsnip, mariposa lilies, Indian paintbrush (several kinds), Sierra wild onion, Sierra and Mountain Pride penstemon (as well as purple, light yellow and red varieties I couldn't identify specifically), bog (rein?) orchids, larkspur, buckwheat, fireweed, scarlet gilia, goldenrod, alpine pussytoes, golden stars, giant blazing star, buttercups, corn lilies, Western wallflowers, jewelflower, ranger buttons, creeping phlox, carpets of some kind of miniature lupine as well as other varieties of lupine. Well worth the drive to see these beauties. Kahlee

July 19, 2010 - Tioga Pass - Tuolumne Meadows - Highway 120 - Bristlecone Pines/Patriarch Grove. Yesterday I drove over Tioga Pass Road from Lee Vining. The Blazing Star, Prickly Poppy and Evening Primrose were all in bloom. There was a pullout just before the construction started (the last part of road before Yosemite on the east side has one-way escorted traffic) that had many flowers. There were also a number of flowery pullouts on the right side of the road both before and after Tuolumne Meadows some with small streams that provided habitat for moisture loving plants. There continue to be lots of Mt. Pride Penstemon in bloom along Tioga Pass Road.

Tuolumne Meadows had a lot more flowers in bloom than five days ago but not large displays. One pullout that was especially good was west of Olmstead Point before you get to the May Lake Trailhead. I have put a plant list and some photos on my blog: Natural History Wanderings. I also posted photos of some tiny "belly plants" I saw at the Patriarch's Grove and south of Mono Lake along Highway 120. Sandy Steinman

July 17, 2010 - Eastern Sierra - Saturday, I drove up along Bishop Creek from Bishop to South Lake. Many species are in bloom with the best flowers starting around 8000 feet and continuing to the top. There is an especially nice mix of Red Columbine, Alpine Columbine and mixed hybrids of the two shortly before you get to the top. There are also a good number of blooms at the very beginning of the trail especially at the left turn off the main trail after crossing the two wooden bridges.

Sunday I hiked out McGee Creek as far as the stream that comes down from the waterfall. There were the good displays in later part of trail, especially of yellow Buckwheats and red Paintbrush; the best I have seen so far on this trip. Also lots of Sego Lilies (Calochortus bruneaunis), Scarlet Gilia, colorful Whitney’s Locoweed in fruit and many other species. I have posted plant lists and some photos from each day on my blog: Natural History Wanderings Sandy Steinman

July 17, 2010 - Pine Mountain - Ventura County. Found very pale yellow mariposa lilies on Pine Mtn, Ventura Co., on Tuesday, there were nice displays of penstemon and coyote mint as well. Spencer Westbrook

July 2, 2010 - Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Tilden Park, Berkeley, California. There were many flowers in bloom at the native plant Regional Parks Botanic Garden located in Tilden Park in Berkeley. Many Lilies and Clarkias were in bloom throughout the garden and cannot be missed. There are several Calochortus species in the bulb beds including the yellow weedii, a yellow globe lily and a white mariposa tulip. Some other flowers of note were the red Western Columbine, the white-yellow Sierra Columbine, Wooly Blue-curls, cactus, and many buckwheats. I have posted photos on my blog, Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

June 26, 2010 - Chimney Rock/Pt Reyes, Northern California - Upon arriving at Chimney Rock at first it was disheartening with lots of tall alien grasses and thistles. However, continuing down the trail to the point there were many native species in bloom. It certainly wasn't as flowery as peak season, but it was a very nice day. I identified twenty-six native species in bloom. Elephant seals are still around, not much wind in the morning and there were very few people, even on a Saturday morning. You will also seen a number of flowers on bloom on the main road at Pt. Reyes and if you go to Pt. Reyes via Lucas Valley road from Highway 101. I have posted photos, a plant list and more details on my blog: Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

