The Tall Locust Trees planted years ago along Julian’s narrow streets are once again brightening this backcountry (and former gold-rush) town with blossoms of white, pink, and lavender. Introduced into the West by 19th-Century emigrants, locust trees have become almost a trademark of California’s gold country, from the Mother Lode south to Julian.
San Diego’s Coastal Wildflower Bloom continues practically unabated this month owing to heavy rainfall during the past fall and winter seasons. On north-facing slopes and in shady canyon bottoms, where the sun’s drying effects have not yet taken hold, look for native red monkeyflower, blue-eyed grass, wild hyacinth, and nonnatives such as chrysanthemum and mustard. Irrigated freeway embankments, with showy African daisies, blooming iceplant, and other forms of groomed landscaping, continue to exhibit brash coloration.
Land Bird Migration is in full swing this month in San Diego County, with warblers and flycatchers among those most commonly seen. Warblers crawl along tree limbs and branches to dine on their favorite insects, while flycatchers, as the name suggests, catch their meals on the wing. Riparian areas such as the San Diego River through Mission Gorge and Marian Bear Park in San Clemente Canyon are favored by both birds and birdwatchers.
The Silk Oak Tree, a fast-growing import from Australia, comes into short-lived glory this month. Golden flower clusters decorate the silvery-green branches, an effect that is particularly stunning when seen in contrast to the blue-blossoming jacaranda trees often planted nearby. A common tree in San Diego-area parks, the silk oak is also a popular street and back-yard tree in the older residential areas.
The Big Dipper now floats level upside down right after dark, when you face north-northeast and look very high. Its handle is on the right. Its Pointer stars, forming the left end of the Dipper's bowl, point down toward Polaris.
The above comes from the Outdoors listings in the Reader compiled by Jerry Schad, author of Afoot & Afield in San Diego County. Schad died in 2011. Planet information from SkyandTelescope.org.