Here are just a few of the recorded wildflower
sightings over the past few years. This is not a complete listing as
each year there are flowers throughout the summer and fall as well.
2011 - Rainfall total for 2010/2011 = 20.68 inches
as of April 4, 2011 at Kernville Pumping Station
KERN RIVER PRESERVE
27 April 2011
The flowers are still here but are very few in
number. The rains were not spaced evenly enough and the dousing in
December gave a good head start to the exotic grasses which have crowded
out the wildflowers for the most part this year.
2 April 2011
Another wildflower walk along Fay Creek revealed a
still reluctant bloom but areas are now carpeted with annual wooly
sunflower. The first pygmy poppy is blooming along with many new annuals
for the week; several species from the phlox family including evening
snow, miniature gilia, Davy gilia, false giliflower and slender phlox.
Owl's clover is beginning to dominate the cover climbing into the
27 March 2011
In bloom along Sierra Way; spider lupine, globe gilia,
brown-eyed primrose, bishop's lotus, floriferous monkeyflower,
California poppy, thistle sage, Bigelow's tickseed, lacy phacelia, white
The bloom is good along Old Kern Canyon Road between
Hwy 178 and Borel Canyon Road.
26 March 2011
A blustery day in spring in the Kern River Valley is
normal. What seems a little unusual is the late bloom this year. All
along Fay Canyon the hills are hinting of a spectacular bloom of golden
poppy on the hills of the Domeland Wilderness and Kern Plateau. Blooming
along the creek are Sierra layia, annual wooly sunflower, scale bud,
goldfields, California poppy. A few varieties of lupine including
spider, miniature and silver are just beginning their bloom.
19 March 2011
Our annual wildflower walk for Living Green was
preceded by an upland restoration work party. Ten people joined a walk
around the Kern River Preserve headquarters and enjoyed the beginning of
a promising wildflower year. Just a few flowers are beginning to bloom
around the lawn, Fay Canyon and Migrant Corner along Sierra Way.
2010 - Rainfall total for 2009/2010 = 12.24 inches
as of June 1, 2010 at Kernville Pumping Station
KERN RIVER PRESERVE
17 March 2010
Saint Patrick's Day opened with carpets of green and
orange. The hills above the preserve continue to glow with more and more
poppies. Join Audubon on Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. on a wildflower walk
in celebration of "Living Green".
12 March 2010
The cool weather continues but both Sierra Way
and Fay Canyon have started blooming. California Poppies are the major flower
with some coreopsis, filaree, and fiddleneck. Many more plants still are
green but it should be a pretty good year. There are other plants blooming
but the good show should be in a few weeks.
Although the forecast is for rain, we are looking for
it to clear in time for our wildflower
walk tomorrow, Saturday, March 13th beginning at 9
a.m. at the headquarters. We will convene at the headquarters, arrange
carpools and immediately move out to the Sierra Way bridge area. As with
all hikes on the preserve, please be prepared to walk on uneven terrain
by wearing sturdy shoes. Wear a hat, bring water to drink, your
binoculars and camera and enthusiasm. As with all organized walks on the
preserve, no dogs please.
As the season matures, there should be little problem with the cool
weather and rain, but a heat wave and high winds will be devastating to
many of the flowers.
2009 - Rainfall total for 2008/09 = 8.59 inches at
Kernville Pumping Station
KERN RIVER PRESERVE
The Fay Creek area is beginning to bloom nicely.
Wallace's wooly sunflower and white layia are blooming well.
Broad-flowered gilia, scalebud, California poppy and other species are
Sierra Way is blooming along the roadside by the
South Fork Kern bridge. Brown-eyed primrose, California poppy, popcorn
flower, Bigelow's coreopsis, checker fiddleneck, globe gilia, spider
lupine, miniature lupine, red maids, and Bishop's lotus all are
As of March 1st, at least 30 species of annual
wildflowers are in bloom. The great show has not begun at Migrant
Beginning in January sparse blooms were found here
and there. A 10" snowfall on December 15th helped with much needed
moisture. It also snowed on Christmas Day but not enough to soak the
ground. January was pretty dry, but February was a good month for rain.
2008 - Rainfall total for 2007/08 = 7.39 inches at
Kernville Pumping Station
August 30 2008
KERN RIVER PRESERVE
Annual sunflowers are blooming along the roadsides
and in the fields right now. Sacred Datura, Indian Tobacco, California
Evening Primrose and Salt Heliotrope add splashes of white blooms among
the bright yellow blossoms of Vinegar Weed.
