Tanoaks at Windy Hill

DP and I got up there around 2:45 or so, and left around 4:30 today. WH03 isn’t numbered, but there were a couple of district work trucks parked there. As we made our way down, looking at various plants, we didn’t find the target trees. They were in the shade, and that made it not easy to see the catkins.We went to the first trail intersection.

On the way back up, we found two about six minutes down (walking slowly) from the trailhead. They were close together on the downhill side.  The one closer to the trailhead had more catkins, above eye level, but at least a few at eye level. This one had maybe 15% catkins with stamens. The other one had maybe 10% in the lower half of the tree. We seem to have missed the tree at the hairpin turn. We noted two individual catkins that had beetle(s) on them. One was high up so I could only tell that there were several black things on it, but they didn’t seem to be moving.  The small beetle on the close catkin was just perched in between the stamens. We found no fresh female flowers (there were a lot of female parts, but they appeared to be last years, I think–some had obvious acorns starting, and some were mostly green “spiky” turbans).

I took off an inch piece of catkin to look at under a hand lens. I thought I saw one anther than had a bright yellow blob (presumably pollen), but it was very small and I couldn’t find it again to get in the photo. Some of the stamens were curled up, and it seemed like they hadn’t straightened out yet. The anthers had no pollen that I could see.

Lots of thimbleberries were there, but not ripe yet. Creambush was in bloom. There is a self-heal plant in the middle of the trail, before the target trees (but if they continue the trail work they were doing today, it may not continue to be there). Hazel trees had developing nuts.

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts

I heard a Hairy Woodpecker (I think), and Chestnut-backed Chickadees.  A small bee-mimic fly (about a quarter inch long) provided a training opportunity.

There were a couple of plants that look familiar, one a small tree with five-petaled dusky-magenta flowers (western burning bush, Euonymus occidentalis), and something that reminded me of Clematis but had berries.

The rest of the photos are here.

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