4/12/2012 Jim E sent this information along with photos, thanks Jim! “Yesterday I happened to be walking along a game trail here in Glacier View Meadows and spotted a fairly newly wind-thrown ponderosa. As I’d seen easily accessible branch tips nibbled on along Haystack Rd sometime ago, and didn’t know what did it, this seemed to clinch deer as the cause. The roots are extremely shallow as shown here. The trunk leading off to the left. Here’s the top of the tree showing easily reached – by deer – relatively palatable needles and branch tips.” Jim observed about a dozen piles of deer scat around the tree suggesting that deer are the culprits. He has sent an email to Mark from the Division of Wildlife to ask about mule deer forage habits.
“Finally, this closeup showing a couple plants of wild candytuft (Noccaea [formerly Thlaspi] montana) growing through the pile, which must have been laid before the spring-bloom season. I’ve Olaus Murie’s 1958 classic, A Field Guide to Animal Tracks, that includes photos of droppings. They show the winter feeding(or dry diet), and the soft type that results from green or succulent food in summer. Maybe your folks can tell.”
3/31/2012 From Ellen: On a late morning walk in Filing 10 near our house, I spotted Spring Beauties, Pasque Flowers and Ball Cacti in bloom.
4/8/2012 A week later Jim E. wrote this from his walk on April 7: “Well, Saturday afternoon during my usual amble nearby, I spotted this early-blooming Ball Cactus – but seemingly much earlier than I’m aware. Photographed ~noon today, these three. This Candytuft is another early bloomer – in the mustard family (Brassicaceae, formerly Cruciferae – note the four ‘cross’ petals). What a pleasant surprise, the day before Easter. Why the name ‘candytuft’ I won’t get into – too involved taxonomically. This, a real surprise – Sand Lily; and only one spotted! And in gravelly soil; but what else is there up here in this Sherman Granite?And today’s mid-afternoon saunter along the FS’ Mount Margaret Trail near Red Feather Lakes, a repeat of Pasqueflower (in a controlled burn; note charred fragment). I reported this in bloom on the FS’ Elkhorn Creek Trail on April 2nd of last year, so this year’s blooms aren’t unusually early. Finally, yes – dandelion, which I don’t even have to show.”
4/9/2011 Jim E. found the beautiful early-bloomer Easter Daisy, Townsendia hookeri on his hike today along the North Rim Road (aka Gate 13). He keyed it out using his microscope and wrote that this species can be distinguished from and similar species, T. exscapa, by the: “tuft of tangled cilia” at the tips of the phyllaries (bracts) below the head of flowers. He also sent this description from Weber & Wittmann “Blooming in early spring in open, rocky sagebrush. Widespread on the plains and outwash mesas of the Front Range.” Thanks, Jim, for sending the beautiful photo.
5/19/2010 Email from Jim E today: “I spotted a small plant with basal leaves and a flower cluster atop a stalk. It looked like a saxifrage, but not the one I’m familiar with. Finally found it in the list under Saxifrage (Micranthes rhomdoidea) and it matches the figure in Weber & Wittmann. Lots of Pasqueflower still, but little else other than Chiming Bells or Bluebells (Mertensia lanceolata). And common, a close-to-the-ground Dwarf Mountain Fleabane (Erigeron compositus).
Perhaps early June, we might have another meadow amble to refresh some of the names of the herbaceous gems. I’m at a loss for the short white-flowered mustard that looks like Candytuft.” Note from Ellen: Jim keyed it out to Candytuft.