[Wildflower Bloom in Central and Eastern Oregon: 2015]

Wildflower Bloom Along the Upper North Loop Road

Steens Mountain Recreational Lands

Fish Lake to East Rim Viewpoint & West Rim of Kiger Gorge

September 20-21, 2015

Aspens changing colors at Jackman Park, Steens Mountain Recreational Lands.......Speptember 19, 2015.

Aspens (Populus tremuloides) beginning to show their fall colors at Jackman Park, Steens Mountain Recreation Lands...........September 19, 2015. See additional photos from this area at the bottom of the page.

* indicates the wildflower is currently in bloom.

This list includes plants observed within meters of the Steens Mountain North Loop Road between Fish Lake and East Rim Viewpoint, and along the south and west rim of Kiger Gorge.

Drummond's Rush: Juncus drummondii

Parry's Rush: Juncus parryi

Merten's Rush: Juncus mertensianus

Bottlebrush Squirreltail: Elymus elymoides (ssp. californicus ?)

False Hellebore: Veratrum californicum var. californicum

American Bistort: Bistorta bistortoides

* Oval-leaf Buckwheat: Eriogonum ovalifolium var. nivale

Sulfur-flower Buckwheat: Eriogonum umbellatum var. dicrocephalum

Douglas' Knotweed: Polygonum douglasii

Pussypaws: Calyptridium umbellatum

Prickly Sandwort: Arenaria aculeata

Ballhead Sandwort: Eremogone congesta var. congesta

Wax Currant: Ribes cereum var. cereum

Alpine Prickly Currant: Ribes montigenum

Curl-leaf Mountain-mahogany: Cercocarpus ledifolius var. intermontanus - Some plumed fruits visible.

Shrubby Cinquefoil: Dasiphora fruticosa

Rock Spirea: Holodiscus microphylla var. glabrescens

Pink Pinwheels: Horkelia fusca ssp. capitata

Brewer's Cinquefoil: Potentilla breweri

Diverse-leaved Cinquefoil: Potentilla glaucophylla var. glaucophylla

Elmer's Cinquefoil: Potentilla gracilis var. elmeri

Graceful Cinquefoil: Potentilla gracilis var. fastigiata

Sibbaldia: Sibbaldia procumbens

Freckled Milkvetch: Astragalus lentiginosus var. chartaceus - Pods present.

* Low Mt. Lupine: Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii

* Velvet Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus - A few plants in bloom below Fish Lake along the North Loop Road.

* Silky Lupine: Lupinus sericeus - A few plants in bloom below Fish Lake along the North Loop Road.

* Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii - A few plants in bloom.

* Tansy-leaf Evening-primrose: Taraxia tanacetifolia

Gray's Lovage: Ligusticum grayii

* Wavy-leaved Paintbrush: Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum - Yellow-flowered. Fading out of bloom around Jackman Park.

Little Elephant Heads: Pedicularis attolens

* Yarrow: Achillea millefolium

* Alpine Agoseris: Agoseris monticola

* Longleaf Arnica: Arnica longifolia - Blooming plants were crushed by recent snowfall, so probably fading out of bloom.

Hairy Arnica: Arnica mollis

* Lanceleaf Green Rabbitbrush: Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus ssp. lanceolatus - Blooming occasionally along the North Loop Road below Fish Lake

* Sticky-flowered Rabbitbrush: Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus ssp. viscidiflorus - Blooming occasionally along the North Loop Road below Fish Lake

Steens Mt Thistle: Cirsium eatonii var. peckii

Discoid Goldenweed: Ericameria discoidea var. discoidea

Greene's Rabbitbrush: Ericameria greenei or Shrubby Goldenweed: Ericameria suffruticosa

* Mountain Rubber Rabbitbrush: Ericameria nauseosa var. oreophila - Blooming occasionally along the North Loop Road below the Kiger Gorge junction.

* Showy Rubber Rabbitbrush: Ericameria nauseosa var. speciosa - Blooming occasionally along the North Loop Road below the Kiger Gorge junction.

Foreign Fleabane: Erigeron glacialis var. glacialis

* Orange Sneezeweed: Hymenoxys hoopesii - Sporadic bloom along the North Loop Road between Jackman Park and Kiger Gorge.

* Hayden's Aster: Oreostemma alpigenum var. haydenii

Woolly Groundsel: Packera cana

* Dwarf Mountain Butterweed: Senecio fremontii - Fading out of bloom.

* Leafy Aster: Symphyotrichum foliaceum var. parryi

* Common Dandylion: Taraxacum officinale

Animals Seen Along this Route:

Pronghorn - Herd of 19 at head of Fish Creek

Mule Deer

Domestic Sheep - Stray animal at head of Fish Creek

Sierra Nevada Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels

Turkey Vultures

Golden Eagles

Red-tailed Hawk

Swainson's Hawks - Most common hawk at the summit.

Prairie Falcons



Great-horned Owl - Fish Lake

American Coots - Fish Lake

Mallard Hens - Fish Lake

Pied-billed Grebes - Fish Lake

Belted Kingfisher - Fish Lake

Northern Flickers

Red-naped Sapsucker


Clark's Nutcrackers - 9 migrating past East Rim Viewpoint & harassed by Prairie Falcon.

Common Ravens

Brewer's Blackbirds - Fish Lake

Red-winged Blackbirds - Fish Lake

American Robins - Fish Lake

Mountain Bluebirds - Fish Lake and along North Loop Road downhill to French Glen

Townsend's Solitaires - Fish Lake and at East Rim Viewpoint

American Pipits - Summit Ridge

Spotted Towhees - Fish Lake

Horned Larks

Dark-eyed Juncos - Eating insects on snow at East Rim Viewpoint

Golden-crowned Sparrows - Numerous

White-crowned Sparrows - Numerous

Song Sparrows - Fish Lake

American Goldfinches - Fish Lake

Black Rosy-finches - East Rim Viewpoint

Pine Siskines - Summit Ridge

Orange-crowned Warbler - Fish Lake

Yellow-rumped Warblers - Fish Lake

Rock Wrens

Cliff Swallows migrating over Fish Lake

Tree or Violet-green Swallows migrating over Fish Lake

Red-breasted Nuthatches - At Fish Lake and eating insects off cliff faces at East Rim Viewpoint.

White-breasted Nuthatches - Eating insects off cliff faces at East Rim Viewpoint.

Mountain Chickadees - Fish Lake


Pine Whites

Orange Sulphurs


Flying Grasshoppers


Lady Bugs

-Aspens changing colors at Jackman Park, Steens Mountain Recreational Lands.......Speptember 20,  2015. - Kiger Gorge, Steens Mountain Recreation Lands........September 19, 2015.

View east towards the Kiger Gorge Overlook parking area from the west rim of Kiger Gorge........September 19, 2015. - View west towards Jackman Park and Fish Lake from a primitive road that heads north between the Kiger Gorge and Upper McCoy Creek, Steens Mountain Recreation Lands.......September 19, 2015.

The photo at upper left is another view of aspens in fall colors just below Jackman Park. The photo at upper left shows Kiger Gorge as viewed from the overlook, looking north. The photo at lower left shows a view across grasslands towards the upper Kiger Gorge, with the Kiger Gorge Overlook at center right. The photo at lower right shows a view west downslope from the Kiger Gorge area towards Jackaman Park and Fish Lake. The photo was taken just south of the upper portion of the McCoy Creek cirque. In the far distance, Hart Mountain and Poker Jim Flats can be seen on the left horizon. Iron Mountain and Glass Buttes can be observed on the horizon at right. Steens Mountain Recreation Lands................September 19-20, 2015.

Paul Slichter