Hillside Natural Area and Tilden Regional Park (3/31/2023)

Today I was on A MISSION. And I sought out two flowers I’ve never seen before. One was somewhere in the Hillside Natural Area. The other was somewhere on the Packrat Trail in Tilden. Just happened to be seeing a rock show in Berkeley in the evening with Brian. So I took the opportunity to venture out in search of the Oakland Mariposa Lily and Western Leatherwood before showtime.


Now, the Oakland Mariposa Lily is “vulnurable,” so its iNat observations are always obscured. Made it tough to think I’d ever see one. But I found ANOTHER WAY. And my intel pointed to the Hillside Natural Area.

Western Leatherwood does not have such a status, so I knew exactly where to find it in Tilden.

And while I had fantastic adventures in both places, IT IS FLIPPIN’ LATE AS FRICK. Did I mention I went to a rock show in Eastbaysia? So, the highlights are all I have the energy for.

Hillside Natural Area is pretty cool! A NUMBER of butterflies (small blue fairy, Monarch, Cabbage White, another Monarch, yellow Swallowtail, and a couple of Gray Buckeyes. Only the Buckeyes posed for me, sadly. The Oak Woodlands part of the area is quite special. Good amount of fungi! Including a newtome Amanita? Constricted Grisette?? Lots of wildflowers, including an easytomiss patch of the Oakland Mariposa Lily. Wish I’d gotten better photos of it, but the sun blew out most of what I took. It’s a lovely flower. And it felt so special to see it in-person. Would like to return, even though the loop route I took was flippin’ “Moderate!”

On my drive out, just happened to catch a Northern Mockingbird perched high up on that street that Sang and Renee used to live on!

On to Tilden, where I was surprisingly greeted by Giant Wakerobins that actually had flowers out! STUNNING RED on those. Soon after starting on the Packrat Trail, I came across a very similar-looking flower. Newtome Giant White Wakerobin! And, I AM IN LOVE. Lucky me, there were a fair number out on that trail. Along with fungi and my first Star-flowered Lily-of-the-Valley bloom of the year. AND, YES. I found newtome Western Leatherwood. Not a particularly pretty flower, but I was intrigued to see this native flora. As it’s so small and unassuming. I wonder how it attracts pollinators? DOH. I SHOULD HAVE SMELLED IT! Missed opportunity, that one. DANG. Other wildflowers there that I’ve been seeing lately. And MANY MUDDY SPOTS. But worth it.

Happened to catch sight of a Brush Rabbit’s tail scampering into the brush while I was on that trail! And, after I made the loop around Jewel Lake and was approaching the starting point, ANOTHER BUNNY bounced into the brush as I approached. I slowly walked to where it entered the mucky swamp. And it stood still. Behind a tree branch. And even though my photo of it is obscured, I think it’s IDable!

The last thing I saw was this intriguing portal into the muck. A tree branch had bent into a curved shape that made the area look like a round entrance into that mud swamp. And it made me wonder if what I was seeing was more its natural state. With more regular rains. Much of the area immediately surrounding Jewel Lake looked swampy. Neat to think about. And then I thought of that bunny with muddy paws. And it was almost too much. Almost.

So, yeah! Adventuring in Eastbaysia for my Naturing fixes. It was a Good Friday, folks!

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