I had an absolutely delightful time on Monday, 10/17/22, enjoying the blooms and happy sights that the wonderful monsoonal rain has given us all along my drive and hike.  The delights were not tempered by bugs; there were just a few face gnats at Vallecito County Park when I was changing my shoes.  Nor were they tempered by hot weather; the max temp was just 82 deg, and I was quite comfortable hiking in the afternoon in full sun, probably because a lot of the infrared (heat) rays were blocked by the moist atmosphere.


- Hillsides of Bahiopsis parishii in full bloom, filled with yellow color, in many places.  Here are three examples along S2:


- Fields and Fields of yellow from Pectis nearly everywhere:


- Some very happy plants of Tiquilia canescens, some blooming, at a new location found by Fred and Carla on 10/3/22.  Their pix:


- Lots of butterflies, caterpillars, milkweed bugs, carpenter bees, etc.  From my very first stop along S2 at the Prunus fremontii hill, almost to the last bush that I saw while hiking north of Vallecito, there were butterflies mobbing many of the flowers.  My pix of some of those insects (no guarantees on the identifications!):


- Green, green, everywhere!  Every ocotillo I saw was fully leafed out.  All the creosotes were a lush deep green.  Even the cheesebushes, which in most spring times just have a topping of green above their bare stalks, were almost solid green. Amazing!!!

Creosote green fields:




Ambrosia salsola, cheesebush:



Since I was on my own, and took well over 300 pix, I have not been able to post most of them at iNat.  But I did post almost all my pix from the car part of this trip, and Fred and Carla posted a ton of pix from their hike on 10/3/22 in the same area that I hiked, so it is well documented at iNat.

So far, I've posted 38 obs of 26 species from this trip:

Map view, showing the locations I stopped at:


Observation view:


Fred and Carla's posts for this area from 10/3/22, 134 obs of 55 species:

Map view:

Observation view:

I left my house at about 10:15 a.m., an hour later than I usually leave when I'm meeting others, allowing me to get my usual eight hours of sleep.

Pauma Valley, the beautiful Tecoma stans display, and the gorgeous floss silk blooms, are now a bit past peak bloom, with carpets of petals beneath each, but both still beautiful.

I stopped first at the "Red Gate Road" pullout on SR76 on the south side of Palomar Mtn, and was surprised by the very large number of goldback ferns there:


I enjoyed seeing the "pixie cups" on the pixie cup lichens there:


The roadsides of SR76 had been cleared of vegetation, all the way from before this pullout to its end at SR79 at Lake Henshaw.  It looks like my favorite Ribes indecorum just below this pullout was cleared, too.  (:-(

Huge areas east of SR79 in the Lake Henshaw area were red, from grazed finishing Portulaca oleracea:


Oddly, west of SR79 didn't seem to have a trace of red.

Amaranthus fimbriatus appeared along S2 just past the S22 turnoff, and continued off and on throughout my trip:


There were clouds of Boerhavia in places as well.

I didn't see anything special along S2 at first, so decided to stop at the "Prunus fremontii" hill.  That was a good decision, since there was a heavily-blooming Senecio flaccidus mobbed with butterflies:


Creosote was in bloom at Scissors Crossing and beyond.

It was great to see all the hillsides of Bahiopsis in bloom on my route.  After my hike today, I had planned to drive to Culp Valley to see the hillsides of it in bloom there, found by Fred and Carla.  But I didn't have to, since I had my own here!

After all my stops along the way, I finally got to Vallecito County Park at 1:45 p.m.  While walking the S2 roadside while eating a snack, I was surprised to find at least 7 Podaxis plants, including one just pushing through the soil:


I was able to do a 4.3 mile loop trip north of the County Park, roughly following Fred and Carla's route, but trying to explore off their track as much as possible.  I mentioned the Tiquilia canescens highlight above.  Other highlights were to see a number of Kallstroemia californica, a number of blooming and fruiting plants of Funastrum hirtellum, seeing one Ayenia in good fruit and in good bloom, and a number of beetle spurges.  Unfortunately I don't have time to post those pix yet.

I downloaded Fred and Carla's plant list, and checked off 23 species that I saw in bloom, plus a 24th, a single plant of Euphorbia albomarginata that I was surprised to see here.

tom chester