6/21/2010 - Redwood Regional Park/Oakland, Northern California - On June 21, I went to Skyline Serpentine Prairie in Redwood Regional Park in Oakland to see the Presidio Clarkia, but the big surprise was finding hundreds of Yellow Mariposa Tulips (Calochortus luteus) in bloom. To see some photos and a plant list, check my blog: Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

6/19/2010 - Ring Mt. Preserve/Marin County, Northern California -There are still quite a few flowers still bloom at Ring Mt., mainly, individual flowers and small groups with lots of dried grasslands. Most plentiful were Clarkia and Common Madia. Still in bloom were nice specimens of the Tiburon Mariposa Lily. I managed to be there on a windy bright midday hike with a compact camera so I was somewhat limited. I have put a plant list and a few photos on my blog, Natural History Wanderings Sandy Steinman

6/18/2010 - Yosemite / Foresta, Central California - Took a trip up to Yosemite Friday. The Foresta fire of last September turned the landscape down Foresta Rd. into a pile of ashes. The lupines seem to love this. (Image of Foresta lupine bloom.) It was nice to see that there were other footprints in the dust AROUND the lupines and I saw no plants crushed by people. Bob Adler

6/11/2010 - Highway 138, Highway 38 / Big Bear, Southern California - Retraced route Hwy 138 east from I-15 yesterday, still all the beautiful wildflowers we saw Sunday plus found more. Several large shrubs of Wooly Pod?, tucked away just off the road where the power line access is. Look for burned post with yellow flower spires at base on the left, then hike just a few yards parellel back toward direction of road you came up on. At first white pipe fence of Los Flores ranch, on left, Lupine with flower spikes at eye level!!! Easy shots of Prickly Poppy in wash on right just before the BIG Lupine.  You can follow 138 all the way into the edge of Hesperia then turn toward Lucerne Valley and go up Hwy 18 to Big Bear where the Baldwin Lake Ecological preserve has an amazing stand of Lupine and some poppies right at the roadside. Not only beautiful but air full of perfume!  Coming out of Big Bear on 38 (or going up 38 from Mentone) large stands of Scotch/Spanish Broom, Monkey Flower clinging to the vertical rock faces, snow plants on Jenks Lake loop. We made a day of it, took our time and came back with wonderful photos. Mary Dukes

6/11/2010 - Glendora Ridge Road / Mt. Baldy Village, Southern California - I had the pleasure of driving the Glendora Ridge Road from Mt Baldy Village (north of the 210 in Upland area) all the way back to Glendora (on 6/10) and the flowers were excellent, at peak bloom. Of special note were the beautiful displays of prickly phlox in a range of colors from pastel pink to deep rose red and the beautiful displays of monkey flowers in almost pure white, pastel yellow to a deep orange all mixed along the hillsides. There were beautiful displays of indian paintbrush; also seen purple onion, stonecrop, mexican pink, baby blue eyes, and others.  There is very little traffic on this road during the week and plenty of places to pull off the road to explore. I will also mention the beautiful yucca blooms in the Mt Baldy area, some of the best I have ever seen, some being perhaps 12-15' tall in full bloom. Spencer Westbrook

6/5-6/2010 - Highway 138, Southern California - This past weekend, we wound up doing Hwy 138 on both sides of Interstate 15, heading west toward Mormon Rocks/Wrightwood/Pinon Hills, and east toward Hesperia. We went up Lone Pine Canyon Road (back way to Wrightwood) where we found gorgeous Yuccas and could pull over. Burn area but lots of interesting shots as well as Prickly Poppy, Phacelia 'bells', Fiddleneck type plant with very hairy flower spikes and pale, pale flowers; Penstemon in deep purple and blue, among others. Driving the length of 138 from the 15 to Pinon Hills and back, we found lots of pink Primrose and fuzzy blue stuff along the road but it wasn't easy to stop safely. Spikes of six foot high purple flowers right at Sheep Creek Road but we didn't chance parking. The one that got away!  Then, crossing back over 15 we went 138 to Hesperia. YELLOW California poppies, many, many clusters before & after the climb where the trains run plus a bush with yellow poppy type blooms shich we also saw on the West side with Yuccas. Korean Bar B Que in the valley had a hill of every color Cal Poppy: white, orange, rust, pink, had to be hybrids; found 6 petal, 6" high blue flowers in an open space past Los Flores ranch in the S curves on the right, only the one place but many of them and easy to photograph; found 1 small mariposa Poppy too there. Big find right before Hesperia Lake on left hill nice group of Thistle Sage.  We made a day of it, hot, need lots of water & hats but a wonderful trip. About 45 minutes from home to 138, don't think it would be worth a trip if someone had to drive far but great experience and many new finds for us! Warning: Rattlesnakes are out in abundance! Mary Dukes

