Fringed Twinevine

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Fringed twinevine (Funastrum cynanchoides) was previously included in the Milkweed Family but is now considered a member of the Dogbane Family (Apocynaceae). Funastrum cynanchoides currently has a confused taxonomy with some researchers believing it should be separated into two subspecies … Continue reading

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Scouler’s Valerian

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Scouler’s valerian (Valeriana scouleri) resembles Sitka valerian (Valeriana sitchensis) so closely that it is often considered a subspecies (Valeriana sitchensis ssp scouleri) of Sitka valerian. I discussed Sitka valerian in a post late last year (see “Sitka Valerian” from 11-27-2018) … Continue reading

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Common Hareleaf

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Common hareleaf (Lagophylla ramossissma) is a native annual found in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Utah. Its habitat encompasses grasslands, scrub openings, woodlands and forests, particularly dry areas. The yellow flowers, and plant itself, are often difficult to … Continue reading

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Bergmann’s Rule

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Bergmann’s Rule (the third ecographic rule) was formulated in 1847 by Karl (also seen as Carl) Bergmann (1814 – 1865), a German biologist. It states that the same or closely related species tend to be larger in colder climates. It … Continue reading

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Allen’s Rule

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There are three principal Ecographic Rules for terrestrial environments: Allen’s Rule, Gloger’s Rule and Bergmann’s Rule. Ecographic Rules are concerned with variations in traits (mainly morphological) of organisms over goegraphical gradients. Allen’s Rule was discussed previously. (see “Gloger’s Rule” 10-10-16) … Continue reading

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Sandhill Cranes

With the arrival of February Leonard and I begin to listen and watch for the sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis). Usually we hear the far-carrying, loud, guttural bugling of the cranes before we see them.

So far this year February has been bitterly cold with snow covering the ground. Although the sandhill cranes usually arrive between the 13th and 18th of February, with February 6th the earliest return I recorded, as of yesterday they still were not here. We joked that no sane sandhill crane would migrate back to such unwelcoming weather.

This morning Leonard and I went across our road to the Ash Creek Wildlife Area (Modoc County CA). Much to our surprise we saw ten sandhill cranes probing in the fields. We saw them before we heard them this year. The sandhill cranes probably arrived overnight. As we hiked around their calls began to fill the air, we saw more sandhill cranes and several flocks of cranes flew overhead.

Sandhill cranes are diurnal while migrating, often flying high in V formations or in well-spaced lines. They migrate in flocks, pausing at traditional stop-over points. Young cranes learn the migration routes from their elders. Their migration routes are not instinctual. Although many of our spring visitors move further north for the breeding season, a large number of sandhill cranes remain throughout the summer and breed here in Big Valley.

Even though our landscape remains covered in white, the return of sandhill cranes signals spring.

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Roundtooth Ookow

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Roundtooth ookow (Dichelostemma multiflorum) is a member of the Asparagus Family. The etymology of ookow is obscure, but is likely Native American in origin. Other common names for D multiflorum are wild hyacinth, roundtooth snakelily and manyflower brodiaea. A native … Continue reading

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