March 22 2008
people joined a tour up Sierra Way from the Kern River Preserve to
above Riverkern. The hills of the Kern River Preserve at the Sierra
Way bridge are full of globe gilia and spider lupine with
smatterings of other plants. Along the Migrant Corner trail find red
maids, Bigelow's coreopsis, Fremont's pincushion, brown-eyed
primrose, checker fiddleneck, California poppy, popcorn flower,
cream cups, floriferous monkeyflower, blue dicks, miniature lupine,
bishop's lotus, caterpillar phacelia, slender keel fruit, scale bud,
silver bird's foot trefoil.
March 15 2008
Today, with friends Don and Sandra in tow after a morning of upland
restoration, we ventured out to the Kern River Preserve's migrant
corner and Kelso Valley.
In the uplands of the Kern River Preserve's Sprague Ranch unit, we
found man-root, popcorn flower, owl's clover, annual wooly
sunflower, white layia, Bigelow's coreopsis, goldfields, checker
fiddleneck, herb sophia, hoary-podded lens cress, London rocket,
slender keel fruit, Bishop's lotus, miniature lupine, red-stemmed
filaree, Fremont's phacelia, white fiesta flower, fiesta flower,
common henbit, hill suncup, California poppy, golden poppy, slender
gilia, showy gilia, slender phlox and blue dicks.
March 8 2008
day, another adventure with my friend Terri. The wind was howling
but it didn't matter because the Kern River Valley has poppies! So
many of the hills are green with the orange and yellow frosting of
poppies and coreopsis. The best display of poppies is near the
northern boundary of Audubon's Kern River Preserve just north of the
South Fork bridge in Weldon. Almost the entire slope is full of
brilliant orange California poppies with an occasional mutant yellow
poppy thrown in for good measure. Along Sierra Way, between Weldon
and Kernville, many wonderful plants are in bloom. Along the road,
chia, scale bud, globe gilia, coreopsis, brown-eyed primrose, red maids, Bishop
lotus, spider lupine and miniature lupine get more abundant each
February 27 2008
begun. Sierra Way in the Kern River Valley has begun to explode with
color. Mostly California Poppy but other flowers are blooming as
well. I just checked the area where the Kern River Preserve is
bisected by Sierra Way and found the following in bloom north of the
bridge and granite road cut: Globe Gilia, California Poppy, Red
Maids, Chia, Bentham's Lupine, Red-stemmed Filaree, Bigelow's
Coreopsis, Bishop's Lotus, Checker Fiddleneck and plants that should
be in bloom by this weekend include, Brown-eyed Evening Primrose,
Scale Bud, and Thistle Sage.
- Rainfall total for 2006/07 = 6.83 inches
March 23 2007
RIVER PRESERVE - FAY RANCH ROAD
This week the walk around the creek near my home was much more
productive. Fay Creek is full of annual wooly sunflower and other
species are beginning to make a relatively nice showing. The
diminutive pygmy poppy is up along with Bigelow's monkeyflower,
Fremont's phacelia, scale bud, Sierra tidytips, checker fiddleneck,
tansy mustard, shepherd's purse, and filaree. Anyone wishing to see
these flowers should contact me and I can arrange a tour for a small
donation to the Kern River Preserve.
March 14 2007
RIVER PRESERVE - FAY RANCH ROAD
A walk along Fay Creek yielded little in the way of flowers, but
lots of little green patches hopefully will not dry out before they
have a chance to bloom. My yard has blooming fiddleneck and a couple
of species of mustard.
March 13 2007
SIERRA WAY KERN RIVER VALLEY
Many species are blooming now along Sierra Way from the South Fork
bridge to Rocky Point. I expect with the extended heat these will
fade quickly. The numbers are not great anywhere so far. Species
seen in bloom: brown-eyed evening primrose, California poppy, tansy
mustard, checker fiddleneck, forget-me-not, false gilia, lacy
phacelia, Bigelow's coreopsis, chia, globe gilia, bishop's lotus,
blazing comet, red-stemmed filaree, spider lupine, and California
- Rainfall total for 2005/06 = 15.70 inches
27 June 2006
The word is white, many white flowers are in bloom on the ranch
right now. Sprague Ranch flowers include, salt heliotrope, desert
milkweed, sacred datura, California evening-primrose, yerba mansa,
Indian tobacco, and prickly poppy. Large calabazilla are blooming
across the landscape.
30 May 2006
It has been a while since I reported anything significant, that is
not to say the bloom has been non-existent.
There have been some nice blooms of Clarkia along the Kern Canyon
and Glennville roads.
