Back to the Boise FoothillsPosted on June 11th, 2011 2 comments
Followers of this journal know that I love the Boise Foothills. I headed up there as the sun was rising on our first full day in Boise for this visit. Here are a few reasons I love the Boise Foothills.
While Black-billed Magpies (Pica hudsonia) are common birds, seeing my first one each trip is always something I look forward to, since they’re exotic to those of us who live in the eastern half of the U.S. I’m always impressed by that outsized tail.
The Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) is one of the dominant species flowering in early June in the Boise Foothills. Some hillsides look like God has sprinkled a handful of gold dust on the slopes.
As I drove up through the Bogus Basin ski resort parking lot, I stopped to enjoy the view and the fresh air. It was 41 degrees F. at 8 AM, quite a pleasant change after 10 days in the 90′s back home in Northwest Georgia. I looked down a slope at the edge of the deserted parking lot, and spotted some red. It turned out to be a “lifer” for me – my first Rocky Mountain Paintbrush (Castilleja covilleana – aka Coville’s Indian Paintbrush), an Indian Paintbrush found only in parts of Idaho and in a few locations in Montana.
I headed past the Bogus Basin parking area onto the road that during the winter is part of the cross-country ski system, and soon came upon an area with thousands of Glacier Lilies – aka Yellow Avalanche Lilies – (Erythronium grandiflorum) along the side of the road. Last year I had seen only a few of these flowering, so was pretty happy to see the large number. Mixed in with the Erythroniums were the leaves of the Ballhead Waterleaf, but I saw none blooming in this area.
A short way down the road between stretches of Glacier Lilies, there was an area where there were a number of Yellowbells (Fritillaria pudica). This was exciting for me as I’d seen only a single specimen last year.
As I headed up the road toward Moore’s Mountain, a view back showed that the slope of Shafer Butte was still largely covered in snow, a refreshing site compared to the blisteringly hot May and early June we had in Georgia. In fact, in another mile or so the road was covered with snow, so it was time for me to turn around and head back.
After heading back past Bogus Basin, I made a side trip on the road up to Deer Point. I was glad I did as after a few bends in the road there was a bank where I stopped for a couple of more photos. First there were some Ballhead Waterleaf plants (Hydrophyllum capitatum), this one with the flowers in the spherical inflorescence not fully opened, although several of the nearby plants were in full bloom.
Scattered around on the same roadbank were some Upland Yellow Violets (Viola praemorsa) mixed in with some of the tiny Blue-Eyed Mary plants (Collinsia parviflora). I had photographed both of these species on my trip to Boise last June, but have not yet added them to the database, either simply due to lack of time, or perhaps I didn’t deem the photographs adequate for publication. I need to get them added…
The Blue-Eyed Mary I’ve seen out here in Idaho, Collinsia parviflora, has a really tiny blossom, perhaps an eighth of an inch tall. The species epithet reflects this, “parviflora” means small-flower. There are other Collinsia species with much larger flowers. This next photo is to give you a perspective on the size.
There was much more to see and photograph, but I wanted to get back to “home base” – the Perkins’ residence – to pick up my lunch dates. McDonald’s playground and the to Albertson’s to get some cookies; no outing with grandparents is complete until the kids have had an adequate dose of sugar…
I would love to see a Rocky Mountain sometime.
Our Blue eyed mary is different from this one. It is related, though. Ours is Colinsia verna. Here is the link to one of a week’s worth of entries on a bunch of wildflowers near my home in the Mid Ohio valley.
I’m glad to have found your blog and will figure out how to “follow” it.
Thanks for the photos.
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