But a few late blooming plants are present and I captured them electronically, properly documenting their moment of brilliance, so their bloom was not in vain. So, I get a little melancholy about the end of blooming season around here. I am a botanist after all. If I did not, they would take away my lifetime membership to plant-a-holics anonymous.
Without further adieu here are some beauties...
This yellow flower is the late blooming yellow Mariposa lily (Calochortus luteus). There was a meadow filled with a few dozen of these not so common bulbs but by the time I finally remembered to bring our camera only this one was remained. The rest were shriveled into brown papery wisps.
Luckily, the fairwell to spring (Clarkia rubicunda) were still in peak condition so their pictures were perfect! As their name implies they signify the end of the blooming season for most species since they flower when the ground is getting really dry.
This outcropping of common deerweed (Lotus scoparius), the yellow pea shaped flowers, and California everlasting (Gnaphalium californica), the white heads, hide the fading season. Both are hearty drought tolerant species which make it look much greener than it really is.
Wyatt sits for a little break about ten minutes up the trail. He normally does not do this. His mutiny makes little impression upon the captain who just screams, "Move it kid! You wanna get eaten by a mountain lion?"
With that statement Wyatt leaps up like a gazelle and runs down the trail then circles round and grabs my hand.
"Are the mountain lions gonna get us?" he asks wearily.
"No, only coyotes are out this time of day. And they're not going to come near us. We're too noisy for them." I respond assuringly. "And you have to let go of my hand. Your little mitts are too sweaty." His grubby, hot hands are sticky and gross. Your typical little boy hands... I let him grapple on my pinky finger instead.
"Mom, but I'm us-skared of the coyotes!" Wyatt looks ahead on the trail with a nervous expression.
"I'm just teasing you, Wyatt. Get going."
While wandering down the trail scaring all the wildlife in a half mile radius from our vicinity, we do manage to see quite a few butterflies including this one. I think it is Wyatt and Ella's mission that I see nothing in the way of small birds. While yelling back and forth to each other, my two kids swath the woodland trail and all forms of wildlife clear out. The birds know the drill by now.
Instead, we practice listening to the scrub jays and I quiz the kids on the raptors flying overhead. "What's that black bird with the point at the front edge of the wings?"
"Turkey vulture, Mom." Wyatt responds with ease. We have so many vultures in our valley they were one of the first big birds the kids learned by sight.
Wyatt can take pictures too. If not, I'd never have any photos of me and Ella together.
The kids like to take a moment to see as far as their eye can hold.
At which point I usually put Ella down and make her walk. Some times she does not want to hike and I oblige her, thus carrying her heavy weight around the whole trip. But I can use the extra work out. Other times she's a little trooper walking the downhill section of the trail with gusto. Between Ella wanting to run down the hills, walking too close to the edge of cliffs, and meandering too near the poison oak, I do worry just a little bit.
It will be another few months before she can walk the circuit both ways. Wyatt on the other hand could walk the trail with his eyes closed.
This white froth of tiny flowers is born upon the whippy stems of chamise (Adenostomata fasciculaum). A chaparral species which is resinous and highly flammable, it blooms at the middle of June and the sprays of white flowers fade fast with the climbing temperatures. Large patches of the nearly verticle hillsides are washed with the chamise in bloom, but I missed the best sections. Oops.
And finally this is yellow yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum). The botany on our favorite loop trail is done. The fireworks are over and we are pretty much flowered out for the season. No more native bloomers until next year. And I bet there may be a collective sigh from those of you tolerating my botanical foibles.
And if you want to see more outdoorsie blog posts go to A Southern Day Dreamer! I know I will be looking too.