Bear Creek Road Wildflower Hunt, 04-21-23

I got up around 6:00 again this morning, and got myself and my dog Esteban ready to spend the day with my friend and fellow Naturalist, Roxanne, looking for wildflowers. We took Highway 16 West to Highway 20 and then onto Bear Valley Road. We had been warned that Bear Valley Road, which is a dirt road, was in terrible shape and very rutted, but we got lucky and the road was actually newly scraped with some new gravel laid down at the head of it… so, relatively smooth going.

There were so many flowers to look at along Highway 16 that we had to stop in several spots to look around. There were flowering ash trees and Buckbrush, Yellow globe lilies (Diogenes’ Lanterns), Yerba Santa, Orange Bush Monkeyflowers, Mule’s Ears, Blue Dicks and Ithuriel’s Spears, Purple Owl’s Clover, several different kinds of lupine, and Pipestem Clematis, among others.

We also found a few galls including some petiole galls and a new-to-me Club Gall on the oak trees.

As an aside: In the Spring Gall Week 2023 challenge, I’m number 28 in a field of 262. Pretty good, if I do say so myself. And I did it without “cheating”, like some of the other participants did.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos from Highway 16 and 20 today.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos from Bear Valley Road itself.

We continued on to Bear Valley Road and were greeted with even more flowers including fields of Goldfields and Blue Dicks, roadside stands of a mix of Owl’s Clover, Creamcups, Sanicle, Tidytips and more. There were also hillsides covered in poppies and/or Phacelia. Breathtaking stuff!

Saw a few birds, including a pair of Mallards in the creek, some Red-Winged Blackbirds, Scrub Jays and a Bald Eagle flying through the valley along the creek line. I didn’t get any photos of it, but I did get video snippets of a quail and some Cliff Swallows.

We had a wonderful, if very long, day and saw so much! I took over 900 photos! [Don’t worry; I’m not putting all of them in the album. ] We didn’t get back home until around 6:00 PM.

