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Friday, May 1, 2015

Songs of The Cedars

We'll wrap up The Cedars Series with a few miscellaneous shots:

An ultrabasic spring (pH > 11) where calcium carbonate is a byproduct of serpentinization.  [Serpentinization as defined by Roger Raiche = "a process where igneous ultramafic mantle rock (peridotite) is metamorphosed into secondary serpentine minerals.]

A water strider (and its more obvious shadow) on the surface of the pool downstream from the spring:

Mineral Falls (~20-feet high):

At the top of the falls, I couldn't help exclaiming, "What sedge is that?" upon encountering this showy inflorescence:

When David answered that it was Cotton Grass, I smiled, and thought to myself, "Of course."  I recognized the genus from seeing it in New England and Canadian bogs, but hadn't seen it yet in California.  Be forewarned: the first half of the common name is accurate (it does look like cotton), but the second half is misleading, i.e., it's not a grass.  Perhaps it should be called Cotton Sedge?  [This is Calliscirpus criniger, formerly Eriophorum criniger.]

And one more image from The Cedars, although I wish I had an audio recording to share.  Some of you know how much I appreciate listening to the sounds of landscapes.  While listening to The Cedars, the sounds I will remember most will include the piercing scream of a Peregrine Falcon, the distant call of a raven...and the most common sounds running water, sometimes close, sometimes far, running over rocks...and singing Black-throated Gray Warblers (Setophaga nigrescens).  I like thinking about their songs carrying across that open landscape, connecting the stands of cypress trees on the slopes and in the ravines.


Peter Connors said...

Jackie, what a beautiful, informative series about The Cedars! Butterflies, warblers, orchids, lizards, dragonflies, trees, minerals, history, and especially the romance of a wild, natural area. Thank you for sharing it with those of us who have not been there to experience it. Loved the checkerspot, the orchids and the Sargent history.

Jackie Sones said...

Thanks, Peter! It was fun to share photos and stories from this very special place. For anyone interested in visiting The Cedars, the local CNPS chapters offer walks as does LandPaths. (There might be other groups, too.) The hikes are popular, so don't hesitate to sign up.

Roger Raiche said...

Great pictures. Didn't know about the name change on Eriophorum, Thanks, Roger Raiche