Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vernal pools


Have you heard of vernal pools? Up until this year, I haven't either. I was watching California's Gold by the late great Huell Howser on PBS, when I heard of it. They were having a marathon showing in honor of his passing.

That was when I saw the episode on vernal pools. It's very interesting. For more information, wiki has something on this subject, of course. Click here.

After seeing the show, we immediately knew we wanted to see the pools. The fact that the pools are in Sacramento, less than 100 miles away, made the decision easy. We went online to search for SPLASH and signed up for the free tour(click on the link and you'll learn more about their programs and about the vernal pools). It was educational and free. What more could one ask?

Vernal pools have three phases: wet, flowering, and dry. We were signed up for the last tour on the last date they were open for tours for the year. It was during the flowering phase.

From the Splash website:

WET: In winter, vernal pools swarm with aquatic life, most smaller than a freckle. Frogs and toads come to mate and lay eggs. From November through March, species race against the clock (and their predators) to grow up, mate and lay eggs before the pools dry up.

Many vernal pool seeds sprout in November with the first winter rains. The seedlings remain less than two inches tall throughout the winter as the pools fill with water, submerging them for weeks or months.

FLOWERING: As the pools dry down in March, the seedlings grow, springing into bloom during April and early May. Most grow to less than six inches high. Vernal pool flowers create colorful rings, patches and ribbons of yellow, white, pink and purple.

The displays change from week to week, as each species gives way to the next, like a floral kaleidoscope.

DRY: During the hot, dry summer months, vernal pools lie brown and barren among the grasslands. Birds, mammals and insects come to the pools to feed on the seeds and bulbs of vernal pool plants. While they are there, other species feed on them.

The sun-baked bottoms of the vernal pools hold the eggs, cysts and seeds that will give life to the next generation. The winter rain awakens them, restarting the cycle each year.

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THE VERNAL POOLS DURING THE FLOWERING PHASE:

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Talk about wildflowers delight. Apparently every pool has a distinctive flora; we saw wildflowers that only appear on one pool and not the others, even though the pools were in the same field. Our guide was the director and founder of the program.

TOUR GROUP

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The director called us warriors, because the day turned out to be HOT (which btw is the norm in Sacramento). The tour started at 1:30 PM, the temp was 100 F, and we were out in the field on a hot day, but we had a lot of fun learning about our environment.

THE WILDFLOWERS, etc.

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And.......
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In the spirit of being very through, I went down on all fours just to get my shot.

MY WORLD TUESDAY.

25 comments:

  1. I'm glad you were relatively close to this interesting place. A fine series that helped us share in this extra nice experience. 100 degrees and a sunny field sound very hot! ;-)

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  2. So Vermal is the name of the plants/flowers? They are beautiful!

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  3. You have managed effectively capture a wide variety of wildflowers! They are BEAUTIFUL! Great work!

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  4. Oh, wow, cannot imagine being as attentive as your little group appears to be, including the children during such a hot day. I like the flowers and the people pictures. But it is the bright little ladybug that really captured my heart!

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  5. What a neat adventure! You got some terrific shots!

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  6. Beautiful as well as educational. My daughters live in Sacramento, so I/we should visit it sometime! Thanks for sharing;)

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  7. I love Ladybugs! Once I hiked 10 miles in search of them!

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  8. This info is new to me. Great read and thanks for the pics.

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  9. oh wonderful! I love these fields of yellow wildflowers - glorious! They have brightened up my dull rainy afternoon. And thankyou for getting down and close to give us those wonderful close ups so I can see your wildflowers. They are so different to ours here. That would be my, down on all fours trying to get a shot - sometimes the trouble is trying to get up again!
    Have a wonderful week and thank you for stopping by my blog today.

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  10. Thanks for your braving such heat, I could felt refreshed to see this wonderful post. I understand it was worth outing despite the heat.

    Yoko

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  11. Vernal pools are gorgeous as your wonderful shots really show!

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  12. Beautiful plants and flowers!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  13. Nice flower field / pool. Those are lovely captures and yes, sometimes you really have to get down and dirty. Great post.

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  14. Oh, this is so beautiful!!! I love the wild flowers. I love them even more than the garden flowers. You found beauty and you photograph it so wonderfully.

    Breathtaking pictures of this world!!!

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  15. Oh gosh those glorious pictures are worth being a little warm. Thanks so much for sharing -- and for teaching me about vernal pools. (Blogging is such a great way to learn!). We are glad to be back in the Pacific Northwest for the summer!

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  16. Really wonderful images of a large variety of wildflowers! An interesting post, Maria.
    Happy Tuesday!

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  17. Lovely images. My fave of all is the boy taking a photo of the girl with a pink hat and the third one after that. Really enjoyed your post!

    Hazel

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  18. Fabulous in every way, Maria. I can just imagine how thrilled you and hubby were! Thanks for the wonderful education...and tour.

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  19. Very beautiful shots of the flowers and I love the ladybug shot. Nicely done!

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Alexander
    Alex's World! - http://www.kakinan.com/alex

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  20. As always, I love all your takes. What a blessing it is to live in a place with so much beauty all around! <3 Thank you again & again for sharing God's beautiful creations with your readers. :)

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  21. I miss Huell. Wasn't he a great man? We still record his shows even though we've probably seen almost all of them. He certainly makes you love california more than you could imagine. Your adventure to vernal pools would make him proud.

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  22. No, I had never heard of this before. What an interresting place! Sometimes you just have to get your knees all dirty to get the most wonderful shot. Thank you for sharing :)

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