2013/02/17 - First Bloom

First Bloom of 2013

Conditions: Drought conditions continue. Today - Time 3pm, temp. 68F, mostly clear skies, light NW breeze and dry. Trails are dry.

Observations: 2013 First Sightings - tiny purple flower. Reptiles - No sightings reported.  Birds - Sightings include House Finch, White-winged Dove at the feeders. Mammals - Desert Mule Deer still visit daily, fresh deer scat and tracks seen over a wide area.  Plants - Some woody plants appear to be forming leaf buds. Insects - None noted.

I have been rather lax last year in keeping up with my Wild Sighting reports and I hope to do a bit better this year.  With the introduction of Observation Report forms last year, I hope more visitors will provide more observations to these reports throughout 2013.

It was a beautiful day today and I took advantage of it by doing some maintenance and chores around the headquarters area.  While working with our harvested rain water treatment facilities I happened to notice the same tiny plants I had noted last year but never followed up on.  These plants which prefer to grow on bare patches of soil were no more than four inches across and less than 1" high and were among the first to show signs of active growth last year. They were much the same this year, but today, I spotted several purple blooms on a few of the plants.

Redstem Stork's Bill - Sized

I placed a quarter down next to the blooms so you can get an idea of how tiny they were at our facilities in the middle of February 2013. (Photo: Dusty Reins)

At this point, I have no idea what the common name of this plant is or what it is related to.  I have a good idea it must thrive in cold seasons due to green foliage during winter months and it being the first plant to bloom this year.  NOTE: 2013/02/25 - I have been able to get some identification on this plant species and have added it to the Our Residents section of our web site under  Species: Erodium cicutarium – Redstem Stork's Bill

Winter seems to be hanging on a bit colder, wetter and longer this year than last but spring weather is just around the corner and there will be a lot more "Firsts" to discover as all the residents around here begin to show new signs of life by budding, putting on leaves and blooms.

So I have been the first person to spot the "First Bloom" of 2013 at Wildcat Bluff but I hope others will be able to claim "Firsts" of their own by getting involved in our Citizen Science activities.  If so, I will feature your findings in these Wild Sighting reports!