Early Spring

by Pat Jaquith
pat@westvalleynaturalists.org

Mud season 3.16.17

Winter is melting into summer. Every day is a surprise: will the snow retreat today? or will we experience a fall-back into freezing temperatures and even get some snow? When will we see some green in the in the cold, black soil of fields that were sown last fall? When will we see the first-of-the-year (FOY) Sandhill Crane? Who can guess correctly the day of ice-out on the potholes? How many geese, ducks, swans fit in the one open pool? Are those trees really starting to blossom? Will I be able to leave that heavy coat home? Read further for some of my FOY’s!

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Rocky Mountain Beeplant

By Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

Rocky Mountain beeplant is native to the valley, although I seem to rarely encounter one. They are annuals, but they can grow up to 5 feet in a season. They are in the cleome family (Cleome serrulata) and are often cultivated in gardens. They are one of the most visually striking wildflowers in the area, as you will see.

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Crab Goldenrod Spiders

by Pat Jaquith
pat@westvalleynaturalists.org

People who look closely at flowers may also see a variety of insects. Pollinators’ visits are self-serving: they are attracted to the flowers for the nectar or pollen they can collect for food. Only incidentally do they provide the service of pollination. Crab Goldenrod Spiders (named for the flower where they are frequently observed) visit flowers to seek nourishment by preying on the pollinators.

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