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Paramount Ranch to Malibu Creek S.P. Flowers & Birds Hike: Saturday, 12 April

April 18, 2014

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The weather was great, the hiking was great, the company was wonderful, but the lack of significant winter rain kept many of the flowers from blooming. Many annuals, such as lupines, Miner’s Lettuce, Golden Yarrow, Chinese Houses, Purple Owl’s Clover, Caterpillar Phacelia and Fiesta Flower, usually seen, did not sprout. Even the bird species sighted was below average.

Our first birds were a large flock of 19 American Crows poking around in the Paramount Ranch grassy field, up to something devious, no doubt. After a flock of 7 Nanday Parakeets (aka Black-hooded) flew noisily by, a warbler sang from near

Acorn Woodpecker trio (C. Almdale 4/12/14)

Acorn Woodpecker trio (C. Almdale 4/12/14)

the footbridge into the movie set; this turned out to be a male Yellow Warbler, replete with red breast streaks. The movie ranch, set among large live oaks, held theusual Acorn Woodpeckers, House Finches, and Lesser Goldfinches, plus a noisy but hard-to-find Downy Woodpecker. Out in the field, ground squirrels and rabbits went about their snuffling business.

The path up to Mulholland Dr. passes through a small wooded area where shade-loving plants find a home. Wild Cucumber, Lace Pod, Golden Current, Wild Radish and that weird, unidentifiable Onion can be found here.

The mystery onion (A. Albaisa 4/12/14)

The mystery onion (A. Albaisa 4/12/14)

On the Reagan Ranch section we generally find orioles, Cassin’s & Western Flycatchers, Black-headed Grosbeak, towhees, sparrows, finches and warblers. Hawks, ravens and crows pass by overhead. Ash-throated Flycatchers sing everywhere. The expected First American and extraterrestrial artifacts were all in their usual places.

Gumplant (C. Almdale 4/12/14)

Gumplant (C. Almdale 4/12/14)

We saw a few groups of hikers along the way, most sporting pairs of aluminum walking poles. We slowly made our way up past the Reagan Ranch buildings and down the Yearling Trail leading to Crags Drive, the main trail through Malibu Creek State Park. Lots of flowers and birds along this section. Crags Dr. was packed with hoards of hikers and families, most of them heading for the M.A.S.H. film site. Several large groups of students were diligently taking notes on clipboards. Bike riders wove through the crowds: parents had to frequently admonish their children to not ride so close to the walkers. We always find Dudleaya and blooming Yucca along this section of trail.

Common Fiddleneck (C. Almdale 4/12/14)

Common Fiddleneck (C. Almdale 4/12/14)

Century Lake had a nice mixed flock of swallows and swifts catching insects over the dam at the head of the gorge; Violet-green Swallows snagged drinks from the lake surface; one got more of a bath than a sip.

It’s nearly noon by the time we get to Malibu Creek: it’s getting hot, we’re tired, and although we’re more-or-less dead-heading for the parking lot where we left two cars for the shuttle back to Paramount Ranch, we stop to check for Chia on the last hillside before we reach Las Virgenes Creek. It’s taken us about 4 hours for this 4 ½ mile hike, so you can see that we not exactly burning up the trail! There is always much to see, smell, hear and discuss.

Burnt log (C. Almdale 4/12/14)

Burnt log (C. Almdale 4/12/14)

If you check out the map link, our trail route runs generally SE from Paramount Ranch.
Links to previous trips:  April 2013April 2012, April 2011, April 2010March 2009

As always, the hike was led by Peggy Burhenn, Calif. State Parks docent specializing in native plants and wildflowers. I’ve also been advised – rather insistently – to mention that there are actually “several” small up and down slopes along the route.

The lists below give a six-year comparison of what we’ve seen on this hike. There are significant differences from year-to-year, both in what we find and what is in bloom.   [Chuck Almdale]

