Trip to Big Bear California, Part 1

Vic led a birding trip to Big Bear Lake, California last weekend. We mostly drove around on dirt roads in the mountains, then walked a short distance to Bluff Lake. Wildflowers were spectacular. Here are some shots.

Santa Ana River at Middle Control Road near Angelus Oaks

Next to Santa Ana River

Santa Ana River

Santa Ana River by Middle Control Road, near Angelus Oaks

California wild rose

White Yarrow

No clue what these flowers are

Close-up of corn lily flowers

Corn Lilies

Did I mention that it was COLD? Yes, it was August, but there were ice crystals on the grass

Ice crystals on a sage leaf

A sunflower of some sort

If this were spring, I'd say that this saprophyte was snow plant. Others thought it was named pine drops.

Here is the group of birders that Vic was leading. I don't think he's in the picture. Oops, yes he is. Both he and our son Scott pointed out that he's in the red jacket in back. Hey, I'm working with a 2-inch photo, gimme a break.

Backlit Jeffrey pines. If you sniff the deep cracks in the bark, you can smell vanilla.

Western fence lizard

Purple asters. They may be called Showy Asters.

Vic (in red jacket on left) and his group of birders

Our first view of Bluff Lake

Bluff Lake

Bluff Lake

Northern Bluets (I think)

A bumblebee shows us his heinie, and the stuffed pollen sacs on his legs

Rangers Buttons



Corn Lily at Bluff Lake

Saprophytes, maybe pine drops

female mallard

Bluff Lake

A saprophyte, maybe snow plant

Old log cabins by Bluff Lake

Can't remember this flower, maybe loosestrife

corn lilies

Scarlet bugler, I think

Lemon Lilies

California wild rose

Great trip. Part II will cover where we stayed.

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a retired medical researcher, retired professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I wrote a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent for many years. I also supervised environmental restoration projects and taught at the Orange County Conservation Corps before retiring in the summer of 2016. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks. I am also dedicated to combatting global climate change.
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9 Responses to Trip to Big Bear California, Part 1

  1. HelenB says:

    Pretty sure the yellow flowers just after the white yarrow are St John’s Wort. And yes, the magenta one is Loosestrife (also known as “fireweed”, because it grows lushly in burned over areas).


    • Helen, thanks for the confirmation. Vic and I were arguing about whether is was loosestrife OR fireweed. Same thing. Ha. Who knew?


      • HelenB says:

        OOPS!!! I’ve been carrying around false information in my head for many years and passed it on here. The flower in question is fireweed, Epilobium angustifolium. It has 4 petals. Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria has 6 petals. I knew that loosestrife was an agressive “escaped exotic”, and is actually illegal to sell or grow in many places and (may have) simply assumed that it was the same as fireweed, because overall they look so much alike. Sorry.


      • Helen, thanks for the correction. Now I hope that the image of that flower will stick in my mind as FIREWEED. Thanks.


  2. I agree with Helen above, looks like St. John’s Wort. What I can’t tell is if it’s one of the native or invasive cultivars. I’d presume, based on where you saw it, it’s native. I’m impressed you found Columbine still in bloom!


  3. janedwellable says:

    Hi Lou,
    My name is Jane and I’m with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Big Bear Lake to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you 🙂


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