Saturday, February 11, 2012


Well, maybe just whelmed, as my old friend Leslie used to say.  Took the short hike to Bear Creek Falls with my Nature Journaling Group this morning.  Started off enjoying the several species of ferns growing alongside the path, then the views down toward the river got gradually more impressive.  A few interesting fungi, two that were new to me but my companions recognized them (will post photos tomorrow), then the ladybugs.  When we got to the open area with patches of Yerba Santa one of our group noticed the Convergent Ladybird Beetles had gathered.  At that point, I suddenly felt there were too many beautiful and interesting things to take in during our allotted time of approximately 3 hours.  I estimate it will take at least four more posts here to share the highlights.  I need to go to this place more often and learn to calm down or I won't be able to contain myself when the flowers start blooming.  In fact, on the drive down the canyon I was constantly having the feeling of "things about to happen."  It was as if I were trying to will the flowers to bloom before their time.  The third photo from the top looks to me like a wonderful composition for a painting.  If I saw such a painting, I think I'd assume the artist exercised a great deal of license because such a beautiful arrangement couldn't happen.  But there it was.  Click on any photo for an expanded view.  Tomorrow I'll post fungi, ferns, slugs, and a black widow spider seen on this hike.  The bottom photo of a large salamander looked like a newt at first, but a fellow naturalist pointed out to me that it was actually a Yellow-eyed Ensatina.  I've never seen such a large one, but the smooth, slimy skin and the yellow on top of the eyes are defining characteristics.  Also, the tail is nearly transparent.  The newts' skin is more like a football.

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