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Latest Poppy Reserve Researcher Field Notes

April 8, 2015: Mary Wilson

Lightning Bolt Trail – There are a few poppies left along the sides of the trails. Some of the plants still have buds, there are a few flowers and the seedpods are forming. The mature plants are starting to get the yellow color in their petals.
Lupine have finished flowering and are going to seed. The green bushes you see in the Reserve are Rubber Rabbitbrush and they will bloom around November. Four O’Clock/Wishbone Bush are struggling to produce flowers but the buds and leaves are drying up; as you get closer to the Kitanemuk Vista Point, there are a few there that have nice looking flowers. This area also has beavertail cacti that are blooming and the California Buckwheat is forming its white to pink clusters of flowers. The lighter gray-green plants that are producing leaves are an aster, and they will bloom around September. The Desert Straw is starting to form the stalk that just has leaves.
Kitanemuk Vista Point – the Acton Encelia (Brittlebush) are starting to bloom.

April 1, 2015

The above average heat and high winds we had recently have blown a lot of the petals off the Poppy and Goldfield plants. There are petals drying up on the ground around the plants. The poppy flowers that still have the calyx attached have survived this bout of wind and they will have their flower petals when the calyx comes off.

To the east and in front of the Visitor Center the Beavertail Cacti are starting to bloom. The Joshua tree bloom is going to seed. There are new green plants with small yellow flowers and they are Mustard.

You will find an occasional Fiddleneck and Filaree that have flowers but for the most part they have gone to seed.

As you walk the trails you will still see some Poppies, Forget-me-knots, Suncups, and Lupine.  Cheat Grass and Red Brome grasses are taking over large portions of the park and are going to seed. Goldfields are at the cone stage. Silver Puffs have gone to seed and they are dispersing them.

Poppy Trail South Loop: found a wild cucumber plant ¡V not blooming yet.

North Loop Trail past the wooden fence: there are still some Cream Cups, and Evening Snow. Blue Dick are finishing their season. In the area of the Rubber Rabbitbrush there are still some Owl's Clover.

Eastside of the Reserve: there are some Poppies and Goldfields but other wildflowers are finishing up for the season and are going to seed. Pineappleweed are starting to appear.

WILDFLOWER SIGHTINGS:
Lancaster Road: There are still Poppies in bloom going to the Reserve.
110th St. West: Goldfields have gone to the cone stage. There are a few Poppies. The predominant plant coming up now is Mustard.
A.V. Indian Museum: Avenue M and 150th St. East not much happening wildflower wise but there are Goldfields that have lost their petals and are few Coreopsis at 170th St. East.
Saddleback Butte State Park: a few Fremont Pincushions, patches of Goldfields, and some of the Creosote Bushes are starting to bloom. There are Desert Dandelion and Primrose along 170th St. East and Avenue J.
Alpine Butte Wildlife Sanctuary: Desert Dandelion, Fremont Pincushions, Suncups, Davy Gilia, a few Goldfields, and Wallace Eriophyllum. The Tamarisk trees are starting to bloom and there is California Dodder.
Jack Rabbit Flats Wildlife Sanctuary: Fremont Pincushions, Goldfields, Desert Dandelion, Davy Gilia, Cucumber has buds and Suncups.
Longview Sanctuary: Tidy Tips, Goldfields, Suncups, Creosote Bush starting to bud, Blue Sage, Desert Dandelion, California Dodder, and Joshua trees have some flowers.
Devil's Punch Bowl - Linear-leafed Goldenbush, Scrub Oak, Wallflowers, Fremont Phacelia, Popcorn Flower, Miner's Lettuce, Blazing Stars, Baby Blue Eyes, Spencer Primrose, Mountain Mahogany, and Squaw Bush.
Aliso Canyon: Bush Poppy, Scarlet Bugler, Linear-leafed Goldenbush, Yerba Santa, Mountain Lilac, and Elderberry trees.

March 25th, 2015

You will see Ravens, Brewers Sparrows and this year there are quite a few Horned Larks (these little birds may hop down the trail in front of you).

Throughout the Reserve many of the flowers and grasses are going to seed. Some of these plants will have flowers, some will have the seeds and some have finished growing for the year. They have already dispersed their seeds for the next year’s seed bank. These plants are Cheat Grass, Red Brome, Fiddleneck, Filaree, Slender Keel Fruit, and Lacy Phacelia.

