Skykomish River 5/12/12

Coordinates: lat. 47.8547625
lon. -121.6773553
Weather: 65 degrees F and sunny

--The first stop on our field trip today is on the banks of the Skykomish River, just east of Goldbar. First off I learn that this area is known as a riparian zone, i.e. the area surrounding a river, effected by and in relation to the flowing river. We identify the area as second growth (having been clearcut in 1999) but the trees are already quite tall. Deciduous trees predominate the landscape, particularly black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa). Some small conifers are beginning to grow, but none as large as the cottonwoods and maples. The under-story is quite thick, perhaps a result of there being plenty of light filtered through the deciduous trees. There seems to be a greater diversity of trees and mid-story plants here. A few delicate vine maples fill the mid-story with low swooping branches. Also beaked hazelnut trees (Corylus cornuta) branch out into the road. The leaves of the hazelnut look remarkably similar to those of alders, but are much fuzzier. While alder leaves are smooth and waxy, hazelnut leaves are very soft. The flowers of the hazel are also similar to alder- catkins that form in the fall to be pollinated in spring. The tree is of course named for its fruit: a nut enclosed in a husk. The nuts aren't produced until summer, so none were present during our visit.
Some of the plants that have leafed out since winter are almost more difficult to identify now than they were a few months ago when everything was so bare and the leaved plants so distinct. Common snowberry for example, really stood out in the winter, but now so surrounded by other leaves and shades of green it is more difficult to pick out.
There are large stands of Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) growing in open areas--especially near to the water. This plant is native to Eastern Asia, but has moved here and become very very invasive. I have seen much larger and taller stands of it elsewhere in Seattle choking out many other plants. There were no flowers present, but many tall stems with enormous leaves.
Down by the water a number of cottonwoods have rings of roots exposed above the water- known as "adventitious rooting." When the river rises and trees or branches are torn down stream, these oddly placed roots will take root where ever they land down the river, sprouting a new tree. Basically, the adventitious rooting is flood protection, using the unpredictability of the river to the tree's advantage.
Many robins are singing and we hear but do not see a hermit warbler (Setophaga occidentalis), high up in the canopy. A pacific flowering crab apple leans into the road as well--completely covered in blossoms. I wonder if these trees are totally wild? Why would there be only one of them in this entire area?

Species List
Trees:
Vine Maple (Acer circinatum)
Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum)
Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii)
Pacific Crab apple (Mallus Fusca)
Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta)
Black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa)

Shrubs:
Trailing Blackberry (Rubus ursinus)
Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus)
Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
Scotch Brooom (Cytisus scoparius)

Forbs/Grasses:
Sheep's Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
Sweet Vernal Grass
Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica)

Birds:
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Hermit Warbler (Setophaga occidentalis)

Publicado por jesscubb jesscubb, 05 de junio de 2012

Observaciones

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Mayo 12, 2012

Descripción

These Hazelnut trees were frequent throughout this diverse deciduous forest. The leaves of the Hazelnut, though similar to alder, are distinguishable by their incredibly soft texture! The tree was in flower with catkins not unlike alder, but later in the season they will turn into the nuts that give name to this tree. The trees were about 5 m tall on average with leaves very coarsely toothed.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Arce Enredadera (Acer circinatum)

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Mayo 12, 2012

Descripción

The vine maples here were fairly low growing, filling in the mid space beneath the tall deciduous trees and above the shrubs. They are almost more of a large woody shrub themselves, actually, the one photographed here was not over 5m tall. The branches and leaves were opposite, just like their Big-Leaf counterpart, which helps distinguish them even when the leaves aren't present in the winter.

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Mayo 12, 2012

Descripción

This beautiful, fully flowering apple tree was not more the 3.5m tall, with long branches swooping outward and downward into the road. If there were other crab apple trees in the area, they were certainly not as conspicuous as this one, which stood out whit against the green background.

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Mayo 12, 2012

Descripción

This tall dogwood was not in the main bit of the forest we explored, but instead tucked away at the side of the larger road. The tree is already beginning to lose many of its flowers. Prof. Tewksbury shows us how the spiraled veins inside a dogwood leaf will hold the leaf together even when the leaf itself is torn apart.

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Mayo 12, 2012

Descripción

Trailing blackberry dominated much of the under story here, perhaps finally more prevalent than its invasive competitor: Himalayan! It was in bloom with soft white flowers. The older leaves grow purplish at the edges, while the younger ones are bright green.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Escoba Rubia (Cytisus scoparius)

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Mayo 12, 2012

Descripción

I was surprised at the brilliant red on the flowers of this scotch broom plant. The plant itself was young and small, only about .5m, but the red flowers were striking.

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Mayo 12, 2012

Descripción

This invasive plant was growing in tight stands throughout the forest here. It seemed to prefer open areas with more sunlight. I am not sure how to identify which species of knotweed this could be. The shrub was around 1.5m tall with very large leaves.

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Mayo 12, 2012

Descripción

Growing all alone this little flower filled in a space near to the road. Only about 20 cm tall, this sweet flower is easy to pass by.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Lengua de Pájaro (Rumex acetosella)

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Mayo 12, 2012

Descripción

Growing in a patch of grasses at the center of the parking lot, these little flowers helped identify the grass as "sweet vernal." The leaves were palatable, a bit like spinach.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Arce de Hoja Grande (Acer macrophyllum)

Observ.

jesscubb

Fecha

Mayo 12, 2012

Descripción

These giants really dominated the over story here at the Skykomish. They offer a canopy that is not quite as dense as a conifer would, letting in soft light from between and through their big leaves. The maples here have been able to grow HUGE and are all completely covered in dense moss.

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