Yesterday, on the Kern River Preserve, I found several plants in
bloom and five new plants for the preserve plant list. Golden ear
drops, Kern dwarf brodiaea, chaparral yucca, interior live oak, and
2 Apr 2006
Kern River Preserve
A hike around the Sprague flood plain revealed more species in
bloom, no really abundant displays but it is looking promising. Here
is what I found including two questionable plants, see the April
Wildflower photo page and see if anyone can figure out the one
unknown which I haven't a clue it is a very tiny red plant next to
granite, the possible Pale Primrose?, and all of the varieties of cryptantha. Here is my working list: Checker Fiddleneck, Bigelow's
Coreopsis, Owl Clover, Common Wooly Sunflower, Wild Buckwheat,
Miniature Lupine, Pygmy Poppy, Bishop Lotus, Broad-flowered Gilia,
Goldfields, Silver Lupine, Popcorn Flower, Slender Keel Fruit, White
Tidy-tips, Silver Puffs, Mediterranean Mustard, California Poppy,
Shepherd's Purse, Red-stemmed Filaree, Scale Bud, and a few more mustard species
not yet keyed.
3 Feb 2006
KERN RIVER PRESERVE
The alluvial fan out by Fay Creek has dozens annual wooly sunflower
with thousands still in vegetative form and now several white layia
are in bloom. My yard poppy is quite robust due to continuous water.
Filaree are not quite as numerous as in past years. Wildlife is
definitely feeling a spring burst of excitement. Lots of activity
with herons, bluebirds, and jackrabbits right up to the house.
31 Jan 2006
KERN RIVER PRESERVE
noticed a bloom on my poppy plant yesterday and two more today.
Fiddleneck is starting to bloom and several mustards as well.
Nothing popping in the wild unfortunately, there is some green but I
am afraid that without some rain, the wildflower season here looks
to be disappointing. I hope not. All indications are the strong La
Nina will keep us dry and continue to soak points north.
17 Jan 2006
KERN RIVER PRESERVE
Took an interesting walk around the backyard of the ranch I care
Well backyard is a misstatement since the backyard is around 4000
acres! I walked through the sagebrush flat up to the gray pine
woodland and up the hill to the granite boulder laced grassland, I
found several plants already blooming but really quite sparse and
only in wind protected areas. The species in bloom included:
wooly sunflower, bush monkeyflower, red-stemmed filaree, Acton's
encelia, and oak gooseberry.
- Rainfall total for 2004/05 = 22.22 inches
12 March 2005
The show at the Kern River Preserve continues. Lupines are thick
along the slopes near the South Fork bridge. California poppy,
coreopsis, thistle sage and chia are pretty thick up at the higher
elevations on the slope. Further down the road the bloom is at the
roadside. Flowers observed blooming today, desert pincushion,
dandelion, Bigelow's coreopsis, Wallace's wooly sunflower,
brittlebush, Acton's encelia, scalebud, desert dandelion,
goldfields, pineapple weed, common groundsel, tansy mustard, London
rocket, peppergrass, shepherd's purse, slender keel fruit, popcorn
flower, checker fiddleneck, cow clover, miniature lupine, bajada
lupine, spider lupine, bishop's lotus, silver bird's foot trefoil,
stork'sbill filaree, oak gooseberry, white fiesta flower,
caterpillar phacelia, henbit, thistle sage, wild hyacinth,
white-stem blazing star, Kern sun cup, brown-eyed evening primrose,
cream cups, California poppy, slender phlox, bird's eye gilia, globe
gilia, red maids, common chickweed, miner's lettuce, bird's eyes,
granite monkeyflower, California figwort, evening snow and desert
This list was from memory as there were dozens of people that
accompanied me on a little wildflower walk on the preserve. This
walk was part of a series of monthly walks with a variety of local
experts. Next month we will have workshop on "What is a watershed?",
the walks/workshops are free and run from 9-11 am.
7 March 2005
Throughout the Kern Canyon and in the Kern Valley hilltops are
displaying waves of orange from California poppies. Some yellow is
also interspersed from Bigelow's Coreopsis. Through the canyon some
yellow from a small aster that resembles goldfields is causing a
gentle yellow and lime green appearance to some of the slopes. Many
mixed displays of flowers throughout the entire area are really
giving a mixed bouquet look to the roadsides.
1 March 2005
The Sierra Way flower show continues to accelerate. A heat wave and
I expect the entire area to start going nuts. I walked Migrant
Corner trail and found many new flowers. I did not photograph the
granite monkeyflower or the purple mat. I have posted most of the
other photos on the wildflower page. Other new flowers, Evening
Snow, Yellowthroats in Kelso Valley, Thistle Sage.
