10-15-15 Phenology Field Note

Block title

10-15-15 Phenology Field Note

October 15, 2015

Prairie Wolfe's phenology note details the continuing drought, pocket gophers, and sage recovery from a moth infestation.

Phenology Field Note Recovering Sage, Pocket Gophers, and Continued Drought October 9, 2015 Prairie Wolfe

Phenology locations

Antelope bitterbrush flushed new fall leaves, which will help sustain ungulate populations through cold months (Purshia tridentata).

Insect nests and spider webs become more apparent as foliage continues to drop. Here, the morning sun illuminates a tarnished spider’s web on a snowberry branch (Symphoricarpos albus).

Pocket gophers can have a striking impact on ground cover. Here, we see evidence typical of a colony: piles of disturbed, exposed soil with little biocrust or perennial plants. These areas tend to foster populations of invasive annuals such as cheatgrass.

High weevil density keeps knapweed seed production minimal, but some seed heads manage to escape predation (Centaurea stoebe).

Early rains in September spurred fresh growth in crisp areas, including bulbous bluegrass (Poa bulbosa).

In some areas cheatgrass was able to establish with what little rainfall we did receive. Establishment rates will jump once rains arrive in earnest (Bromus tectorum).

Bee plant in seed