Tilden Park – Jewel Lake (11/24/2021)

Today I was going to be in Eastbaysia for a couple things, so I Natured over there! I’ve been curious about Jewel Lake in Tilden Park, so that was the destination.

I decided to just do the simple loop around the lake. For my first visit somewhere, it’s nice to have a simple introduction with plenty of time to stop and look at things.

I first saw a single Western Blue-eyed Grass flower as I made my start on the trail. Nice and familiar surprise! It was soon followed by a Brown Creeper near it. Not a WHOLE LOT going on on that trail, except fresh green leaves on Ocean Spray. And, many a mushroom were out. Like kind of everywhere I looked once I got off the main trail and looped around the north tip of the lake. It’s great that right at that bridge you can see the system that was in place to make a reservoir. Old-timey concrete. It’s nice that once the primary water source changed they left this small reservoir here. The creeks leading to it were great to walk alongside. The sound is so calming.

When I got to the west side I started hearing some birds, like a Northern Flicker on the east side (why couldn’t it have piped up when I was over there?) and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet near me. Two Mallards owned the small “lake,” but that was about it. I heard many a rustling in the bramble and poison oak, but the wildlife were generally doing a great job of hiding from me.

That west side of the trail around the lake was fascinating, temperature-wise. The whole place was in shade when I got there around 3:30pmish. And, it was on the cold side! But, that part of the trail seemed to change temperatrure drastically within a matter of 15 feet, I’d say. Wacky!

I started to fall in love with the trail as it neared the start of it. It hugged the tiny creek (or stream?) leading to the lake. And, fantastic shapes of Coast Live Oak cut right into the trail so that you have to seemingly walk through a tree to continue. Fruits of Common Snowberry were also relatively common, ahem, in that area.

I finished up the short loop and had more time before sunset, even though it entirely felt like it’d been past sunset already. So, I visited the Tilden Little Farm. It’s ADORABLE! I wandered the little pond in the front and watched a Black Phoebe shyly fly away from me. I’m so used to the Black Phoebes in GGPark and how they kind of don’t care if you’re near them much. Guess they’re not all like that!

I got to the end of the pond and stood for a minute looking around. A Spotted Towhee flew right into my view, about ten feet from me, and it let me take its photo! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a Spotted Towhee be still for so long before.

Back at the farm, I found a fallen bird’s nest on the ground and inspected it. The stem of a leaf was so embedded in the nest that it did not come out when I tried to remove it! I put it onto a nearby bench so someone else might get to see it rather than just mindlessly step on it.

The pigs and cows there are MASSIVE. The mostly black sheep were not interested in anything but eating. And, the ram was not impressed with anything or anyone. But, I heard A FROG! Couldn’t find it, of course, but I definitely heard it near there. I hope I get better at actually seeing frogs rather than just hearing them.

So, I didn’t get a ton of wild Naturing in. But, I look forward to having more time and more daylight the next time I return to explore more of the trails nearby. If any of you have any particular favorites over there, let me know!

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