Nature Notebook, May 13, 2021


The moon enters Earth’s shadow on the evening of Tuesday, May 25, for a total lunar eclipse. Unfortunately, most of this phenomenon will occur in the very early morning hours, beginning at 1:46 a.m. and reaching full eclipse at 4:09 a.m. on Wednesday morning. 

More park trails have opened north of Bear Valley, providing opportunities to explore and continue to observe the Woodward Fire’s effects. Ash can act as a fertilizer and add nutrients to the soil. Some plants, like Bishop pines, require fire to open their cones and thus spread seeds; others, like coyote brush, can resprout from their roots if burned over. Also open is the main Bear Valley Visitor Center; the park remains open across the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

It’s hard to recall the tense moments of evacuation and warning of last summer as I enjoy the absolutely spectacular wildflower year. This spring has yielded such an abundance of intensely purple lupine everywhere. Late spring flowers such as “farewell-to-spring” (these look like pink poppies) are flowering.  Signs of early summer browning grasses are now appearing, along with “rattlesnake” or quaking grass, whose seed pods resemble a rattlesnake tail.