There were patches of poppies but those patches are diminishing as the plants are loosing their petals and forming their seedpods. The plants are still there they just aren’t that showy orange. The Goldfields are making a nice showing but these are also starting to go to the seed stage. You will see different colors of yellow in the areas they are blooming. The bright yellow are the plants that still have the petals around the cone but then the more golden yellow are the plants that the petals have come off and you are just seeing the cone.

Poppy Trail North Loop – Silver Puffs are going to the puff stage (their seed). Flowers in bloom are: Cream Cups, Evening Snow, Forget-me-nots, Goldfields, Poppies, Owl’s Clover, Blue Dick and Fringe Pod.
Fringe Pod

Poppy Trail South Loop—Flowers in bloom are: Poppies, Goldfields and tiny Forget-me-nots.

Tehachapi Vista Point Trail - Silver Puffs are going to the puff stage. Flowers in bloom are: Poppies, Goldfields, Fremont Pincushions, Forget-me-nots, Locoweed, Cream Cups, Lupine, and Blue Dick. The Grape Soda Lupine, on the west side of the hill, are surrounded with a nice patch of Goldfields with a sprinkling of Poppies.

Lightning Bolt Trail – Poppy plants are starting to form their seed pods. Plants in bloom: Lupine, Blue Dick, Fringe Pod, Wild Parsley, Forget-me-nots, Rattlesnake Weed, Silver Puffs are producing the puffs, California Asters have new leaves at the base of the plant and Wishbone/Four-o’clock have new green leaves with flower buds starting.

Antelope Butte Trail - The trail has not been cleared of vegetation but still walkable. Poppies, Goldfields, Silver Puffs, and Pygmy-leafed Lupine.

Valley Vista Point Trail – Flowers in bloom are: Poppies, Blue Dick, Goldfields, Forget-me-not , Pygmy –leafed Lupine, Mustard, and Suncups.

Antelope Trail North Loop – Flowers in bloom are: Goldfields, Poppies, Mustard, Blue Dick, Silver Puffs are going to the puff stage, Forget-me-nots, and Pygmy-leafed Lupine.

Antelope Trail South Loop - Flowers in bloom are: Goldfields, Poppies, Mustard, Blue Dick, Silver Puffs have gone to the puff stage, Forget-me-nots, Pygmy-leafed Lupine and Owl’s Clover.

Picnic Trail – Goldfields and a Poppies.

March 11th, 2015

Poppy Trail North Loop: Flowers in bloom are: Filaree, Fiddleneck, scattering of Poppies, Suncups, Fringe Pod, Goldfields, Owl's Clover, and Cream Cups.

Poppy Trail South Loop: Flowers in bloom are: Poppies, Filaree, Fiddleneck, Slender Keel Fruit, and tiny Forget-me-nots.

Tehachapi Vista Point Trail: Flowers are on Filaree, Slender Keel Fruit, tiny Forget-me-nots, Pygmy-leafed Lupine, Locoweed and Grape Soda Lupine.

Lightning Bolt Trail: Poppies are in bloom but there are still young plants that have not produced their first flower bud. The more mature poppy plants are starting to form their seed pods. Instead of just a poppy here and there you can now see nice patches of orange. Along the trail the following plants are starting to bloom: Lupine, Blue Dick, Fringe Pod, Wild Parsley, Forget-me-nots (there is a hillside of white on the north side of the trail), Rattlesnake Weed, Lacy Phacelia, Slender Keel Fruit, Fiddleneck, Filaree (starting to produce seed pods), Red Maids, Silver Puffs are starting to open their yellow flowers, California Asters have new leaves at the base of the plant and Wishbone/Four-O'clock have new green leaves but no flower buds as yet. Bunch grasses have new blades. When going up the trail, look to the west and you can see Fairmont Butte beginning to turn yellow with Goldfields.

Antelope Butte Trail: The trail has not been cleared of vegetation but still walkable. Poppies, Goldfields, Slender Keel Fruit, Filaree, Fiddleneck, Silver Puffs, and Pygmy-leafed Lupine.

Valley Vista Point Trail: Flowers in bloom are: Filaree, Fiddleneck, Poppies, Blue Dick, Goldfields, Slender Keel Fruit, a nice area of Forget-me-nots with Poppies at the top of the vista point, Pygmy-leafed Lupine, Mustard, Evening Snow, Suncups. There is a nice view of Fairmont Butte with Goldfields spreading up the butte and to the east there are patches of Poppies and Goldfields. There is a lot of Cheat Grass in this area and it is going to seed.

