A funnel spider's web amid plant detritus lodged amidst the prickly pear.
While my dad searched for a nearby cache, I used the time to rest and take some pictures of this Mojave Prickly Pear, Opuntia phaeacantha.
A turkey vulture checks on our health.
The seed-head makes it look like a giant dandelion (except with leaves that look grass-like) this is a Goat's beard, Tragopogon dubius. Not native, but it's got a pretty flower when flowering.
Common goldenstar, Bloomeria crocea var. crocea. I keep hoping to spy a San Diego Goldenstar, Bloomeria clevelandii, but so far I have not yet.
A stand of Scarlet buglers, Penstemon centranthifolius
This has got to be one of the smallest flowers I've ever found. It appears to be some kind of Groundsmoke, Gayophytum. The most commonly identified in San Diego is Small-flowered groundsmoke, Gayophytum diffusum ssp. parviflorum, though telling them apart seems to depend on breaking open the seedpods and looking for seeds.
Another Grand Collomia. Still not to the better picture, as the flowers on this plant have rather muted colors.
Not the greatest picture, but this is a not-too-distantly related Large flowered collomia, Collomia grandiflora. There will be a better picture later.
Long tubes behind the flower, those needle-like bracts all around the flower, and the flowers clumped in heads. Looks like a Phlox. Specifically, it looks to me like a Southern mountain wooly-star, Eriastrum densifolium ssp. austromontanum
We saw a few patches of this small shrub with purple flowers. What could it be? Let's take a closer look...
Seedpods left behind from last year's crop, showing Ceanothus' signature three-chambered capsule. When ripe, the seeds burst out, destroying all but the base of the capsule.
Seeds growing on a Ceanothus of some variety not readily identifiable from this picture.
I tossed this picture into this gallery just because. This is actually from the Lusardi Creek Loop trail; however this Weed mariposa lily, Calochortus weedii var. weedii, was the only flower I saw that hike so it didn't seem worth creating a whole gallery for.
Getting close, the most immediate observation was that these smelled very much like the infamous Bradford pears. Within the same (Rose) family, the flowers, leaves fit the Utah Serviceberry, Amelanchier utahensis.
Within walking distance of the moth and lupine were these brightly flowering trees.
After chasing it a bit, it finally held still long enough to take a picture. It would appear to be a Mexican Tiger Moth. That the hind-wing is orange seems to indicate that it is a female. That same link reports that it feeds on invasive Cheeseweed, Malva parviflora, so I suppose that's good. If I had to guess, up in the mountains where I don't think I've ever seen Cheeseweed, I'd guess it feeds on Checkerbloom instead.
More of the Southern montane grape soda lupine, Lupinus excubitus var. austromontanus. Hey, what's that orange speck in the bottom-left corner?
After the hike ended, while taking the long way home, I pulled off to take a picture of these Southern montane grape soda lupines, Lupinus excubitus var. austromontanus.
The lighter patches among the grass here are definitely Cream cups, Platystemon californicus. From the name I assumed they were related to the Buttercup, Ranunculus californicus, but in fact they are in a different family: Butter cups are the reference species of their family (Ranunculaceae, the Buttercup family), while cream cups are in the Poppy family. The two families are very closely related, with the poppy and ranunculus families having diverged just 110 million years ago.
What a tidy place...
Another Tidy Tip, in an earlier stage of bloom: Sunflowers bloom from the outside in, first exposing the anthers on the anther tube, then poking the stigma through - notice how only the outer row has any of the curly, antennae-looking structures sticking out.
These Tidy tips, Layia platyglossa, proved a hub of activity for some beetles.
Clumps of Summer Snow, Leptosiphon floribundus ssp. glaber, dot a sparsely populated trailside.
Close up shot of a Lotus of some sort, without the leaves, I wouldn't dare guess.
When is a lupine smaller than a miniature lupine? When it's a Bajada lupine, Lupinus concinnus.
Another bird's nest thistle. It didn't occur to me a moment ago, but maybe that name came from the way the flower looks like an 'egg' in the nest.
I'm surprised I kept this picture in the gallery, really, since it's overexposed in the highlights and out of focus. But it is interesting that the grass around the thistle doesn't get eaten - I wonder if cows or other grazers are for some reason afraid to eat near the thistle?
I think I took this as contrast to show how photographs are not necessarily representative of a place. Or maybe it was because of the white flowers. I can't tell what they are from this picture, but they could be cream cups.
A Miniature Bicolor Lupine, Lupinus bicolor in profile against a background of Coast Baby Stars, Leptosiphon parviflorus
Uphill from the trail, from the right angle the hillside looks blanketed in flowers
A closeup of a bee on a flower of the Elk thistle
Birds Nest or Elk thistle, Cirsium scariosum var. congdonii - the only thistle I know of that is shorter than the grass it grows among.
Probably a San Diego pea, Lathyrus vestitus var. alefeldii, though it seems a bit more towards the violet/blue side of the rainbow than the more common magenta.
The weird hanging flowers of Meadowrue, Thalictrum fendleri
Small hairs on the margin of this young leaf from a California black oak, Quercus kelloggii, are lit by the sun.
Blue Flax, Linum lewisii var. lewisii
With so many thistles that are so similar, I wish I'd gotten some leaf pictures to help with a proper ID, but the first one I'd want to look carefully at is Wavy leaved thistle, Cirsium undulatum. But that's very rarely seen in San Diego, so based on probabilty alone, not likely to be the correct ID.
Scarlet buglers Penstemon centranthifolius, trumpeted for our passing.
A brilliantly blooming ceanothus, which I think is Palmer ceanothus, Ceanothus palmeri.
A Pale Swallowtail Papilio eurymedon, on a Western wallflower, Erysimum capitatum var. capitatum. In the background on the top and the left are the leaves-of-three of the Basket Bush, Rhus aromatica.
I think these are Giant mountain dandelions, Agoseris grandiflora var. grandiflora, because of the red stripes on the phyllaries. not 100% sure though, since this picture is all I have to go on.
And by, "the star", I mean it was flowering pretty much all over the place. This picture shows it in context with some of the other plants, mostly not flowering: Milkweed, checkerbloom, is that a penstemon back there?
By far the star (cough) of the hike were these Coast Baby Stars, Leptosiphon parviflorus. The guide's plant list for the hike only showed the costal variant, which are typically white. It was while reviewing the Lightner book entry for this that I recognized the same plant in the costal variant from the Hollenbeck Canyon hike, at which point the plant list illustration suddenly made sense.
Yes, let me crop this so that I can pretend I meant to focus on this boring cluster, rather than the blurry one below with so many droplets...
Nice! Looks like some kind of katydid.
I looked on the map for the farthest south point along Tomales Bey that has a view to open ocean (not just into Bodega Bay, which is bounded by the distant second headlands on the right), and decided this little turnout was as close as I would get - the next time the road meets the shore, Tomales Bluff cuts off the view past the Bodega Bay headlands.
I was going over some old photos today and happened to notice this picture, remembering that we were wondering what this is. After a second it clicked, and I remembered that these looked like the buds of the California Tiger Lily - perhaps the most spectacular flower in all of California, and which I was lucky enough to see on a Canyoneer hike this year.
I'd like to point out that with this iPad photo, this gallery rounded out with photos from 5 different cameras
I wonder if I can beat that in some future gallery?
Fields of goldfields
After leaving, I drove down the cost, spending some time wandering around Goat Rock State Beach.