The first day of summer has arrived and many places around the world people still celebrate this longest daylight of the year. While days will get warmer for a few months, the length of daylight will shorten. So its time to get out after work and tend those gardens and roam the woodlands. If you want to see and interesting little native orchid, check out the Lost Woman Trail in Hidden Valley. Stay on the trail (recently cleaned and cleared by the Forest Service) and when you get to culverts and wetspots, look along the mud and undergrowth for spikes of tiny green flowers. If you are lucky you will see Platanthera flava. Many of our native orchids and other wildflowers are very beautiful, but very small. The flowers on flava are no exception so look closely and watch out for poison ivy. And again, stay on the trail. Wet areas are especially subject to habitat damage by soil compression.
Normally I don't play around much with my photos using computer software. But since I had a decent photo of a rattlesnake and a great photo of a red salamander, I decided to create a fictional species relative of this gentle creature. Well, they look gentle anyway. Salamanders have a poison in their skin to discourage predators -- and humans that handle them. So here is a shot of a rattlemander.
Look for the goat's beard along Warm Springs mountain along route 39 to fade this week. Also it is time to start looking for Grass Pink orchid in wet areas and Large Purple Fringed orchid in wet cool climates. I'd love to hear about any you find. And please don't pick. Beautiful, but rare.