Antelope Trail North Loop: Flowers in bloom are: Fiddleneck, Filaree, Goldfields, Poppies, Slender Keel Fruit, Mustard, Blue Dick, Silver Puffs have the yellow flowers and a few have gone to the puff stage, few Lacy Phacelia, Forget-me-nots, and Pygmy-leafed Lupine. A few of the more mature poppies are forming their seed pods. The smaller poppy plants may produce one or two flowers and the even smaller plants are starting to wilt and not producing any flowers. Found a yellow poppy.

Antelope Trail South Loop: Flowers in bloom are: Fiddleneck, Filaree, Goldfields, Poppies, Slender Keel Fruit, Mustard, Blue Dick, Silver Puffs have the yellow flowers and a few have gone to the puff stage, few Lacy Phacelia, Forget-me-nots, and Pygmy-leafed Lupine. Did find a few Owl's Clover.

Picnic Trail: Filaree, Fiddleneck, Goldfields, Poppies, and Slender Keel Fruit.

OBSERVATIONS:
 Mourning Doves, 10 Horned Larks, Ravens
 Painted Lady Butterflies, Darkling Beetles
 Side Blotched Lizards
 Not seeing any of the black soft-winged beetles in the poppies

WILDFLOWER SIGHTINGS
 Avenue K from 70th St. West to 110th St. West: has fields of Fiddleneck and the brighter color yellow are Goldfields. There are patches of Poppies.
 Lancaster Road to the Poppy Reserve there are Poppies, Goldfields, Fremont Pincushions, Fiddleneck, and Davy Gilia.

2/9/15: Mary Wilson

Poppies are starting to bloom! You can see plants along Lancaster Road going to the Poppy Reserve and there are a few poppies blooming in the park. There were three nice rain events that produced over an inch of rain:
1. December 2, 2014 (1.67 inches),
2. December 12, 2014 (1.84 inches) and
3. January 11, 2015 (1.20 inches).

Photo courtesy of Mary Wilson
I'm sure there was germination of poppies at other times but as I walk the trails I am seeing three different sizes of the plants that are pretty consistent with these rain falls.

There are poppy plants that measure 7 to 8 inches (starting to produce flowers), 3 inches and 1-1/2 to 2 inches (these smaller plants do not have flowers yet). This could mean an extended flowering season.

The Poppy Trail South Loop and Tehachapi Vista Point Trail are showing flowers on filaree, slender keel fruit, tiny forget-me-nots, locoweed, fiddleneck, poppies and the grape soda lupine.

Seeing insects like the Darkling beetles, painted lady butterflies, sulfur butterflies and bees. Spotted three ground squirrels on the way to the Reserve and eight horned larks.
The maintenance crews are busy cleaning the trails and getting rid of the tumbleweeds that were in front of the Visitor center, covering the picnic area and clustered on the trails.

Wildflower Sightings
Munz Ranch Road is starting to show poppies, mostly on the west side of the road. These are both annual and perennial poppies.

The flowers are just starting to show and you can spot them here and there. Hope for more rain, no hard freezes, no high winds that can blow off petals and dry out the soil and warm sunny days.

1/17/15: Mary Wilson

There are annual poppy plants that have their true leaves and are forming the rosette, but no flower buds yet. These are about 1-1/2 inches to 4 inches; there are a lot of them and they look healthy. 

Annual poppies have a one year season, starting from seed and ending the season with seedpods distributing seeds in the food bank for next season. There was some concern about the perennial poppies because last year there were none. These poppies come back in the previous years growth for about 3 or more years. I’m happy to report they are back.

The filaree has true leaves with some of the leaves turning red from stress of the cold nights and they have not formed any flower buds. The grasses are up to about 4 to 5 inches. Found a few pygmy leafed lupine and there were a few flowers left on the asters. Fiddleneck is up to about 2 inches.

In front of the Visitor Center the cacti pads have plumped up from the recent rains. There are 43 pads. Did not observe any new flower buds on the Joshua trees.


Ripley Desert Woodland

The rubber rabbit brush at the entrance has gone to seed. The beavertail cacti have plumped from the recent rains and are green. Grasses in the open are up to ½ inch but under the Juniper trees they are 3 to 4 inches. There is fiddleneck, and the filaree has true leaves but no flower buds. Observed some cots with two spiked leaves. These could be poppies but since Ripley doesn’t get many poppies they could be goldfields. Looked at several Joshuas and did not see any flower buds.

The male Juniper trees are producing their 1/4-inch cones which are starting to open and their pollen is airborne. I marked a 10 inch branch and counted 260 cones on it. Some of the male trees have so many cones that aren’t green but a light brown/orange color.