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Paramount Ranch & Malibu Creek State Park, 15 April 2012 Field Trip Report

April 19, 2012

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Despite our weather concerns, it turned out to be a perfect day for a hike. We almost canceled twice – once because there had been no rain – then because there had suddenly been a lot of rain.

Golden Current closeup (J.Kenney 4/15/12)

As usual, some flowers were blooming, some weren’t.  The Yearling Trail through “Ronald Reagan Meadow” had a few muddy spots, but nothing not easily avoidable.

Rabbit licking his muddy feet (J. Waterman 4/15/12)

We tried a new route this year.   Rather than hiking to Malibu Creek State Park parking lot and car-shuttling back to Paramount Ranch, we hiked a loop which was more of a “lasso”:  Yearling Trail to Lookout Trail down to Century Lake on Crags Rd., then back up the hill via Cage Creek Trail to Yearling Trail and back to Paramount Ranch.   I thought this would be a shorter route, but now I’m not so sure.   It was definitely tougher, with an all-uphill trek on the way back rather than a gentle amble alongside Malibu Creek.

As always, the hike was led by Peggy Burhenn, Calif. State Parks docent specializing in native plants and wildflowers.   This year, Jim Kenney was with us, taking many of the photographs that grace this posting.   Jim took most or all (not sure which) of the photographs in the very thick wildflower book** that Peggy always has in hand.

Indian Paintbrush (J.Kenney 4/15/12)

We saw a lot of great flowers and birds, the air was filled with birdsong, and no one got hit by a bicycle.  No rain and cool temperatures topping out around 70°.

Male House Finch is almost same shade of red as Indian Paintbrush (J. Waterman 4/15/12)

Dew-damp funnel spider webs were in the meadow, and best of  all, we started off with a family of three coyotes crossing the trail about 100 ft. ahead.   Birding and “wildflowering” are tough, tough tasks, but someone has to do this filthy, grinding work.

Waiting Coyote (J.Kenney 4/15/12)

All the participants, although tired at the end, thoroughly enjoyed themselves.   If you didn’t make it, think about it for next year.

Red-shouldered Hawk at Reagan Ranch (J.Kenney 4/15/12)

The lists below give a four-year comparison of flowers and birds seen on this hike.   Because we changed the route this year, some plants and birds, found in particular locations, didn’t make the list this year.   We always find Chia, for example, on a hillside near the Malibu Creek S.P. parking lot.   The waterfowl and shorebirds are found mostly in the open sections of Malibu Creek.   [Chuck Almdale]

** Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains by Milt McAuley (1985 & 1996)











Ashy-leafed Buckwheat X X
Big Pod Ceanothus X X
California Buckwheat X X
California Everlasting X X
Cliff Aster X
Coyote Brush X
Dodder X X
Elderberry X X X
Horehound* X X X X
Miner’s Lettuce X X X
Morning Glory X X
Mulefat X X X
Narrow-leafed Bedstraw X
Poison Hemlock X
Poison Oak X
Popcorn Flower X X X
White Nightshade X X
White Sage X X X X
Wild Cucumber X X X X
Yucca X X X
Burr Clover* X
Canyon Sunflower X
Collarless California Poppy X
Common Fiddleneck X X X X
Common Goldfields X
Deerweed X X
Golden Currant X X X X
Golden Yarrow X X
Johnny Jump-up X X X X
Lomatium X
Microseris X
Mountain Dandelion X X
Mustard* X X X X
Pineapple Weed* X X X X
Stringose Lotus X X
Western Wallflower X X
Bush/sticky Monkeyflower X X
California Poppy X X X
Scarlet Pimpernel* X X
Crimson Pitcher Sage X X X
Indian Paintbrush X X
Bush Mallow X
Milk Thistle* X X
Prickly Phlox X X
Purple Clarkia X
Purple Owl’s Clover X X
Purple Sage X X X X
Red-stem Filaree* X X X X
Spring Vetch* X X X
Tom Cat Clover X
Wild Radish* X X X X
Wild Sweet Pea X X
Wooly Aster X
Baby Blue Eyes X X
Bajada Lupine X
Black Sage X X X
Blue Dicks X X X X
Blue Larkspur X
Bush Lupine X X X X
California Peony X
Caterpillar Phacelia X X X X
Chia X X X
Chinese Houses X X X X
Common Vervain X X
Danny’s Skullcap X X
Dove Lupine X X X
Fern-leaf Phacelia X X
Fiesta Flower X X X X
Green Bark Ceanothus X X X
Henbit* X
Italian Thistle* X
Parry’s Phacelia X X X
Purple Nightshade X X X X
Winter Vetch* X X
Curly Dock X X
English Plantain* X
Lace Pod (green) X X
Arroyo Willow X X X X
Ashy-leafed Buckwheat X
Big Pod Ceanothus X
Bush/Sticky Monkeyflower X
California Bay Laural X X
California Bickelbush X
California Buckwheat X
California Sagebrush X X X
Chamise X X X
Coast Live Oak X X X X
Coffee Berry X
Coyote Brush X X X
Crimson Pitcher Sage X
Dudleaya X
Elderberry X
English Plantain* X
Green Bark Ceanothus X
Hog Fennel X X
Indian Paintbrush X
Laural Sumac X X X X
Milk Thistle* X X
Mistletoe X X X X
Mugwort X X X X
Poison Hemlock* X X
Poison Oak X X X
Scrub Oak X X
Soap Plant X X
Squaw Bush X
Stinging Nettle X
Sugarbush X X X
Toyon X X X X
Valley Oak X X X X
Western Sycamore X X X X
Whitethorn X
Wild Rose X X X X
Yucca X
Total Species – 97