8 Feb 2005
I did a more thorough check along Sierra Way near the
South Fork bridge. I found some nice blooms of coreopsis far up the
hill. Good thing my friend Terri lent me a cane for the bum knee, I
was able to slowing creep up the hill. The California poppies were
closed but this subspecies is the Kernville Poppy, it has really
huge blossoms and is beautiful even closed, I look forward to seeing
it on a warmer day. New for today were miniature lupine and cow
clover. Caterpillar phacelia is blooming in a few places along with
white fiesta flower. Lots of globe gilia,
some chia, lots of spider lupine, lots of Bishop's lotus, some
popcorn flower and one silver lupine.
6 Feb 2005
A quick check along Sierra Way as the sun was setting. Near the
South Fork bridge, the slope on the Kern River Preserve had several
dozen Bigelow's Coreopsis in bloom. First of the season California poppy. Other species at this location, globe gilia,
brown-eyed evening primrose, chia. Further up the road toward
Kernville, several locations had coreopsis, clover, filaree, globe
gilia, popcorn flower. Spotty distribution but there are some
display locations in the beginning stages.
31 Jan 2005
Although not in abundance yet... I saw several species of
wildflowers blooming along Sierra Way near the South Fork bridge
in the Kern River Valley.
Along the decomposed granite wall overlooking the northwest edge of the South
Fork forest blooming plants. Brown-eyed evening primrose, Bigelow's
coreopsis, chia, spider lupine, globe gilia, and filaree.
2004 - Rainfall total for 2003/04 = 8.62 inches
18 Mar 2004
The Kern River Valley is busting a gut trying to get the blooms out.
While the scenes are patchy, it looks to be a very good wildflower
season ahead. California poppies and coreopsis are showing spots
several acres in size near the summit of many of the dry hills along
the South Fork Kern near the Kern River Preserve. Fay Canyon is in
the beginning stages of a grand show. Hopefully the heat won't wilt
14 Mar 2004
In the Kern River Valley along Sierra Way new blooms continue. The
Hanning Flat display of filaree has all but disappeared. The
roadside above Stine and Robinson Coves have some nice color.
The Kern River Preserve from Sierra Way to the overlook of the South
Fork forest has several abundant showings of coreopsis and poppies.
The trail next to the river has several plants in bloom but no real
High on the hillsides above Fay Creek Rd., Sierra Way, and Weldon's
Short Canyon large areas are blooming with poppies.
12 Mar 2004
In the Kern River Valley, Sierra Way from Weldon to just north of
the Kern County line appears to be the hotspot of wildflower
activity so far. I noticed the first thistle sage on the hill above
Migrant Corner trail (Sierra Way bridge over the South Fork Kern) on
the Kern River Preserve.
Poppies are littering the hillside with their blaze of orange, some
good landscape shots are available sporadically along the road.
Lupine, chia, globe gilia, white fiesta flower, brown-eyed evening
primrose, Bigelow's coreopsis, popcorn flower, Kernville poppy,
filaree, caterpillar phacelia, and owl's clover are all blooming.
The most numerous flower by far is filaree.
Rainfall total for 2002/03 = 14.88 inches
1 MARCH 2003
From Alison Sheehey: Kelso Valley Rd.: White Layia - Layia glandulosa,
Kern Monkeyflower - Mimulus shevockii Bird Spring Pass Rd. Phacelia,
Goldfields, Sinuate Gilia - Gilia sinuata, Bird's Eyes - Gilia tricolor
From Alison Sheehey: Sierra Way, between Kernville and Weldon, Kern
Valley: new flowers: Wright's Deer Vetch - Lotus wrightii, Clover -
Trifolium sp. All others continue to bloom well. South Lake, Kern
Valley: Goldenbush - Ericameria linearifolia, Evening Snow - Linanthus
From Alison Sheehey: The Kern Valley (Lake Isabella) in Kern County has
one spot that really is beginning to explode. Wildflowers are really
blooming well on Sierra Way between Kernville and Weldon (Hwy 178).
California Poppy - Eschscholzia californica, Perennial Aster -
Asteraceae, Storksbill Filaree - Erodium cicutarium, Chia - Salvia
columbariae, Owl's Clover - Castilleja exserta, Tropidocarpum -
Tropidocarpum gracile, Lupine - Lupinus sp., Caterpillar Phacelia -
Phacelia tanacetifolia, School Bells - Dichelostemma capitatum,
Goldfields - Lasthenia californica, Stick Leaf - Mentzelia sp., Apiaceae
- Lomatium sp., Miniature Lupine - Lupinus sp., Popcorn Flower -
Plagiobothrys sp., Fiddleneck - Amsinkia sp., Thistle Sage - Salvia
carduacea, Annual Aster - Asteraceae, Brown-eyed Evening Primrose -
Camissonia claviformis ssp. claviformis, Mustard - Brassicaceae, White
Fiesta Flower - Pholistoma membranaceum, Globe Gilia - Gilia capitata