Winter rains bring the California oak woodland back to life, with the greenest of green grass and herbs carpeting the oak understory.
The hillsides are a mosaic of coastal live oak, an evergreen species that retains its leathery leaves, and the deciduous valley and blue oaks whose bare limbs reflect the gold light of the setting sun.
The winter rains seems to have arrived a little earlier this year. Early rainy weather usually doesn’t fool these deciduous species; they won’t leaf out again until late February, after they have flowered. At least that’s the way it is supposed to work.
However, unpredictable climate changes can disrupt normal patterns, leading to insect blooms before avian migrants return, or plants flowering before pollinators are present.