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California’s Parrots: Fall Color on the Wing

Nanday Conure in Sycamore (11/28/15) Kathy Jonokuchi

Nanday Conure in Sycamore (11/28/15) Kathy Jonokuchi

As leaves fall from deciduous trees, flocks of exotic parrots become visible at points along the California coast.

While their loud screeching may be heard at other times of year, many of the parrots are seen infrequently, as their yellow-green feathers camouflage them in the foliage. That is, until late autumn.

The flocks likely started from a few pet birds that escaped or were released by owners, and who now number several hundred. Thirteen species of South American, African and Asian parrots have become naturalized in California and are becoming a seasonal attraction.

The most famous of them (visible year round) are San Francisco’s “Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,” a mix of cherry-headed conures, that were chronicled in an award-winning documentary of the same name (seen below).

In Los Angeles County, black-hooded parakeets (Nanday Conures) flock together during the late days of autumn where they feed from western San Bernardino County west to Malibu on liquidambar and sycamore seed pods and king palm seeds.

The annual reappearance of a flock of Nandays, known as the Pasadena Parrots, are a colorful herald to preparations for the town’s Tournament of Roses celebrations.

Southern California color spotter Kathy Jonokuchi captured one such group of black-hooded parakeets squawking while roosting in a sycamore tree (seen above).

CLICK HERE to read more about California’s parrots.

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Going To Town in Los Angeles

Undisclosed Colorful Locale in Los Angeles (11/23/15) LA Leaf Peeper

Undisclosed Colorful Locale in Los Angeles (11/23/15) LA Leaf Peeper

Los Angeles color spotter “LA Leaf Peeper” (actual name withheld to prevent paparazzi from hounding this celebrity), reports that fall color is now “going to town” throughout the City of Angels.

LA Leaf Peeper has been the first anywhere in California to report fall color for the past two years and though this LA “star’s” reports are few, they include insights to the status of fall color in tinseltown.

We’re sure Extra, Inside Edition, the National Enquirer or TMZ will want to know that turned leaves are still hanging from the early-showing liquidambar that LA Leaf Peeper alerted us to in August.  Though now, all LA’s deciduous trees are lit up brighter than the red carpet at the Dolby Theater on Oscar night.

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Los Angeles 

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LA County Arboretum Nears Peak

Crepe Myrtle, LACArboretum (11/21/15) Frank McDonough

Crepe Myrtle, LACArboretum (11/21/15) Frank McDonough

Sweet gum, red maple, Chinese tallow and San Gabriel Mountains, LAC Arboretum  (11/22/15) Frank McDonough

Sweet gum, red maple, Chinese tallow and San Gabriel Mountains, LAC Arboretum (11/22/15) Frank McDonough

Chinese tallow, LAC Arboretum  (11/22/15) Frank McDonough

Birch, LAC Arboretum (11/22/15) Frank McDonough

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mislabeled or just didn’t know what kind of tree appears in one of the photos posted on this site.

That’s why I enjoy visiting arboretums.  At arboretums, trees are well-marked.  The ones in nature don’t have a plaque at the base of their trunks with their common and latin names engraved on it.  At an arboretum, they do.

I own several plant identification books, but visiting an arboretum shows me what the tree will really look like when it’s fully grown.  “So, that’s what it means to be 70′ tall,” I’ve muttered to myself while looking at a tree I’d mistakenly thought would be right for my yard.

For anyone who loves trees, their great size, the beauty of their heavy, twisted branches, or how mature trees attract us to them, visiting an arboretum is endlessly fascinating.

California fan palm and ash, LAC Arboretum  (11/22/15) Frank McDonough

California fan palm and ash, LAC Arboretum (11/22/15) Frank McDonough

Birch, LAC Arboretum  (11/22/15) Frank McDonough

Chinese tallow, LAC Arboretum (11/22/15) Frank McDonough

This week is the week to visit California’s arboretums.  Their associated botanic gardens are mostly dormant, but the arboretums are full of color.

Frank McDonough reports the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Arcadia is nearing peak and should be prime for the next two weeks.

Seen among his photographs are delicately stemmed crepe myrtle, a variety of colorful trees taken from Myberg Falls toward the San Gabriel Mountains, birch draping a garden path, a California fan palm beside full peak ash, and Chinese tallow (also known as the Florida aspen).

