San Bruno Mountain (3/6/2022)

Today we returned to San Bruno Mountain and met Aoife and Erwin there, too! We covered part of the Eucalyptus Loop Trail, then they split off for the Summit Trail while I continued the loop and even ducked out to check out the North part of the Summit Loop.

Before we even started, Brian and I heard an unfamiliar bird sound. Merlin said, “California Thrasher.” OOOOOH, bird we’ve never seen before! Could only hear it somewhere in the bushes, but we followed the sound, and it flew up into a tree with no leaves so we were able to see it! LIFE BIRD! Got to see its lovely curved beak and long tail, but as I grabbed my digital camera it flew back down into the bushes, BOO!

We ventured out, hearing it a bit as we walked away. I admit I was bummed the sighting was so brief, but I was soon cheered up.

Wildflowers were everywhere! Dwarf Checkermallow, Max Chrysanthemum (?), California Buttercup, Orange Bush Monkeyflower, Pacific Pea, California Beeplant, Wight’s Paintbrush, and Creeping Snowberry. Even spotted a newtome flower, American Vetch! I think! Looked an awful lot like Pacific Pea, but ID apps point to American Vetch…

After I detoured from the group to complete the loop, darling Milkmaids appeared. And, I came upon a lovely stretch of wildflower happiness. Gorgeous purply Varied Lupine stood out. Red-berried Elder and a couple lovely Douglas Irises. Heard but didn’t see Wrentits.

Hadn’t seen any Checker Lilies, like I thought I might. So, near the end, I hopped onto the Summit Trail for a spell, just in case… Blooming Osoberry, Woodland Strawberry, Common Star Lily, and American Yellowrocket (?) were nice to see there. Along with an Anna’s Hummingbird. Got to about the point where I figured if I hadn’t seen any Checker Lilies that I wouldn’t likely anytime soon. Or, I’d need to climb up to the summit more. My walk back on the trail was going to be almost entirely uphill, as it was. So. Nope!

My consolation prize was seeing two banana slugs (California Banana Slugs?) close to each other. Perhaps, post-tryst? They seemed to be slugging away from the other. Hm! So dang happy to have seen them!

Met up with my group and completed the remaining bit of the loop, spotting some Western Blue-eyed Grass along the way. It’s nice to know a bit of that side of the mountain now. No longer a mystery. And, the many wildflowers were a treat to walk alongside. But, the Checker Lily. May need to come back for the other side this coming week…

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