Wildflowers and crap

This weekend I got up to Larch Mountain a couple of times, plus out to eastern parts of the Columbia River Gorge.  The running theme was awesome wildflowers which I have become way more interested in than ever before.  I even paid eight bucks for the new Oregon Wildflowers app that OSU just released.

Western Corydalis, identified by Michele, not the wildflower app (Larch Mountain)
The trip up to Larch on Saturday was inspired by my friend recently buying a first generation 4runner and being excited to take it out somewhere cool.  As we were driving up Brower Road my friend caught sight of an owl...

Barred Owl
We did some exploring of random abandoned houses in the woods...

One house had a bunch of newspaper pages from January 1974.  The rental section was most amusing to me... 1612 N Killingsworth, a one bedroom in a 3-plex, $88 a month.

There were some pages of Sunday comics from the 80's also.  I probably read the same ones over donuts as a kid. 

Our last stop on Saturday was at Dodge Park in Sandy for some snacks and a spontaneous hike.

There were more western corydalis flowers around, as well as these cool ones:

I'm not sure what they are, though they look kind of like fairy bells.  Learning to ID wildflowers kind of feels like learning to ID birds all over again.  Hopefully someday it will click more and I can at least figure out what part of the field guide to look in...

Sunday my friend and I went east towards Rowena Crest because I really wanted to see the balsamroot explosion that is going on.  At the Memaloose viewpoint there were amazing views and TONS of balsamroot to frolic in.

Common vetch (vicia sativa)
From the Memaloose viewpoint we found a random trail and started to follow it...

Balsamroot, lupine, paintbrush

Along this trail I saw the biggest bumble bee I have ever seen.  My friend was less impressed.

Yellow or Sonoran bumble bee?
Groundsel...but which variety?
Few-flowered pea?
Maiden blue-eyed mary
Oh right.  This blog is supposed to be about birds.  Here are a couple that were along the trail...

Chipping Sparrow
Stupid empid
After the rain started we made our way back down the trail to the car, getting pretty soaked and hailed upon along the way.  Next stop was along a gravel road we decided to investigate...

White-crowned Sparrows
We climbed up a hill for a better view...

Balsamroot for days
We drove farther up Highway 30 and stopped at the Dry Creek Bridge to take a look.  This stop turned into a long and sometimes perilous hike, but with outstanding views...

Fennel in front?
Chocolate lily? 
Western wallflower
Hope you don't mind this wildflower diversion!  You might not believe this but I am sparing you quite a few more flowers in an attempt to keep this post under control.  Let me know if you have any ID help to offer (wildflower or empid).

In other news my Birdathon plans might be occurring this week!  Stay tuned for a crazy motorless day coming soon.  Are you planning to pledge me?  Better do it soon!  Just go here for more info.

Good times!


  1. The landscape shots in this post are absolutely gorgeous Jen, really top notch.

    The wild flowers are also purdy...but be ware of complacence!
    The fennel and balsamroot are cool. Most of the others remind me of Georgia O'Queefe paintings.


    1. BTdubs that Barred Owl is badass and the empid looks pretty good for Hammond's Flycatcher.

  2. Holy shit, is this really in Oregon? Beautiful stuff. Need to get to Oregon. Like the wildflowers.

  3. OHHH love the flowers Oregon keeps calling out to me..."come hither"
    When I saw the empid I said "some kind of flycatcher" but which one?
    You really raised the bar with the landscapes Jen, well done! I'm planning to do my Big Day within the next few.

    1. Exciting! I was planning to do mine today but the weather is changing my mind- supposed to hit 90 today! Postponing till the weekend I think.

  4. Wow! Gorge-ous! I love those Balsamroot fields. I have seen photos but never been myself. And of course its not in WA county. Sigh. You did good on all your ID! You may have to learn latin names as the common names of plants are all over the place. I can't believe you bought an app when you have me! :) Just as well as I couldn't find the unknowns in my book. I'm planning and plotting my birdathon too..and gonna keep it motorless as well.

  5. Oh, I even like shots of cool bugs, so I'll not turn my nose up at flowers. It's all part of the picture, as it were. There were SUCH STUNNING wildflowers at Mt. Rainier when I lived there, I literally would be driving along in the spring, turning a winding corner & GASP as a group of tiger lilies would be growling & glowing at me. I freakin' LOVE tiger lilies, and the columbine up there is also reeDONK. All part of the nature learning thing. LOVE It. =) Great shot of balsam landscape--woot!

    If you don't have 'em, Wildflowers of Mt. Rainier by Blackwell is v. handy, and 1 I can't find right now, but I think it's wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest. It's fun to peruse through them 'cause even flowers you've never seen in the wild you start forming a search image for them, then you WANT to see them, then you might learn where they live & seek them out. =)

  6. Long primary extension, small black bill. Hammond's is the only choice in North America.
    See Empid ID in 3 easy steps.

  7. Great photos, Jen. Looks like a beautiful day at Rowena Crest. I can confirm that yes, you have a larkspur (Upland Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum) and Cholate Lilies (Fritillaria affinis). The latter are pretty torn up looking, though.

  8. Not "Cholate,"... Chocolate. Haha.


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