Field Journal: 24 February - 02 March 2019 - After the Flood Edition

Author's Note: This and the next few field journal entries will be a bit text-lite. I'm working on catching up, with the goal of getting to a point where I can post on a regular weekly schedule. -Damaris

Roy's Redwoods was absolutely drenched by an atmospheric river early this week. I took photos and video during the flood, and then I went back again afterward to see how the forest has changed.

Streamflow in the creek near the trailhead on Nicasio Valley Road

Streamflow in the creek near the trailhead has diminished, but it's still very swollen.

Fallen Peppernut / California Bay Laurel tree near the trail head on Nicasio Valley Road

A sizable Peppernut tree fell in the redwood grove here, visible on the left in the above photo. It completely blocks the social trail that serves as the primary access point to the alluvial flat.

Meadow Trail

Water continues to flow down Meadow Trail, even after the rain subsided.

Alluvial flat, post-flood

A sheet of flowing water covered the alluvial flat here, carrying away leaf litter & leaving bare soil in its wake.

Caution tape surrounding fallen trees along Meadow Trail

Someone (from Marin County Parks, I presume) strung a circle of caution tape around the unstable mess of fallen Peppernuts on Meadow Trail.

Jelly Antler (Calocera viscosa)

Late-winter mushrooms are popping up after the rains.

Meadow Waxcap (Cuphophyllus pratensis)
Brittlestems (Genus Psathyrella)

I photographed the mushrooms in the upper-left corner (same species) a couple of weeks ago.

Waxcap (Genus Hygrocybe)
Cherry-Red Waxy Cap (Hygrocybe laetissima) with Blackberry (Genus Rubus) and Cleavers (Galium aparine)
Hanging Slime Mold (Badhamia utricularis) Plasmodium

Badhamia activity has tapered off, but there's still one active plasmodium in the forest here.

Comatricha nigra (?) Sporangia
Milk Maids (Cardamine californica)

More early wildflowers are emerging.

Pacific Hound's Tongue (Adelinia grande)
Henderson's Shooting Star (Primula hendersonii)
Pacific Trillium (Trillium ovatum)
Strawberry (Genus Fragaria)
California Buckeye (Aesculus californicus)

Emerging Buckeye leaves are stunning, each and every one of them.

California Buckeye (Aesculus californicus)
California Buckeye (Aesculus californicus)
California Polypody (Polypodium californicum) (?)
Shoulderband Snail (Genus Helminthoglypta)

I found a snail from this genus under the same bit of wood back on 01 January - maybe the same snail?

Genus Tylobolus Millipedes
California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus)

Slender Salamanders are the most common around here, but they're also the most variable in color and form. Each and every one of them is a distinct individual.

Owl Pellet

This is the first owl pellet I've seen in months, found under an old redwood nest site. Owls can't digest bone, fur, or feathers, so they regurgitate that portion of their meals in a handy little packet. In a weird way, this fluffy bit of owl hork is a harbinger of spring. If the nest is successful, the ground around this tree will accumulate dozens upon dozens of pellets - so many that you can smell them as you walk by, if you happen to be familiar with the smell of owl pellets & you're paying close attention to the air around you.

Previously: 26 February 2019 - Flooded Forest Special Edition

Next: 03 - 09 March 2019 - Signs of Spring Edition

See also: