Today was my last day of rehearsal in Eastbaysia, and so I ventured out one last time for pre-rehearsal Naturing.
It was tough to decide. I was torn between finding out what the Roberts Regional Recreation Area was all about and what the heck is up at the far North end of the Eastbaysian Range. Wildcat Canyon Regional Park, wha?
I ended up choosing an Out and Back trail. Yes, very odd for me. But it seemed like I’d get a sense of the Roberts Regional Recreation Area and more of Reinhardt Regional Redwood Park, so I figured a two-fer might not be too shabby.
Started at a parking lot for the Serpentine Prairie Park, since it had a bathroom and was a short trail away from my starting point. And that prairie area is quite charming! Also, tons of Serpentine rock in many exposed areas, which is always so fun to see. The ones here looked more blue than green. If it wasn’t blazing sunshine overhead and way warmer than my stupid forecast told me prior, I might’ve abandoned my original plan to go check this out. But, something to look forward to.
First flower that greeted me was a California Poppy. Just it and a couple more further away that I saw. But many plants, so it’ll be so nice in the Spring. Also saw my first blooming Common Cowparsnip of the year and a blooming Trailing Blackberry and a couple Woodland Strawberry flowers.
A mess of small feathers was strewn across the trail at one point. Raptor attack!?
Some native plants were mixed in with the unfortunate myriad of Broom plants, like California Sagebrush and California Beeplant and Orange Bush Monkeyflower and Hillside Gooseberry. While I wasn’t terribly impressed with the flora on this trail, I can never write a trail off entirely unless I’ve seen it in the Spring. I’ve decided.
The first part of the Graham Trail was a mix of California Bay and Coast Live Oak trees with many flowering Wattle trees of some kind that I’m guessing may be invasive? Then Coast Redwoods started to appear here and there. I heard a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a Red-breasted Nuthatch and a Mourning Dove but never saw any of them.
At one point I started seeing Dusky-footed Woodrat houses. First on the ground, then a number of them in trees. Just past them, I found a couple fungi! One was definitely a Russula, perhaps Winter Russula? Looked like a Fungi Fairy or some animal had torn a bunch of it to pieces, but one remaining specimen lay waiting for me to pick it up. Further down, I spotted a group of smallish white fungi. Maybe Corn-silk Fiberhead?
What was SO COOL about that one was that I first touched the top of the cap of the one I wanted to pluck. And it was SO COLD! Like icewater. Felt fantastic. Especially as I had ONCE AGAIN overdressed for dang Eastbaysian weather. I should now always touch the top of all fungi caps to see how cold they are!
At one point, when the trail was in a mostly Bay tree spot, I got a nice view of the East. Green for so much of it, save for a block of distant houses. There’s so much more East of the Eastbaysian Range I need to go see someday.
Started seeing some tree trunk fungi that is so hard to ID. A Hermit Thrush popped out just long enough for me to see it. And I spotted an intriguing bracket-looking or conk-looking fungi that might be Oak Mazegill? Super neato gills on that one.
Soon after that, I left the Bays and entered Redwoodland. It was about that time that I started seeing signs pointing West for Roberts Regional Redwood Park. And then I heard a bird sound I really didn’t recognize. Merlin’s Sound ID said it was a Varied Thrush! And this was INTERESTING, since I had just before heard a cacophony of American Robins entirely displeased with something. Could it have been this Thrush??
It also made me wonder why Varied Thrushes hide so often. Aside from like two other brief moments, I’ve only seen them deep in the woods. Always obscured. They are about as big as Robins. Is it because they don’t travel in groups, like Robins, that they need to be in hiding all the time? I mean, a flippin’ Hermit Thrush comes out every once in a while!
After spotting a gorgeous community of Turkey-Tail at the end of a log, I started seeing some plantings with flags among the Redwoods. Looked like Redwood Sorrel to me! Wonder why I had seen practically none of it up until then?
I was just about at the end of the trail route to turn back around when I happened to spot a Varied Thrush! It was under the Redwood canopy, but it was on a bare branch high up. Close enough to me that I could see it and ID it. Slowly reached for my camera, AND GONE. They so hate the paparazzi. Looked like maybe two were up there near each other. Aw.
At the end was something called “Redwood Bowl.” Ok, so what the heck is that? Not “Redwood Picnic Area” or something. A large open and flat space with some picnic tables and a grill. Was the open space FOR BOWLING??
My way back was quick, but when I got to the starting point I took in the views of the prairie below me. According to the signage, it once had native grasses and was a grassland habitat. I looked down at it and wondered what it might’ve looked like back then.
Turned around to head to my car when I noticed some Western Bluebirds in the golden hour, flycatching from the top of a Pine tree. Given the few birds I actually saw that afternoon, it was nice to be rewarded with this special treat. Wish I’d gotten better photos, but that sunset coloring is tough without a much fancier camera than mine.
All in all, a pleasant walk in the woods with not too many dogs or bicyclists on a weekday afternoon. And now I still have so much more to see over there.