5/29-31/2010 - Temecula / Santa Ysabel, Southern California - I found all kinds of wildflowers this past weekend along Hwy 79 between Temecula and Santa Ysabel Didn't get much of a chance to stop but saw California poppies, datura, several colors of penstemmon, lavender Mariposa poppies and more. Each kind had its own area staked out as you traveled the highway. Mary Dukes

5/26/2010 - Antelope Valley and Death Valley, California. Just a quick report to mention that on my return from a Death Valley outing Wednesday, May 26th, I drove through the Antelope Valley on Hwy 138 and was pleased to see such a great bloom of poppies around the Fairmont Buttes. Further west toward Quail Lake, I found more poppies, nice displays of white lupine, and scattered white mariposa lilies along the road. Death Valley proved very good especially at the basin above Wildrose campground between 4200-5000' elevation. Also found a very nice display of stream orchids at Darwin Falls. Spencer Westbrook

5/15/2010 - Abbott’s Lagoon at Pt. Reyes National Seashore, Northern California. Over fifty species of wildflowers were in bloom. California Poppies (yellow coastal form), Yellow Bush Lupine, Cow Parsnip, Big Marsh Buttercup, Beach Suncups, Yellow Sand Verbena, and Sea Thrift were especially abundant. Many flowers are still in good shape and more will be blooming over the next few weeks. I have more complete plant lists, photos and more details at my blog: : Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

5/10/2010 - Haiwee Reservoir, Owens Valley, California - The Desert Mariposa lilies (Chalochortus kennedyi) exploded this year near Haiwee Reservoir. In a standard year, one might find scattered blooms with a few clusters. This year, there were hundreds of lilies, and in some areas, they continued well out of sight in the distance. This area is DWP land, but there are numerous dirt and paved roads that allow public access as far as the gates. Please be careful as there are many kinds of "belly flowers" here and they are easily crushed underfoot if you're not paying attention. Also in the area, Mojave Aster, Indian Paintbrush, Winter Fat, Hopsage, Sierra Onion, Apricot Mallow and many others. As of 5/10, winds had taken their toll, so I'd say this area is past peak and in a state of decline from here on. Kahlee

5/8/2010 - Quail Lake, Western end of the Antelope Valley, California - Thought I would share my findings from a photo trip to the east end of the Quail Lake Hills, Antelope Valley, off 300th Ave West, back in the hills. The best field of thistle sage I have ever seen mixed with poppies and desert dandelions, and checkerbloom mallow, including a beautiful white example, mixed with a lush poppy bloom. Also found baby blue eyes and chinese houses and a 3' rattlesnake ( didn't stick around to photograph the snake). Obviously the late rains and snows at the west end of the valley have kept this bloom healthy as further east by Fairmont it is all but gone. Spencer Westbrook

5/1/2010 - Mines Road, near Livermore, California - Mines Road is in prime wildflower form. It was a very good day for flower lovers and photographers alike. The only plant we hoped to see that wasn't out yet or at least not found was Fairy Fans Clarkia brewer. There are many species in bloom and fields with large displays. To see the best displays and the Blazing Stars continue south past the junction with Del Puerto Canyon for about seven miles and half miles. Although the road area is public, the land behind the fences is private. Please respect all fence lines and private property postings along the road. For photos, a plant list and additional information please check my blog: Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