* – Introduced species












Canada Goose 4 2
Gadwall X
American Wigeon X
Mallard 8 7 10 X
Bufflehead X
Ruddy Duck X
California Quail 20 6 4H
Pied-billed Grebe X
Great Blue Heron 1 2
Turkey Vulture 3 4 2 X
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 1
Cooper’s Hawk 1 1 X
Red-shouldered Hawk 1 6 2 X
Red-tailed Hawk 3 3 5 X
American Kestrel X
American Coot 4 4 X
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Band-tailed Pigeon 3 9
Mourning Dove 4 8 12
Black-hooded Parakeet 3 1
Vaux’s Swift 20
White-throated Swift 2 4 12 X
Black-chinned Hummingbird 1 1
Anna’s Hummingbird 1 2 4 X
Allen’s Hummingbird 1 1 X
Belted Kingfisher 1 X
Acorn Woodpecker 9 8 11 X
Nuttall’s Woodpecker 5 2 2H X
Downy Woodpecker X
Northern Flicker 3 2 X
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 1 2 X
Black Phoebe 4 8 8 X
Say’s Phoebe 1 3 1
Cassin’s Kingbird 3 4 2 X
Western Kingbird 1 4 3 X
Hutton’s Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 2 X
Western Scrub-Jay 10+20H 12 14 X
American Crow 15 20 6 X
Common Raven 2 4 5 X
Tree Swallow 6 4
Violet-green Swallow 20 20 12
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 25 35 24 X
Cliff Swallow 3 1 20 X
Barn Swallow 2 X
Oak Titmouse 2+20H 9 4 X
Bushtit 8 8 4 X
White-breasted Nuthatch 2 2 2 X
Canyon Wren 1 1H 1H
Bewick’s Wren 4 12 2 X
House Wren 4+40H 25 32 X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3H 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 2 2 X
Wrentit 20H 7H H X
Western Bluebird 10 13 10 X
Hermit Thrush 1 X
American Robin 1
Northern Mockingbird 2 X
California Thrasher 1+3H 4H H
European Starling 1 6 12 X
Orange-crowned Warbler 1H 5 6 X
Common Yellowthroat 1H 6 2 X
Yellow Warbler 1+6H H
Yellow-rumped Warbler 6 6 10 X
Black-throated Gray Warbler X
Townsend’s Warbler X
Spotted Towhee 5+15H 8 5 x
California Towhee 10 20 6 x
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 7+6H 13 7 X
Lincoln’s Sparrow x
White-crowned Sparrow 10 1 X
Golden-crowned Sparrow 2
Dark-eyed Junco 10 X
Black-headed Grosbeak 8 3 4
Red-winged Blackbird 12 20 X
Western Meadowlark X
Brown-headed Cowbird 2 1
Hooded Oriole 4 6
Bullock’s Oriole 6 3 6
Purple Finch H
House Finch 90 60 20 X
Lesser Goldfinch 8 12 16 X
American Goldfinch 30
House Sparrow X
Total Species – 86





H = Heard    X = Present





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