California has nearly 20 arboretums, in nearly every corner of the state.  All are beautiful places to find solace and to learn more about the native and exotic trees growing throughout our state. CLICK HERE for a list of them.

Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

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Postcard: Peak, Peak, Peak, Peak, Peak

Apple Hill (11/19/15) Vera Haranto Fuad

Apple Hill (11/19/15) Vera Haranto Fuad

With with the possible exceptions of The Deserts and Santa Catalina Island, it is now peaking at all California elevations below 2,000′.

Apple Hill (11/16/15) Sarah Showalter

Apple Hill (11/16/15) Sarah Showalter

Apple Hill in the Sierra foothills of El Dorado County are canopied with color, as spotters Vera Haranto Fuad and Sarah Showalter found when they visited this past week.

Historic photos taken by Linnea Wahamaki and Susan Taylor (posted to our Facebook site) show the beauty seen this month in Nevada City in the Gold Country and at McArthur-Burney Falls State Park in the Shasta Cascade.

Seen from 800′ in the Sierra foothills at El Dorado Hills, the Sacramento Valley is covered with broad spotches of red, orange and yellow fall color, like a Persian carpet that’s been cast across the valley floor.

Maple, Nevada City (11/5/15) Linnea Wahamaki

Maple, Nevada City (11/5/15) Linnea Wahamaki

Maple, Nevada City (11/5/15) Linnea Wahamaki

Maple, Nevada City (11/5/15) Linnea Wahamaki

McArthur-Burney Falls (11/14/15) Susan Taylor

McArthur-Burney Falls (11/14/15) Susan Taylor

Red oak, Citrus Heights (11/16/15) Sarah Showalter

Red oak, Citrus Heights (11/16/15) Sarah Showalter

Ginkgo biloba, Agoura (11/19/15) Kathy Jonokuchi

Ginkgo biloba, Agoura (11/19/15) Kathy Jonokuchi

Blue oak, El Dorado Hills (11/21/15) John Poimiroo

Blue oak, El Dorado Hills (11/21/15) John Poimiroo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Showalter’s photo of a red oak ablaze in Citrus Heights is typical of the color to be seen lined along boulevards in Folsom, Fair Oaks, Carmichael and Sacramento.

Japanese maple, Ironstone Vineyards, Murphys (11/22/15) Bonnie Nordby

Japanese maple, Ironstone Vineyards, Murphys (11/22/15) Bonnie Nordby

Today, Bonnie Nordby strolled through a magical forest of crimson, yellow, orange and golden Japanese maple at the Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys, and sent us this snap.

From the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon), Jennifer “JMel” Mellone contributed photos taken in Campbell

Wherever you go, California’s many urban forests are on fire. Color spotter Kathy Jonokuchi sent snaps of garden color in Agoura and Nancy Wright of Murietta send added some of Pepper trees in Murietta (both in Southern California), where exotic trees will continue to provide fall color (weather permitting) through the Thanksgiving Day weekend.

However, from Plumas County, color spotter Jeff Luke Titcomb is almost longing in expressing that the fall color there has descended to the river bottoms. His brooding image of smoke rising through a forest of pine and black oak whose last remaining leaves cling weakly to spindly branches, is a nostalgic reminder that 2015’s autumn show has only days remaining.

Liquidambar, Campbell (11/22/15) Jennifer Malone

Liquidambar, Campbell (11/22/15) Jennifer Mellone

Ginkgo biloba, Campbell (11/22/15) Jennifer Malone

Ginkgo biloba, Campbell (11/22/15) Jennifer Mellone

Pepper, Campbell (11/22/15) Jennifer Malone

Pepper, Campbell (11/22/15) Jennifer Mellone

Pepper, Murietta (11/22/15) Nancy Wright

Pepper, Murietta (11/22/15) Nancy Wright

Pepper, Murietta (11/22/15) Nancy Wright

Pepper, Murietta (11/22/15) Nancy Wright

Black oak, Plumas County (11/22/15) Jeff Luke Titcomb

Black oak, Plumas County (11/22/15) Jeff Luke Titcomb

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Fall Color for the Holidays

Elm, Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Elm, Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Folks heading home for the holidays should see lots of fall color in yards and urban forests, as this sampling taken by color spotters across California attests.

