Friday, March 29, 2013

3/29/13 Elk Viewing Very Good, Wildflowers Rebound & Resume the 2013 Bloom

Rue Anemone, Lost Valley, 2012
Rue Anemones Are Blooming
Elk viewing is very good now. This morning, in spite of morning thunderstorms, elk were out grazing. Elk love rain, so viewing should be good all weekend.

April 1 is the rough date of the annual antler drop.  I did not see any bulls without antlers, but the "drop" will happen any time now. It is illegal to collect sheds on the NPS park lands.

The wildflowers have rebounded from a second bout of winter weather. Last week I made no entry because I could not get off the mountain -- we had nearly an inch of ice on the ground. The following days were bitter cold, perhaps colder than any time in the winter with windchills as low as 8 degrees.

Twice this year wildflowers blossomed in warm weather, and were hammered by cold weather. So far as I can tell, this double reset has had little effect. The one species that is at the end of its bloom cycle is the white trout lily.  There are still small pockets of them here and there, and I am sure other wildflower venues might be at peak for this species.

Today a few species were added to the first bloom dates. Rue anemone, blood root and pale corydalis are now blooming. This is early for blood root and there are few plants. I expect a longer than usual bloom for this species because of the oddball weather patterns.  One the way now are trillium sessile. Lots baby wildflowers are evident.  The cut leaf toothworts appear to be in peak bloom.

If foliage is any indicator, this will be the best year for wildflowers in recent memory. I know the species locations of many varieties, and the footprint for them has expanded greatly. I am sure this is attributable to the rain patterns.

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