[Wildflower Bloom in Central and Eastern Oregon: 2016]

Wildflowers of Big Springs Campground

Ochoco National Forest

September 24-27, 2016

Riparian meadows along Big Springs Creek, Ochoco National Forest.......September 26, 2016. - Deep Creek where Big Springs Creek flows into it, Ochoco National Forest.......September 26, 2016.

The photo at left shows riparian meadows along Big Springs Creek about one-half mile downstream of Big Springs Campground. The meadows are stoutly fenced with wildlife fencing and mountain alders and willows were planted in the creek for restoration. The photo at right shows fall foliage of creek dogwood (Cornus sericea) with old growth ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa) loming overhead at the place where Big Springs Creek flows into Deep Creek. Ochoco National Forest........September 26, 2016.

Big Springs Campground is accessible off of Forest Service Road #4270. The Ochoco National Forest website states there are 5 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings, but we could only find 4 signed sites. The campground, which is no fee, appears to be lightly used, although I'd guess that it might get a bit of use during hunting season in October. The campground has springs on the hill behind campsite #2, but filter the water before use. No potable water is available, but it may be obtained at nearby Deep Creek Campground or closer to Prineville at Ochoco Campground.

The campground itself has dry uplands with large ponderosa pines and a scattering of younger pines with a broad riparian area filled with mountain alders and grasses and forbs. I'd guess that the campground will be a good camping spot for bird watchers after Memorial Day (especially around sites 2 & 3), and it should have good wildflowers in the riparian areas and surrounding balds outside the fenced campground. In 2016, we observed numerous cow pies in the campground, but I don't know if cattle are allowed to graze the site every year, if this was an irregular occurance.

For a hike, one can walk west of campsite #1 following the south side of the riparian forest, crossing a north-south oriented fence and then following the cattle path on the south side of the next wildlife fence west downhill for about 2 miles to where Big Springs Creek flows into Deep Creek and return. There's an elevation loss of several hundred feet enroute and cattle may be present.

* indicates the wildflower is currently in bloom.

Mountain Alder: Alnus incana ssp. tenuifolia

Western Juniper: Juniperus occidentalis

Western Larch: Larix occidentalis - A few trees beginning to turn yellow outside the campground.

Ponderosa Pine: Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa

Quaking Aspen: Populus tremuloides - Beginning to change color in the exclosure at the west entrance to the campground.

Meadow Foxtail: Alopecurus pratensis

Smooth Brome: Bromus inermis

Orchard Grass: Dactylis glomerata

Bottlebrush Squirreltail: Elymus elymoides (var. elymoides or hordeoides ?)

Blue Wildrye: Elymus glaucus

Common Duckweed: Lemna minor - In Big Springs Creek.

American Stinging Nettle: Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis

Tapertip Onion: Allium accuminatum

Yellow Bells: Fritillaria pudica - Pods ripening.

Star-flowered False Solomon Seal: Maianthemum stellatum ? - may be a small Maianthemum racemosum

California False Hellebore: Veratrum (californicum var. californicum ?)

Columbia Monkshood: Aconitum columbianum ssp. columbianum

Creeping Oregon Grape: Berberis repens

Wormleaf Stonecrop: Sedum stenopetalum

Wax Currant: Ribes cereum var. cereum

Broadpetal Strawberry: Fragaria virginiana ssp. platypetala

Rydberg's Largeleaf Avens: Geum macrophyllum var. perincisum

Prairie Smoke: Geum triflorum var. ciliatum

Slender Cinquefoil: Potentilla gracilis var. fastigiata

Fan-leaved Cinquefoil: Potentilla gracilis var. flabelliformis

Velvet Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus

Burke's Lupine: Lupinus polyphyllus var. burkei ?

Cup Clover: Trifolium cyathiferum

Tall Annual Willowherb: Epilobium brachycarpum

Cow Parsnip: Heracleum lanatum

Western Sweet Cicely: Osmorhiza occidentalis ?

Western Polemonium: Polemonium occidentale

Common Houndstongue: Cynoglossum officinale

Self-heal: Prunella vulgaris var. vulgaris

Common Monkeyflower: Erythranthe guttata

Common Mullein: Verbascum thapsus

Kelloggia: Kelloggia galioides

Common Snowberry: Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus

Yarrow: Achillea millefolium

Woodrush Everlasting: Antennaria (luzuloides ssp. aberrans ?)

Rosy Pussytoes: Antennaria (rosea ?)

Elk Thistle: Cirsium scariosum

Bull Thistle: Cirsium vulgare

Western Groundsel: Senecio integerrimus var. exaltatus

West Coast Goldenrod: Solidago elongata

* Leafybract Aster: Symphyotricum foliaceum var. parryi - A few plants still in bloom.

Common Dandelion: Taraxacum officinale

Oyster Plant: Tragopogon dubius

Animals Observed During This Hike:


Coyotes - Howling at night near by.

Elk - Spoor and bugling.

Red Squirrel - Numerous

Goshawk ? - Diving on and chasing American Robins.

Northern Flickers

Pileated Woodpeckers

White-headed Woodpeckers

Common Raven

Clark's Nutcrackers - Numerous

Gray Jays - Numerous

Stellers Jays - Calling.

Spotted Towhee

American Robins

Varied Thrushes

Dark-eyed Juncos

Mountain Chickadees

Red-breasted Nuthatches

White-breasted Nuthatches

Yellow-rumped Warblers

White-faced Hornets - Numerous late in the season.

Yellow Jackets - Numerous late in the season.

Paul Slichter