Bryophytes along Blue Lake Road

Mostly cloudy with occasional breaks allowing sun to shine through. Scattered rain showers, sometimes mixing with snow.

Temperatures cooled from the low 40s into the upper 30s.

After two late nights in a row (though mercifully I was not awake nearly as late last night), I got off to a slow start today.

After lunch I stopped by the channel and scanned the gulls, though I did not spend much time at it. I did visit with Bill F. for a bit. He told me about a leucistic junco from back in the day. He had recently found photos of it. At the time they initially wondered if it might be a McKay’s Bunting.

My main outing today was a walk up Blue Lake Road.

Many sections of the road have rock outcrops rising on the uphill side. I’ve previously spent time looking for bryophytes on them, and I’m sure I have a long way to go before exhausting what there is to find there.

I had a particular outcrop near a stream/falls in mind today. I spent nearly two hours scrambling around, looking, taking pictures, and making collections.

After 1500+ photos (they add up quickly doing focus stack sets 29 photos at a time) and a dozen collections (which will no doubt turn into more observations), I figured I’d had enough for one visit. I spent much of the evening just processing the photos (mostly doing the focus stacking) and I’m still not done. Working through the collections and the additional photos I take will no doubt add up to several more hours.

Fortunately, it isn’t generally time I find unpleasant, but it can become a bit consuming.

Some of the scrambling I did ended up being sketchier than I prefer. Some large rocks were unexpectedly loose, and slid down a bit. It’s pretty clear things are weathering and eroding somewhat quickly (relative to other spots) at this particular location.

Although I was looking more for liverworts, I mostly found mosses. At least a couple will be new species for me (assuming I can get names for them).

One looks like a smaller than I’m used to seeing Fissidens. There were plenty of sporophytes (which I also don’t know that I’ve ever seen on Fissidens I’ve observed before. Based on some initially looking around, I am wondering about F. bryoides.

Another one I noticed was very small. In some cases, even with magnifiers it almost looked like sporophytes were coming straight out of the rock, with no accompanying moss plant.

I’m sure there is more to be discovered on this particular outcrop, and much more along Blue Lake road more generally. Some parts of this outcrop I would be much more comfortable investigating on rappel from above. I’m sure that’s true for other places along the road as well (assuming the top of the outcrop is even accessible). In other cases, perhaps a steady ladder would be sufficient.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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