April 30, 2010 - Sunol Regional Wilderness - I did a trip to the Sunol Regional Wilderness with a group of CNPS members and docents from the Regional Parks Botanic Garden. We drove down Welch Creek Road and walked part way up Eagle View Trail. Many species were in bloom. It was a trip for flower watchers and close-up photography (when the breeze slowed down). There were no big displays of flowers. I have posted a plant list of what was seen, some photos and information on visiting Sunol on my blog: Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

4/24/10 - Eastern Sierra / Alabama Hills, near Lone Pine, California - It seems a bit early for some wildflowers at the Alabama Hills, most notably Mojave Aster, which will cover the areas around Movie Road in profusion most Springs. As of this past weekend, however, there are many species in bloom: Pincushion, Desert Trumpet, Scalebud, Desert Dandelion, Phacelia, Indian Paintbrush, Scarlet Locoweed, Evening Snow, Brown-Eyed Evening Primrose, Cobweb Thistles, Coreopsis, Gilia, Popcorn Flower, Apricot Mallow and a few Beavertail Cactus. Think of this area as a treasure hunt for pockets of blossoms rather than big obvious displays. Well worth a visit. Look for this area to improve in the next week or two. Kahlee

4/24/10 - Hell's Half Acre and Buttermilk trail in South Yuba River State Park - Hell's Half Acre is west of the Grass Valley at the intersection of Rough and Ready and Ridge Roads. It had nice displays consisting of a yellow composite (that is not Goldfields), Lupine and Johnny Tuck. Also in bloom in the area were Blue Dicks, Woodland Star and Manzanita. The Buttermilk trail in South Yuba River Park (northwest of Grass Valley) is very flowery and has many species in bloom. There are signs along the way that identify most of the species now in bloom. It is very appealing to the wildflower lover and close-up photographer. It does not have big displays, but does have many species in bloom. It is a relatively level trail and goes along the river canyon. For photos, a detailed plant list for South Yuba River and additional details check my blog: Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

4/23/2010 - Highway 14/Mojave Desert/Southern Owens Valley, California - The northern Mojave Desert from just south of Red Rock Canyon through the southern end of the Owens Valley has started to come alive with wildflowers. Primarily, you'll find a mix of Desert Dandelion, Popcorn Flower, Phacelia and Apricot Mallow. It's still a tad early for Brittle Bush, although many are blooming. Just not the usual peak displays, especially where 395 and 14 merge near Ridgecrest. No Mariposa Lilies at Haiwee yet, but I spotted a couple of Mojave Asters and some Hopsage in the early stages of bloom along with more Apricot Mallow, etc. Kahlee

4/23/2010 - Bear Valley, Northern California - I would describe this as an average year for Bear Valley. There were plenty of flowers in bloom, but not a lot of big displays as in a good year. There was an impressive display of Tidytips when you first get on Bear Valley Road on the right. There was also a very good display of Zigadene at Bear Valley. Still plenty to photograph. Some of the other flowers in bloom were Poppies, Lasthenia glabrata, Owl's clover, Yellow Lomatium, Popcorn, Gilia bicolor, Lupinus nana, Calochortus uniflora, Royal Delphinium, Cream Cups, Fiddleneck, Red Paintbrush, and Blue-eyed Grass. For photos and additional details check my blog: Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

April 21, 2010 - Gorman and the Antelope Valley, California - Gorman and the Antelope Valley seem to be the current hot spots and with local rains, should be good into mid May. The Tejon Ranch Conservancy is opening the ranch property for wildflower walks but they fill up quickly. Look under "Events." Tejon has a beautiful display this year, Gorman is looking good, at least the east end behind the duck pond area. There are about a dozen egrets here as well. Spencer Westbrook

April 17-18, 2010 - Pt. Reyes, Northern California - I just spend the weekend at Pt. Reyes. Many flower species are in bloom at Chimney Rock and near the Lighthouse parking lot. There are also lots of scenic views and the wildlife spotting opportunities as well. I have posted plant lists and some photos at my blog: Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

April 20, 2010 - Skyline Serpentine Prairie at Redwood Regional Park, Northern California - I went to the Skyline Serpentine Prairie yesterday and was quite impressed with the way it is progressing. There are many Goldfields and California Poppies. Also in flower are Blue-eyed Grass, a Catchfly, Purple Sanicle, Yellow Lomatium, Yarrow, a purple pea or vetch, Owl’s Clover, Yellow Lotus, a tiny white Lewisia (?), Cow Clover, Blue Dicks, Poison Oak and Clarkia foliage. Also identified were a Western Bluebird and Buckeye butterfly. I have posted some photos of the prairie on my blog: Natural History Wanderings. Sandy Steinman

April 19, 2010 - South Yuba State Park - I just scouted out the South Yuba State Park here in the Sierra Nevada foothills to see what was blooming. Right now there is a profusion of Bowl-tubed Iris (Iris macrosiphon), Fairy Lantern (Calochortus albus), Zig-Zag Larkspur (Delphinium patens), Shooting Star (Dodecatheon hendersonii), three variety of Lupine and at least a half dozen other wildflowers. All of these can be found along the South Yuba River on some very nice easy trails. There are still another three dozen or so beginning or yet to bloom, including the California Buckeye, Monkey Flower, Phacelias and Canyon Dudleya. There are docent led wildflower and nature walks given every weekend through May. If anyone is interested in visiting this beautiful area here is the link: South Yuba River State Park. Happy wildflower hunting! Jean Day

April 18, 2010 - Carrizo Plain, Central California. Past peak in many areas, but still significant color to be found, especially around Soda Lake and California Valley. On the other hand, large patches of larkspur throughout the park are just starting to peak and are simply gorgeous. I think this is the largest larkspur bloom I've ever seen in the area. Simmler Road is simply incredible.Kahlee

April 17, 2010 - Gorman Hills. Not as vibrant as in past years, but peak color is painting the hills at Gorman. Nice clumps of poppies near the ponds. Thick grasses have muted the colors and made it more challenging to get closeups. I saw a number of people, mainly tripod-toting photographers, climbing fences, trampling, blocking others' views from the road, etc. Please be sure to respect private property here. It's easy to view the bloom from the road and there are plenty of places to get close to the flowers without trespassing. Kahlee

April 11, 2010 - Temblor Hills. The eastern side of Highway 58 from McKittrick to Carrizo has actually improved dramatically over last week with very nice displays of phacelia, goldfields, California poppies, owl's clover, cream cups, lupine, fiddleneck, popcorn flower and many others. Carrizo is just superb. A quilt of many colors covers the Temblor Range. Kahlee

April 10, 2010 - Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. Wonderful color and many buds still waiting to pop. Winds were more intense than I hoped, but managed to get some nice shots anyway. Color in the Eastern Sierra / Owens Valley has started with amazing displays of Scalebud and Desert Dandelion near the foot of Mt. Williamson along old 395. Kahlee

April 8, 2010 - Gorman. It's still early but coreopsis is painting the hillsides gold and I noticed a few bush lupine blooming on one slope. Of course, you can view the hills from public areas, but be sure to stay on the public side of the fences. Kahlee

April 8, 2010 - Tejon Ranch and other locations, Central California - I figured I should start this off with a report on last weekend. I spent Saturday, 4/3 on the Tejon Ranch at a wildflower event sponsored by the conservancy. Incredible experience. Sunday, I checked out Highways 46 and 58 as well as Carrizo Plain NM. An incoming storm subdued the color, but the soft lighting was great for macro work. Kahlee