Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park (1/26/2023)

Today I had rehearsal in Eastbaysia in the evening, so I went Naturing over there! Thought I’d check out RRRP (what the heck do people call it for short?), since I’ve only ever been one time before. And it was a short visit just to try and see one thing.

This time, I did a loop consisting of East Ridge, Phillips, Eucalyptus, and Stream Trails. And I saw a lot of things!

Spotted some old fungi to start, Fly Agarics and maybe Poor Man’s Slippery Jacks? Had the feeling that high up (where I started), with that much exposure, that perhaps I was seeing older fungi because it gets too warm/sunny for things to last long there? I’d end up finding more fungi that was new or budding and whatnot the further down I went, which was nice.

A significant amount of trees had come down on the Phillips Loop, mostly (if not entirely) Douglas Firs from what I could tell. Lots of birds were hopping about where they had fallen. A handful of noisy Acorn Woodpeckers and a Spotted Towhee (that evaded me instantly) and California Towhees and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (that I got a couple actual but not great photos of) and Dark-eyed Juncos and a Brown Creeper and a Red-breasted Sapsucker (that I really wish would’ve come out into the light for me!).

Further on, a couple instances of fungi, like Gymnopilus aurantiophyllus (?) and perhaps some clusters of Cowboy’s Handkerchief (??), appeared here and there. Plus a couple flowering Woodland Strawberry. And a Lupine bush.

Heard a bird call I didn’t recognize, and the Merlin Sound ID thought it was a Red-breasted Nuthatch. I’ve seen them so rarely, and the last time was somewhere in Eastbaysia. Spotted it and got no good photos, but at least one is a candidate for IDing on iNat!

Started the descent down into the canyon, and the temps thankfully cooled down. After seeing some Hairy Curtain Crust and Russula cerolens (?), I could hear the creek (Redwood Creek) ahead, and many intriguing things started to appear.

First of all, that cool breeze down there is FANTASTIC.

Got to the creek, and I saw some orange blobs on a tree log! As I looked for any Pacific Poison Oak in my path to it, I noticed some red dots on some Blackberry leaves. Ladybugs! Ok, so I’d heard from friends that they’d seen TONS in recent outings. And I spotted about four or five right there. One was definitely a Spotless Lady Beetle. So nice to see some!

Turns out the orange blobs were Stinking Orange Oysters. And they are SO SOFT. Lovely gilled clam shell of a cap underside.

Turkey-tail, in two colorings, appeared nearby. And I was able to spot tiny waterfalls in the creek and leading into the creek from the trail. The sound of a running creek while you are out Naturing is so awesome.

And then, I SAW IT. Thought I was looking at small red fungi dots on the other side of the trail. BUT, NO. LADYBUGS FOR DAYS. I can’t even describe how many. And once I saw the first mass explosion, I continued to see them along the trail. Here, there, and EVERYWHERE. So bizarre!

At one point, I turned away from some and looked down at the trail below me. MANY FALLEN LADYBUGS. But, why? Just too many?? Were they notsosmart ladybugs that thought the trail would be a safe place to be?

After doing my best to avoid the trail carnage (even though they were already dead), I made it to a place called “Girls Camp.” A handful of picnic tables with a meadow looked like a perfect spot to have snack time.

As I entered the meadow, I thought, “What a perfect place for bunn…” when I spotted TWO BRUSH RABBITS! As expected, they were at the edge, having come out from Willow thickets. Munching away in the grass. And they didn’t mind me there with them ONE BIT. That’s right, I had snack time with the bunny rabbits, folks.

Started the crazy long ascent up (which REALLY should change the route from Easy to NotThatEasy), and I started to see some Willow buds coming out. A Woodrat house or two. And then, FINALLY, some dang Redwoods!! Up until then, I had seen NONE. And had wondered if this part of the Mountain Range really should be part of something called a “REDWOOD Regional Park.”

I was nearing the end of the loop when I heard A HOOT. OH, YES. It was coming from across the canyon, so it was essentially somewhere where I had started the loop. Where a number of Monterey Pines were.

DANGIT! Should I do this loop again or advise anyone else to do it, I’ll be recommending the counter-clockwise approach. So if you’re Afternoon Naturing, you’ll end with Great Horned Owls!

Got to the end and immediately continued on again from the start to go find those owls. A Red-tailed Hawk flew out from where they were both hooting. Yep, a pair were hooting!

The female was high up in a tree where I wasn’t going to be able to see her well, if at all. So I went to find the male. And, I did! It helped that he flew a short distance onto an exposed branch where many Acorn Woodpeckers were NOT HAVING IT. They made such a ruckus, and some even dive-bombed the owl! He didn’t seem to mind much. Of course.

Watched him for a while. Preened. Coughed up a pellet. Did a big stretch. Looked at me briefly. Then quickly returned to his business. I never saw the female come out. They took a break then resumed duet hooting.

And then I heard ANOTHER HOOT. A male hoot. Further down the canyon. WHAAAAA??? Does this HAPPEN? I mean, the mountain ranges of Eastbaysia stretch for so long that, OF COURSE, there would be many pairs of Great Horned Owls out there. But the fact that I could hear the other distant male hooting?? I was dumbfounded. Doubted what I was hearing. But, NO. I knew what I heard. AMAZING.

Looked for a second to where the female was high hooting, looked back at the male, and he was GONE. Flew a little further toward the deep end of the canyon.

It was getting dark, so I started to head back. Found some intriguing fungi on the ground nearby. Brownflesh Bracket? Started to look up at the darkening sky, and BATS! At least, four of them? Doing their wonderful work. I just stood there admiring them dart around above me. I was even able to track a couple with my binocs, which I think I’ve never been able to do well before? Lovely way to end my time there.

Looking forward to exploring more spots in Eastbaysia before my next handful of rehearsals there. And if the temps start to cool down more, I’ll look forward to it even more!

2 thoughts on “Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park (1/26/2023)

  1. We just call it Redwood Regional Park or just Redwood Park haha. I had no idea what park you were referring to (like ooh she found a park I’ve never heard of) until I looked it up. Apparently, the Dr. Aurelia Reinhardt part was added in 2019. Anyway, what a lovely park!

    Liked by 1 person

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