Heber Down CA
April 16th, 2015
Heber Down Conservation Area is where my wildflower mentor showed me what Hepatica & Spring Beauties look like. They're two of the spring ephemerals, so named due to their short time on stage. They live on the forest floor and must bloom before the forest canopy leafs out and blocks the sun. Unless you're out in the woods in early spring, you'd never know they exist.
I mistook these pink Hepaticas for Spring Beauties but my wildflower buddies pointed out that all the following pink & white flowers are Hepatica. Spring Beauties will be appearing soon. Thanks guys.
Results today would have been better if I had used a diffuser disk, as my mentor taught me, but I left it in the trunk of the car and it was too far to go back.
I've never been a big fan of white flowers, though I know many love them... women especially I've noticed.
An interesting bee perched on one of the blossoms.
Mourning Cloak butterflies overwinter in our area in logs, etc. so they're the first ones we see in the spring. Look for them on paths where they warm up their wings.
I've often wondered what they look like in their caterpillar stage, so I finally looked them up. Pretty things. Can't say I've ever seen one though.
One of the reasons I went to Heber Down today was to see if the Wild Leeks were up. They are, but only in smaller patches. Before long, they'll carpet the forest floor. They're another of the spring ephemerals so they come & go quickly.
I always crush a leaf or two to get the strong onion smell... another of my favourite spring rituals.
Leaves that overwinter in water hold their color much better than those that spend winter on the forest floor.
Heber Down is popular with dog owners. These two were friendly but well behaved. One was a very smooth-haired German breed that I can't remember the name of, and the other was a Pointer. Nice looking dogs. And a friendly owner too.
This tree must have been full of grubs or whatever before the woodpeckers got to it. The bark had been stripped and it was peppered with holes for a good 15 feet.
Maybe I'll check out Devil's Den Pond next time I'm up there. It's an intriguing name. Nature being nature, I may or may not see something of interest.
Male Wood Frogs were singing their hearts out for the ladies today. Often heard but seldom seen, they make their presence known in spring. The guy with the dogs wondered if they were wild turkeys when he heard them. More often people think their calls sound like ducks, but I could see why he might think they were turkeys.
I went into the woods to one small pond, but as I expected, no sign of them. They stop calling well before you get close. And I'm convinced they're invisible.
I did record their calls though if you're curious.
Wood Frogs calling:
You'll probably need to crank your volume "way up" to hear them well. Don't forget to turn it down again after.
Click this link --> http://youtu.be/SE-TOYgPTGI
As I was leaving the woods, light clouds drifted over the sun... nature's diffuser. But I wasn't about to go back to reshoot things. C'est la vie.
How quickly I forget our wicked winter. Today was gorgeous.