China Camp State Park (1/16/2022)

Today we went on a Naturalist walk at China Camp. We had planned to do this back in December, but the walk was cancelled due to rain. Happily, they rescheduled it! And, while I’d be happier if it had rained today, it was nice to get to do this.

Lucky for me, we covered a part of the Back Ranch Meadows Trail I hadn’t been on. It looked steeper than I care for, so I opted to walk down the lower path instead when I visited the same area before. But, given the group size and some of the ages of some of the folks (including our Naturalist leader), we took our time up the steep incline. So much so that I found it not annoying at all. That Tilden walk yesterday likely helped.

I was pretty familiar with the habitat there. Seeing it in the winter this time was a treat. The recent storms kept everything green, AND all the creek and water parts were flowing nicely. Plus, I realized today that I’ve now seen China Camp in the summer, fall, and winter at this point. Can’t wait for SPRING.

The Naturalist walk was nice. Our Naturalist knew all about the flora in the area. I wish the folks along for the walk wouldn’t talk so much so I could’ve heard more (from the Naturalist and more birds). I think I’m not a social Naturing person so much as others. If I’m talking or hearing others talk, how can I possibly hear the wildlife? I left thinking that now I know what a Naturalist walk is like. And, if I were to do it, it’d be different!

As with other Naturing outings where I’m with others, I don’t have as much time to myself to think about what I’m seeing or take all the time in the world to look at stuff, so this will be another shorter than usual post.

Highlights include all the Milkmaids dotting all the grassy parts pretty much everywhere there were grassy parts, some bizarro black fungi that might be Black Witches’ Butter (?), more Dusky Woodrat homes (and learning that the males are the ones in the tree homes while the females are the ones in the ground homes), the Madrone trees shining gorgeously in the sunshine, newtome flora that was blooming (Henderson’s Shooting Star, Warrior’s Plume), seeing blooming Common Star Lily (after only ever seeing it on Ring Mountain before), seeing a newtome snail (shell) that Brian found (Bronze Shoulderband Snail), spotting Western Bluebirds, watching kids play in the sand at China Camp Village, delighting in an escaped chicken (Red Junglefowl??) at Turtleback Hill Nature Trail just casually pecking away as we walked by it, the Great Egrets and Great Blue Heron out among the pickleweed, and sharing all of this with Brian.

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