The Rhododendron Trail Yesterday
As many times as I have visited the Pacific Rhododendrons in Deception Pass State Park, I still have to stop and process what I am seeing in my head. The sight of these large, bright blossoms seems so incongruous under the forest canopy. Perhaps more than 40 years growing "domestic" rhodies in the garden is the reason. This sight is so unexpected to find in the wild. It is easy to understand why the Pacific or Coast Rhododendron (R. macrophyllum) was designated the Washington State Flower.
Several blossoms are close to being fully opened now. Over the next two weeks, with temperatures in the low 70's forecast, I expect these woods to burst into full bloom. For those of you n tune with the times, that would be temperatures around 21° C locally.
I currently have three more hikes into the rhododendron grove scheduled. You are welcome to come along if you like:
Friday, May 8, 09:00 a.m. (I may be a little late, so please indulge me)
Saturday, May 9, 08:30 a.m.
Monday, May 11, 08:30 a.m.
We meet at the North Beach parking lot inside the main entrance to Deception Pass State Park. I have provided directions and information about the hikes in an earlier post.
For the wildlife section today, I decided to return to the East Cranberry Lake Trail to check on the nesting Canada Geese (Branta canadensis). Recall we met them in an earlier post.
But first, as I set off on the trail, a flash of orange caught my eye. This is native Orange Honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa) now starting to bloom. Each of those lobes will continue opening to form a trumpet-shaped flower. Like the garden varieties, these are a favorite of hummingbirds. I will be returning to check on the geese, so I hope to get photos of fully-opened flowers. It is also known as Western Trumpet Honeysuckle.
As expected, I found the gander diligently standing watch on the nest site. This time he was standing on an old, mossy log in the waterway that borders the trail. I had to aim the camera through branches and leaves to get this photo. I hoped this encounter would be a friendly one like before.
The goose or hen, as the female is called, was peacefully brooding her eggs and taking a snooze. Altogether, this was a very pleasant setting, but it didn't last. You can read more about my encounters with this pair over at Wild Fidalgo.