Winter along the Gualala: Alders and their “Fruit.”

(Click on any image to expand)

The heavy winter rain storm that hit the coast here over the last several days has finally lifted.  It left some very swollen rivers and creeks in its wake, so I headed down to the Twin Bridges area of the Gualala River to take some photos.  The river was higher than I’ve seen it in years, and frankly was a brown, muddy torrent.  I’m often more captivated by the riparian growth along the river, especially the White Alders that are so prevalent in this watershed.

White Alder Grove In the Flow

White Alder Fruit White Alder

Along the Gualala at Twin Bridges

The first image is a small grove of alders along the river that just seemed to capture the late afternoon light perfectly.  The next image is a bit abstract. It was taken from the bridge looking straight down at the river as it flowed over some alder remnants stuck mid-stream in the main channel.  The following two images show some alders close-up.   White Alders are botanically interesting because of the presence of both male and female fruit on the same tree.  The longer fruits are male catkins and the shorter structures are female cones.  You can also see some small reddish leaf buds forming in the second of the two close-ups.  So, perhaps spring is just around the corner.  The last image shows the broader floodplain of the river basin.  The late afternoon light seems to really show off the many colors prevalent throughout floodplain.

I am rarely disappointed when I head out to the Bridges, no matter what the season or even the time of day.  Sometime the trick is to look a little closer at the more intimate scenes at play in within the context of the broader landscape.   I really do hope that the presence of leaf buds on these alders means that spring really is just around the corner.  I’m ready for a little change of season.  But I still want to enjoy whatever the winter still has to provide.

Equipment: Nikon D810; Nikkor 70-300 mm f4.5 lens; Oben Tripod.


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