What Spring Looks Like in the San Francisco Bay Area: A Photograph Collection
Which is your favorite season?
Spring Comes Early Where I Live
I am one of those fortunate people who live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The weather is mild most of the time. It's never too cold or too hot out this way. We do get several weeks of rain, but we can usually expect signs of spring sometime around the end of January.
Some years, they isn't much rain. That's how winter 2011 played out. Instead of weeks of rain, we had only a handful of wet days from November to February. Winter 2015 started slow. December rain poured down on us causing flooding and power outages in many areas, though not mine. January was as dry as a desert. In 2016, El Nino blessed us throughout December and January, but took a recess by Groundhog Day. Plants bloomed, insects hatched, and birds paired up in the weather too warm for February.
Our strange winters cause nature to be unpredictable. While it may seem like were bouncing into spring weeks in advance, this weather will change. It is only a tease.
I don't mind these early, warm days. I take advantage of them as much as I can. You never know if March and April will turn on you. I like to take my dog and my camera out for daily walks. The camera doesn't need a leash though. You'd be surprised how many beautiful things there are to photograph just two or three blocks away.
Why don't you join me as I share with you some the signs of spring that have already appeared in my neighborhood. I'd love to have you along!
California Poppies Shimmer in the Sun
Poppies are native to California. They are one of my favorite flowers. They are simple, yet magnificent.
The house on the corner has several poppy plants lining the sidewalk. Every Autumn they cut them back to almost nothing. Then somewhere around the beginning of February the plants get bushy and little buds begin to form.
I like the way the sun plays off their orange and yellow petals. They really are beautiful.
Great Place to Bird Watch
If you find yourself in one of the many natural areas of the San Francisco Bay Area, you might want to do a little bird watching. A short hike is usually within minutes.
Even if the farthest you find yourself is your own neighborhood, you'll encounter many different birds as suburban areas in the Bay Area provide homes and habitat to many different types. You don't have to travel far to find bird watching opportunities in these parts.
If you're out and about, you should have a guide handy to help you identify the different birds you might encounter. This guide is specifically written for the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Mountain Lilies are Peeking Through the Soil
We have a small patch of Mountain Lilies up against our back fence. Every autumn, the blooms die off and the plants turn into brown stalks. They are cut down leaving just a little bit of plant near the ground.
Just when it seems the plants might not recover, little green sprouts appear just above the dirt. First one and then several.
Now the stalks are growing healthy and green. In a few weeks they will be foot or more tall and then little flower buds will begin to poke out. I can't wait to see them reborn once again!
Cucumber Beetle Resting on a Dandelion
I know, both these things are considered menaces by many. The dandelion propagates more dandelions. Then, all you have is a lawn of weeds.
The cucumber is a known garden pest. They can eat through leaves and petals and leaving behind destruction.
They both represent the bad side of the season. Yet, I couldn't help to take this photo because you don't always get to see insects close up. And, dandelions are pretty photogenic little flowers.
Squirrels Out Frolicking
Around the end of January, my neighbor's tree began to fruit. I'm not sure what kind of tree it is. It produces a small berry.
The squirrels must have heard about it. They've been flocking to the tree every day. As you can see there are plenty of berries to choose from.
From the way they've been chasing each other around the neighborhood, I suspect that mating season has begun. They're great to watch as three or four males try to capture a lone female.
Here a Duck, There a Duck
One of the funniest sights in this neighborhood are the ducks that waddling around. They come a courtin' at the start of spring. Couples will be hanging out in front yards and roaming along the sidewalk.
Sometimes one will sit up on the roof of the house. The mate will be on the sidewalk keeping watch. Maybe they've had a fight and she refuses to go back to the nest with him. They always fly off together so I guess they don't hold grudges.
I've passed one couple on my walk a few times. They keep a safe distance from people, but are never far from each other.
Set Out on Some East Bay Trails
No matter where you live in the San Francisco Bay Area you're sure to be close to a hiking trail. Before arthritis, I used to spend quite a bit of time each spring on the trails up in the hills. There are some amazing sights to see and beautiful vistas. Great stuff for the camera buff.
If you don't much about Bay Area trails, get yourself a guide book. Then, start off in one direction. You've got the shoreline, the hills, some redwood forests, a few rivers and bays. There's so much out there to explore!
Some Things You Might Not Know about the San Francisco Bay Area
- California's state flower is the California Poppy. Also known as Eschscholzia californica, their colors range from yellow to orange.
- You might run into raccoon, squirrels, salamanders, snakes, opossum, or even skunks in my neighborhood.
- The San Francisco Bay Area is made up of micro-climates which can very 20 degrees or more.
- The California state insect is the Dogface Buttlerfly.
- There are fifty five parks in the East Bay Regional Park District with more than 1,200 miles of trails.
- Beaches, valleys, mountains, hills, forests, and cities can all be found within an our of each other in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Fog is just as prevalent as sunshine in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Dreaded Jasmine Has Started to Bloom
My Mom hates this plant. The previous owner planted it right outside the back door as a sort of barrier to the neighbor's house. It's messy and straggly. Not very appealing.
It also draws wasps. After fighting them last Summer, anything that attracts them is not welcome in our yard!
She's yet to tear the plant out. So, it's going through another season of blossoming. Soon there will be thousands of flowers from top to bottom.
The Doves Have Built Their Nest
Because the weather has been so pleasant, birds have started their nest building. We've got a bushy tree right outside the living room window with the perfect place for a nest especially if you aren't much of a nest builder.
I've seen many smaller sparrow like birds raising their brood here, but never a bird as large as a dove. It took four days of nest building before Mom began to sit on the nest. You may know doves aren't the greatest nest builders, so this spot was perfect for them.
Unfortunately, around the sixth day, they decided that this spot wasn't for them and moved on. No baby doves for us.
Pink Roses Blossoming
Depending on the weather, we might start seeing our roses bloom around January. But, by the end of March all ten plants are bursting with buds. This is a sure sign that the weather is improving and sunnier days are ahead of us.
What Kind of Plant is That?
If you're like me, you don't know one flower from the next. That's pretty embarrassing considering my sister is a floral designer and always telling us the names of the flowers and plants around us.
There are so many different plants that are native to the San Francisco Bay Area that you need a guide to figure them out. There are many guides to help you identify plants and flowers.
I like to take photos of what I find. Then, I compare my shots to those in my guide. It's fun to figure out what I've got.
My Neighbor has Planted Daffodils
I've always found that daffodils are cheery flowers. The yellow centers seem so bright and inviting.
Did you know the daffodil is a symbol of the American Cancer Society? They hold a Daffodil Days event each year around the nation to raise awareness.
The Sunsets are Spectacular
I have one spot in my yard where I can view sunsets. The weather has been a little warmer in my neck of the woods. Because of this, Mother Nature has treated us to some spectacular sunsets.
This was taken at the end of February. A warm day turn the evening sky to dazzling red. Whoever wrote "hope springs eternal" must have been talking about spring!
I love Spring, how about you? I'm not sure if it's the longer days, the blooming flowers, the return of the birds and other wildlife... Maybe it's that sense of freedom you get when the rain and snow have stopped. You can be outdoors again.
What do you look forward to in the Springtime?
© 2012 Melody Lassalle