This was hike #20 in my#52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Ash Tree, California Ash, Fraxinus dipetala
  2. Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  3. Bee Fly, Cone-Snout Bee Fly, Conophorus fenestratus
  4. Bee Fly, Family: Bombyliidae
  5. Bee, European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  6. Bird’s-Eye Gilia, Gilia tricolor
  7. Bird’s-Foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus
  8. Blow Wives, Achyrachaena mollis
  9. Blue Dicks, Dipterostemon capitatus ssp. capitatus
  10. Blue Dock Beetle Gastrophysa cyanea
  11. Buckbrush, Ceanothus cuneatus
  12. Butter-and-Eggs, Johnnytuck, Triphysaria eriantha
  13. Buttercup, Western Buttercup, Ranunculus occidentalis
  14. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  15. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  16. California Mustard, Caulanthus lasiophyllus [white]
  17. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  18. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  19. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  20. Catchfly, Small-Flowered Catchfly, Silene gallica
  21. Cattail, Narrow-Leaf Cattail, Typha angustifolia
  22. Cattle, Black Angus, Bos taurus var. Black Angus [domesticated]
  23. Cattle, Black Hereford, Bos taurus var. Black Hereford [domesticated, black with white face]
  24. Chia, Salvia columbariae
  25. Chinese Houses, Purple Chinese Houses, Collinsia heterophylla
  26. Clover, Cowbag Clover, Trifolium depauperatum
  27. Clover, Purple Owl’s Clover, Castilleja exserta var. exserta
  28. Clover, Tomcat Clover, Trifolium willdenovii
  29. Club Gall Wasp, Bisexual, Spring Generation, Andricus coortus [terminal bud gall on live oak]  
  30. Cobwebby Thistle, Cirsium occidentale
  31. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  32. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  33. Creamcups, Platystemon californicus
  34. Dodder, California Dodder, Cuscuta californica
  35. Dog, Canis lupus familiaris
  36. Dudleya, Canyon Liveforever, Dudleya cymosa
  37. Fern, Bird’s Foot Cliffbrake, Pellaea mucronata
  38. Fiddleneck, Common Fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii
  39. Foothill Deervetch, Acmispon brachycarpus
  40. Fringepod, Sand Fringepod, Thysanocarpus curvipes
  41. Globe Lily, Diogenes’ Lantern, Calochortus amabilis [yellow]
  42. Goldfields, California Goldfields, Lasthenia californica
  43. Grasses, Bulbous Bluegrass, Poa bulbosa
  44. Grasses, Compact Brome, Bromus madritensis
  45. Grasses, Pink Grass, Windmill Pink, Hairypink, Petrorhagia dubia
  46. Grasses, Wild Oat, Avena fatua
  47. Hairy Hawkbit, Leontodon saxatilis [yellow]
  48. Ithuriel’s Spear, Triteleia laxa
  49. Kermes, Allokermes sp.
  50. Larkspur, Royal Larkspur, Delphinium variegatum [deep purple-blue]
  51. Leaf Gall Wasp/ Unidentified per Russo, Tribe: Cynipidea [on Valley Oak]
  52. Live Oak Folded Leaf Aphid, Stegophylla essigi [in live oaks, folds the leaf over itself; sometimes the leaf turns red/reddish]
  53. Live Oak Petiole Gall Wasp, Melikaiella flora [can also show up in the midvein]
  54. Lomatium, Foothill Desert-Parsley, Lomatium utriculatum
  55. Longhorn Seablush, Plectritis macrocera [white]
  56. Lupine, Arroyo Lupine, Lupinus succulentus [dark, almost purple]
  57. Lupine, Silver Bush Lupine, Lupinus albifrons var. albifrons
  58. Lupine, Chick Lupine, Lupinus microcarpus [yellow, white]
  59. Lupine, Miniature Lupine, Lupinus bicolor
  60. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  61. Manroot, Chilicothe, Marah macrocarpa
  62. Manzanita, Common Manzanita, Arctostaphylos manzanita
  63. Meshweaver Spider, Family: Dictynidae
  64. Miner’s Lettuce, Streambank Springbeauty, Claytonia parviflora
  65. Mirid Bug, Irbisia sp.
  66. Monkeyflower, Orange Bush Monkeyflower, Diplacus aurantiacus
  67. Monkeyflower, Seep Monkeyflower, Erythranthe guttata
  68. Mountain Dandelion, Agoseris sp.
  69. Mule’s Ears, Smooth Mule-Ears, Wyethia glabra
  70. Naked Buckwheat, Eriogonum nudum
  71. Narrowleaf Goldenbush, Ericameria linearifolia [yellow daisy-like flowers]
  72. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  73. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  74. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  75. Onion, Jeweled Onion, Allium serra
  76. Paintbrush, Woolly Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja foliolosa
  77. Pear Tree, Pyrus sp.
  78. Phacelia, Lacy Phacelia, Phacelia tanacetifolia [purple]
  79. Phacelia, Mountain Phacelia, Phacelia imbricata [white]
  80. Pink Star-Tulip, Calochortus uniflorus
  81. Pipestem Clematis, Old Man’s Beard, Clematis lasiantha
  82. Plantain, Dot-Seed Plantain, Plantago erecta
  83. Popcorn Flower, Rusty Popcornflower, Plagiobothrys nothofulvus
  84. Popcorn Flower, Scouler’s Popcornflower, Plagiobothrys scouleri
  85. Popcorn Flowers,  Plagiobothrys sp.
  86. Poppy, California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
  87. Poppy, Tufted Poppy, Eschscholzia caespitosa
  88. Purple Sanicle, Sanicula bipinnatifida 
  89. Q-Tips, Micropus californicus
  90. Red Maids, Calandrinia menziesii
  91. Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
  92. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  93. Ruptured Twig Gall Wasp, Callirhytis perdens [on live oaks, black oaks]
  94. Small Melilot, Melilotus indicus [yellow]
  95. Sunflower, Common Woolly Sunflower, Eriophyllum lanatum
  96. Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
  97. Tamarisk, Saltcedar, Tamarix ramosissima
  98. Tidytips, Smooth Tidytips, Layia chrysanthemoides
  99. Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia
  100. True Babystars, Leptosiphon bicolor
  101. Valley Tassels, Castilleja attenuata
  102. Vetch, Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa
  103. Western Fence Lizard, Blue Belly, Sceloporus occidentalis
  104. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  105. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
  106. Western Wallflower, Erysimum capitatum
  107. Willows, Salix sp.
  108. Woolly Fishhooks, Ancistrocarphus filagineus
  109. Yarrow, Common Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
  110. Yerba Santa, California Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon californicum

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