Ginkgo biloba, Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Ginkgo biloba, Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Maple, Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Maple, Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

Southside Park, Sacramento (11/15/15) Jim Adams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Adams went out this week to capture glorious golden ginkgos and colossal claret-colored liquidambar along the boulevards of Sacramento’s Southside Park. Our state’s capital is a sight to behold in autumn when towering London Plane, Elm, Sycamore and trees of every imaginable variety, planted decades ago to shade the city from scorching summer heat, turn red-hot as Thanksgiving Day approaches.

Los Gatos (11/15/15) Anson Davalos

Los Gatos (11/15/15) Anson Davalos

Los Gatos (11/15/15) Anson Davalos

Los Gatos (11/15/15) Anson Davalos

Los Gatos (11/15/15) Anson Davalos

Los Gatos (11/15/15) Anson Davalos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Santa Clara Valley (AKA Silicon),  Anson Davalos found Los Gatos streets  arched with rufous arbors.

Heavenly bamboo, Murietta (11/15/15) Nancy Wright

Heavenly bamboo, Murietta (11/15/15) Nancy Wright

Liquidambar, Murietta (11/15/15) Nancy Wright

Liquidambar, Murietta (11/15/15) Nancy Wright

Murietta (11/15/15) Nancy Wright

Murietta (11/15/15) Nancy Wright

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, near Riverside, Nancy Wright drove through Murietta to find heavenly bamboo and liquidambar brightening the southland.

What makes California fall color so different from other areas on the continent is that our Mediterranean climate allows many varieties of exotic deciduous trees to flourish. That doesn’t happen elsewhere in North America.  And, that means we get a flush of brilliant color in our gardens, arboretums and urban forests that is incomparable.

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – California’s Urban Forests

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Southern California Goes Big

Rim of the World (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Rim of the World (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Weekend reports from color spotters show fall color going big across Southern California.

Lake Gregory Waterslides (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Lake Gregory Waterslides (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Alena Nicholas sent pictures from Rim of the World, Lake Gregory, Seely Creek, Green Valley and Deep Creek in the San Bernardino Mountains with deep orange color within forests of black oak.

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Even a few dogwood, that have been sheltered from the weather, are still carrying rose and lime confetti.

Lone Pine Cnyn, Wrightwood (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

Lone Pine Cnyn, Wrightwood (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

Frank McDonough sends back this shot of Lone Pine Canyon near Wrightwood, spiking hot, and at his home base in Arcadia, hickory and maple are alive with color at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden.

Jim Beaux took his annual trip to Mt. Palomar in San Diego County on Saturday, Nov. 14 and reported black oaks and bracken fern as being past peak.

A small grove of dogwood on the lower end of the Chimney Flats trail were Near Peak.

Mt. Palomar (11/14/15) Jim Beaux

Mt. Palomar (11/14/15) Jim Beaux

Jim blames the poor color on the drought and windstorms that have blown thru the area over the last couple of weeks.

He’s seen similar dryness at Dogwood Campground near Lake Arrowhead.

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – San Bernardino Mountains (Lake Gregory, Rim of the World, Seely Creek, Green Valley, Deep Creek)

Peak (75-100%) GO NOW! – Wrightwood

Past Peak YOU MISSED IT! – Mt. Palomar

Near Peak (50-75%) GO NOW! – Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Deep Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Deep Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Deep Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Deep Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Green Valley (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Lake Gregory (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Lake Gregory (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Rim of the World (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Rim of the World (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Black oak, Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Black oak, Seely Creek (11/14/15) Alena Nicholas

Shagbark Hickory, LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

Shagbark Hickory, LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

Freeman's Maple, LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

Freeman’s Maple, LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/14/15) Frank McDonough

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Thanksgiving Bellweather: LA County Arboretum

LA County Arboretum (11/10/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/10/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/10/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/10/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/10/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/10/15) Frank McDonough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A sure sign that Thanksgiving Day is approaching is when Frank McDonough of the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens in Arcadia starts sending photos of the arboretum’s grounds.

Looks like I better go order a turkey.

Frank reports it’s still early, though fall color is about 20% there, with developing reds and yellows.

