Monday, March 13, 2023

Tree Following in March ... almost spring!

Eastern Laramie Plains, Laramie Mountains in distance, my junipers circled.

Mid March is here and spring is approaching, even in Laramie at 7200 ft elevation. It's time to visit the junipers I'm following this year. As usual, we left the trailhead via Trail 1 and soon veered off cross-country on gently-sloping limestone.
This Limber Pine near my junipers has a lot of character! (not all pines aspire to be trees :)
The dog paws in the center of the photo below belong to my field assistant, who found a patch of snow to squirm around on upside down—to scratch her back I guess.
This African hunting dog (50% Basenji) loves snow.
It was a cool but mostly sunny day with just a light breeze. I was able to photograph the junipers in some detail.
My Rocky Mountain Junipers—the many stems seem odd. Other trees in the area are similar.
A closer look at the trunk situation.
Juniper berries were more common on the east (leeward) side—mostly yellow, a few blue. 
The "archeological site" I mentioned last month revealed its age—not old at all! One of the boards was lying atop last year's grass stems. Apparently someone besides me likes this site too.
This time we continued eastward up the limestone slope "to see what we could see". From the not-so-high point I spotted two American Crows squawking from a similar high point nearby. Crows here are used to people and dogs. These two seemed interested in us actually.
Much of the snow that was here last month had melted. But the ground was still moist and contrasted nicely with the lichens that are so common. I was sure I would find this lichen (right?) online, but not. So I posted it to iNaturalist hoping for an identification. If you recognize it, please add a comment.
I hoped to find a few of our earliest wildflowers. And I did ... but not in bloom just yet. Easter Daisies were locally common on sparsely vegetated soil, their favorite habitat. I bet they will be in full flower next month.
Easter Daisies (Townsendia) are common here.
Plants are ca. 2–4 cm across.
Ready to bloom!

This is my contribution to the March gathering of tree followers kindly hosted by the Squirrelbasket (click on link to learn more about what we do). And read more news about our followed trees.


  1. It is an exciting time of year when the snow melts and the new plant starts are visible. We, unfortunately, just received several more inches of snow...meh. But you're right--soon it will be truly spring and the blooms and green growth will really get going. Great captures of your field assistant. :)

  2. OMG my favorite Townsendia! i will read this post soon:)

  3. Yes your lichen! it looks so particular. And i will follow you on inaturalist, maybe i can come up with a suggestion for this cool lichen. btw your Juniper looks great too.

  4. I spotted my tree from a distance yesterday and will visit it soon. Over 30 inches of rain so far this season so it should be very happy...

    1. Ronn, thanks for visiting! can I follow your tree with you in May?

  5. Good post and interesting pictures. xx