A record-setting end-of-winter heat wave these last few days: intense sunshine and temps in the mid-90s have made it a bit warm to run mid-day, but as the shadows lengthened Friday afternoon, I was ready to see how the wildflowers were bearing up outside Irvine Park.
Owl’s clover and stonecrop . . . getting a bit dry, but still bravely blooming.
Having some shadow fun, admiring lupine still in bloom.
Although the heat is sizzling the flowers, here’s one last field of lupine shining in the low light (amidst a field of non-native invasive weeds).
The most in-your-face thing in bloom this time of year does not belong here: non-native, invasive black mustard. It smears its yellow nastiness all over our hills as it crowds out the less-agressive native wildflowers.
More yucky mustard. It lines the trails in many places, gives off a heavy musky suffocating odor, and makes me sad about what might be blooming here if the mustard hadn’t taken over.
Not everything was late-afternoon sunshine and flowers, though . . . this western fence lizard looked to be recently separated from his tail–and life–by something other than bare feet careening down the trail. Mountain bikes, perhaps?
On a happier note: I’ve been keeping tabs on this trap door spider home for several years; each time I re-visit after rain, I fear it’s been washed away, but it’s still there . . . out in the nearby wilds of our Orange County foothills.
Here’s a shiny critter who always cheers me up when we meet along the trail. Darkling beetles: there’s that sense they have an important destination in mind, but they’re never too busy say “hello, toes” as they head for who knows where.