The arboretum is a bellweather of approaching color in Southern California’s gardens and urban forests, and a great place for an autumn stroll.

From the looks of the garden, it’s colorful now, though will be close to perfect near Thanksgiving Day and beyond.

That means there’ll be lots of autumn color in the southland to add autumn color and mood to Thanksgiving Day festivities.

Patchy (10-50%) – Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

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LA County Arboretum Remembers It’s November

LA County Arboretum (11/1/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/1/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/1/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/1/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/1/15) Frank McDonough

LA County Arboretum (11/1/15) Frank McDonough

November is the month for California’s urban forests, arboretums and botanic gardens to peak. Foliage at the LA County Arboretum & Botanic Garden hasn’t forgotten.

Color spotter Frank McDonough sends these shots of early color showing at the Arboretum.

Just Starting (0-10%) – LA County Arboretum & Gardens

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LA County Arboretum Still Peaking

Ginkgo, LA Co. Arboretum & Botanic Gardens (12/9/14) Frank McDonough

Ginkgo, LA Co. Arboretum & Botanic Gardens (12/9/14) Frank McDonough

LA Co. Arboretum & Botanic Gardens (12/4/14) Frank McDonough

LA Co. Arboretum & Botanic Gardens (12/4/14) Frank McDonough

Ginkgo, LA Co. Arboretum & Botanic Gardens (12/4/14) Frank McDonough

Ginkgo, LA Co. Arboretum & Botanic Gardens (12/4/14) Frank McDonough

Liquidambar, LA Co. Arboretum & Botanic Gardens (12/4/14) Frank McDonough

Liquidambar, LA Co. Arboretum & Botanic Gardens (12/4/14) Frank McDonough

While stormy weather has washed away what little color remained in Northern California, until today the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botantic Garden was one of the last holdouts for fall color.

Frank McDonough reports that Ginkgo biloba and Liquidambar were still peaking at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, yesterday, though the spent leaves below a Ginkgo (seen above) illustrate how fragile the remaining color is.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, Arcadia (Peak – 75 – 100%) – Ginkgo biloba and Liquidambar are providing most of the remaining color at the LA County Arboretum, but high winds lashing California are likely to strip what’s left. About 25% of trees there have not yet peaked. GO NOW!

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New Fall Color Spot: Santa Catalina Island

Avalon, Santa Catalina Island (11/24/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Avalon, Santa Catalina Island (11/24/14) Nicholas Barnhart

West Side, Santa Catalina Island (11/24/14) Nicholas Barnhart

West Side, Santa Catalina Island (11/24/14) Nicholas Barnhart

West Side, Santa Catalina Island (11/24/14) Ron McNally

West Side, Santa Catalina Island (11/24/14) Ron McNally

Santa Catalina Island Fox (11/24/14) Alena Barnhart

Santa Catalina Island Fox (11/24/14) Alena Barnhart

Santa Catalina Island, made famous by The Four Preps in their song “26 miles,” is our newest fall color spot.

Color spotters Nick and Alena Barnhart spent this week on the “Island of romance,” reporting they saw areas of color all over the island. Nick says the color is at the end of peak with most of the remaining color to be seen in a variety of trees and shrubs, including palm trees, cottonwood, eucalyptus and various others he couldn’t identify.

Most of the color is found in the island’s “Wild Side” or interior, up canyons and often down to the beach.  He suggested it’s possible to “spend days exploring different canyons and areas for fall color.”  The palms were endlessly fascinating to him with some carrying orange fronds. And, of course, the island is populated with bison, deer, bald eagles and Santa Catalina Island Fox.

Local color spotter, Ron McNally, suggests November and December to be the best months at Santa Catalina for sunrises and sunsets, another colorful aspect of autumn.

Santa Catalina Island (Peak – 75-100%) – Palms, eucalyptus and cottonwood are at the end of peak, but still lovely.  The combination of blue-green seas, fall color and gorgeous sunsets makes Santa Catalina one of California’s most romantic fall color destinations. GO NOW!

Palm, Santa Catalina Island (11/24/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Palm, Santa Catalina Island (11/24/14) Nicholas Barnhart

 Santa Catalina Island (11/24/14) Nicholas Barnhart

Santa Catalina Island (11/24/14) Nicholas Barnhart