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Polly Geraci Trail

When I go to Pulgas Ridge, I almost always do the longer loop, which means I almost never go on the Polly Geraci trail. This trail cuts through the middle of the park, essentially halving the distance of the loop. Yesterday afternoon, I decided to take it for a change and to slow down and look for small things to photograph instead of having to keep a good pace, as the sun still sets pretty early.

There’s a particular type of wildflower I’ve wanted to see again ever since I saw it years ago. I’ve been looking for this flower in the place I remember seeing it before, and it has never reappeared there. When I went on the Polly Geraci trail yesterday, I saw hundreds of them! Quite exciting. I’m hoping I can get back out there with my macro lens tomorrow. The flower is small and hard to notice as its coloring is green and black, it blends in with the surrounding foliage rather than standing out like more colorful wildflowers. So it is fortuitous that I happened to be looking for small things on a day when it is blooming. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about slinkpod (the name I have decided is best.)

Scoliopus bigelovii is a species of flowering plant in the lily family known by several common names, including California fetid adderstongueBigelow’s adderstongueslinkpod, and brownies. It is native to California, where it is known from San Luis Obispo County, parts of the San Francisco Bay Area and North Coast Ranges. It has also been collected just over the border in Oregon.[1][2] It occurs in old-growth forest in the understory of redwoods. It grows in mossy, moist places, often in shade.”

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Summertime Textures

Honestly this is my least favorite time of year to go hiking. It’s so dry and dusty and hot and harsh (even though it’s not particularly hot this summer so far). And there are very few flowers. But, it does have its charm. I like the photos I took more than I liked being up there today. The light is great and there are a lot of translucent leaves creating interesting compositions.

Since there were no flowers to look for, I looked up a lot more than I usually do and found a lot to see up there. Enjoy!

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Monte Bello Flowers and Insects

Yesterday I posted the wide angle vistas from my hike at Monte Bello Open Space preserve, and today I’m sharing the macro flowers, insects, and a bonus underwater friend. A lot of late spring/early summer wildflowers are blooming to the point where I started to get overwhelmed feeling the need to photograph every single new flower! Thus my hike took a lot longer than I imagined it would and I wished I had brought two sandwiches instead of one.

Here are the best flower photos of the day. Quite pleased with these (and still in love with my fancy macro lens and its magical properties)

There were many butterflies and moths. Most of them were flitting about quickly, and I had no hope of capturing them in a photograph. But one kind butterfly (or moth? I’m not sure I know the difference) sat still and even let me approach without flying away.

Monte Bello Mothra

Later, I saw this caterpillar and I wondered if it could possibly be the same species pre-transformation, due to the similar colors. Let’s pretend it is just for fun.

Monte Bello Black Caterpillar

Leaning over a bridge watching the water, I noticed something slowly crawling on the bottom of the stream. It’s funny to me how slow salamanders are compared to lizards, which are quick as lightning.

Monte Bello Salamander

Finally, a couple more flowers, with a bit of editing for fun.

Monte Bello Spiny White FlowersMonte Bello Tiny Orange

 

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Late April Wildflowers at Pulgas Ridge

Many of my favorites are blooming now at Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve. The thistle are as tall as I am in some places, and I am not a short woman. Very nice for taking photos without having to squat down low to the ground (a skill I am developing specifically for my flower photography.

Oh and the buckeye is finally flowering! This is a tree I eagerly anticipate blossoming because it smells so wonderful.

Fairy lanterns, I mean who doesn’t like something called a Fairy Lantern?

fairy lanterns

There are a couple of big bushes of this purple flower, which I believe is a type of honeysuckle, also fabulously fragrant.

honeysuckle purple

Finally, wild strawberries. Several varieties are blooming, this one was particularly photogenic.

open wild strawberry blossom

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A Field of Fuchsia Flowers

All of the ice plant is blooming now. It’s quite impressive in a broad area like this.

Pretty Purple4

Fireworks!

Pretty Purple3

This color combination, orange and fuchsia, is one of my favorites. It’s so joyous.

Pretty Purple2

The lovely color combination from the previous photo is repeated in the next one. Sometimes I wonder if particular colored flowers bloom together at the same time of the year for a reason, of if it’s just a coincidence that I notice it.

Pretty Purple1

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Tiny Things By the Trail

I’m realizing I’m going to have to start getting creative with my titles since I keep going to the same places and taking pictures of basically the same things. Here’s what was happening at Pulgas Ridge today in the tiny world. (Do click through and check out the full sized images, or you will miss the lizards humping. No, really.)