05-08-15 Field Note

The Swan Valley is warm and dry for this time of year. We found new spring flowers and widespread infestation of Cooley spruce gall adelgid nymphs on Douglas-fir.

Posted on 5/8/2015 by Beau Larkin

Habitat Types: 


Succulent bearberry flowers appeared in sporadic clusters this week (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi). Not all bearberry plants looked this healthy
A fresh fairyslipper orchid hid among duff and debris
Cooley spruce gall adelgids (Adelges cooleyi) use both spruce and Douglas-fir trees to complete their fivestage life cycle. Many Douglas-fir trees carried heavy infestations of nymphs this week, their needles encrusted with sticky exudates and the nymphs’ protective wooly tufts.
Naturally-regenerated white pines showed cold damage symptoms similar to those observed on seedlings over the past few months.
Despite the presence of flowers (page 1), much of bearberry’s evergreen foliage showed mold, desiccation, and decay.
Withered brown and gray leaves clustered among live tissue. Various fungi may attack foliage under the snow, but fresh leaves will soon grow.
I visited the lower reaches of Cooney Creek this week to investigate the persistence of barriers last documented in 2007 (inset).
Many debris jams create plunge pools in Cooney Creek. These natural dams could also restrict fish passage, but are less persistent.
An insect hatch appeared as a fog over Home Pond. Resident trout rose with mouths agape to eat the gyrating insects.