PLANT TRIP LISTS – PARAMOUNT TO MALIBU CREEK
X – Seen     NB – Not in Bloom     * – Introduced Species
  4/12 4/6 4/15 4/9 4/10 3/29
WHITE 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Ashy-leafed Buckwheat X NB X
Big Pod Ceanothus X X NB X X
California Buckwheat NB NB X X NB
California Everlasting X X
Cliff Aster X X
Coyote Brush X X X NB NB NB
Dodder NB X X X
Dudleaya NB NB X
Elderberry X X X NB X X
Horehound* NB NB X X X X
Lace Pod (green) X X X X
Lanceleaf Dudleaya NB
Linanthus X
Miner’s Lettuce X X X X
Morning Glory X X X
Mulefat NB X X X X
Narrow-leafed Bedstraw X X
Narrow-leafed Milkweed NB
Onion – not specified X X
Poison Hemlock NB NB X
Poison Oak X X
Popcorn Flower X X X X X
Soap Plant NB NB X X
Western Ragweed* X
White Nightshade X X
White Sage NB NB X X X X
Wild Cucumber X X X X X X
Yucca NB X X NB X X
YELLOW  
Burr Clover* X
Canyon Sunflower X
Collarless California Poppy X
Common Fiddleneck X X X X X X
Common Goldfields X
Deerweed X X
Golden Currant X NB X X X X
Golden Yarrow X X X
Johnny Jump-up X X X X X
Lomatium X X
Microseris X
Mountain Dandelion X X X
Mustard* X X X X X X
Pineapple Weed* X X X X X X
Stringose Lotus X X X
Western Wallflower X X X
ORANGE  
Bush/sticky Monkeyflower X X X X NB
California Poppy X X X X
Scarlet Pimpernel* X X
RED  
Chalk Live-forever X
Crimson Pitcher (Hummingbird) Sage NB X X X X NB
Heart-leaved Penstemon NB
Indian Paintbrush X NB X
PINK  
Bush Mallow X
Chinese Houses X X X X X
Milk Thistle* X NB X X NB NB
Prickly Phlox X X
Purple Clarkia X
Purple Owl’s Clover X X X
Purple Sage NB X X X X X
Red-stem Filaree* X X X X X X
Spring Vetch* X X X X X
Tom Cat Clover X X
Wild Radish* X X X X X
Wild Sweet Pea X X X
Wooly Aster X
PURPLE / BLUE  
Baby Blue Eyes X X
Bajada Lupine X
Black Sage NB X X X
Blue Dicks X X X X X X
Blue Larkspur X X
Bush Lupine X X X X X
California Peony X
Caterpillar Phacelia X X X X X
Chia X X X X X
Common Vervain X X X
Danny’s Skullcap X X
Dove Lupine X X X
Fern-leaf Phacelia X X X X
Fiesta Flower X X X X X
Green Bark Ceanothus NB X X N X X
Henbit* X
Italian Thistle* X
Parry’s Phacelia X X X X
Purple Nightshade X X X X X X
Sticky Phacelia X
Winter Vetch* X X
Wooly Blue Curls NB
BROWN  
Curly Dock X X
English Plantain* NB X
TREES, SHRUBS, OR  
NOT IN BLOOM  
Arroyo Willow X X X X X X
California Bay Laurel X X X
California Bickelbush X
California Sagebrush X X X X X
Chamise X X X X
Coast Live Oak X X X X X X
Coffee Berry X X
Gum Plant X
Hog Fennel X X X
Laurel Sumac X X X X X X
Mistletoe X X X X X
Mugwort X X X X X X
Poison Oak X X X X
Scrub Oak X X X
Squaw Bush X X X
Stinging Nettle X
Sugarbush X X X X X
Toyon X X X X X
Valley Oak X X X X
Western Sycamore X X X X X X
Whitethorn X
Wild Rose X X X X X
Total Plants – 110 51 66 73 60 70 56

H= Heard

Paramount – Malibu Creek S.P. 4/14 4/6 4/15 4/9 4/10 3/29
Bird Trip Lists
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Canada Goose 3 2 4 2
Gadwall 3 X
American Wigeon X
Mallard 3 6 8 7 10 X
Ring-necked Duck 6
Bufflehead X
Ruddy Duck X
California Quail 3H 20 6 4H
Pied-billed Grebe X
Great Blue Heron 1 3 1 2
Turkey Vulture 4 4 3 4 2 X
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 1 1
Cooper’s Hawk 2 1 1 X
Red-shouldered Hawk 1+2H 3 1 6 2 X
Red-tailed Hawk 3 2 3 3 5 X
American Coot 2 9 4 4 X
Spotted Sandpiper 1
California Gull 20
Band-tailed Pigeon 3 3 3 9
Mourning Dove 6 1 4 8 12
Barn Owl 1
Vaux’s Swift 20
White-throated Swift 4 4 2 4 12 X
Black-chinned Hummingbird 1 1 1 1
Anna’s Hummingbird 1 5 1 2 4 X
Rufous Hummingbird 1
Allen’s Hummingbird 2 1 1 X
Belted Kingfisher 1 1 X
Acorn Woodpecker 14 12 9 8 11 X
Nuttall’s Woodpecker 2+3H 4 5 2 2H X
Downy Woodpecker 2+1H X
Northern Flicker 2 3 2 X
American Kestrel X
Black-hooded Parakeet 7 5+4H 3 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3 1 1 2 X
Black Phoebe 3 4 4 8 8 X
Say’s Phoebe 3 1 3 1
Ash-throated Flycatcher 6+3H 3+2H
Cassin’s Kingbird 1 9 3 4 2 X
Western Kingbird 1 1 4 3 X
Hutton’s Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 2 X
Western Scrub-Jay 17 6+4H 10+20H 12 14 X
American Crow 19 12 15 20 6 X
Common Raven 8 9 2 4 5 X
Tree Swallow 10 6 4
Violet-green Swallow 4 20 20 12
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 12 15 25 35 24 X
Cliff Swallow 1 3 1 20 X
Barn Swallow 2 X
Oak Titmouse 4 4+15H 2+20H 9 4 X
Bushtit 10 5 8 8 4 X
White-breasted Nuthatch 3 2 2 2 X
Canyon Wren 1 1H H
House Wren 4+18H 4+30H 4+40H 25 32 X
Bewick’s Wren 2H 4 12 2 X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1 3H 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 2 2 X
Wrentit 1+5H 14H 20H 7H H X
Western Bluebird 3 10 10 13 10 X
Hermit Thrush 1 X
American Robin 2 1
Northern Mockingbird 6 6+3H 2 X
California Thrasher 1+3H 4H H
European Starling 11 10 1 6 12 X
Phainopepla 1H
Orange-crowned Warbler 3+5H 1+2H 1H 5 6 X
Common Yellowthroat 1+4H 2 1H 6 2 X
Yellow Warbler 1 1+6H H
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 4+2H 6 6 10 X
Black-throated Gray Warbler X
Townsend’s Warbler X
Spotted Towhee 3 4+6H 5+5H 8 5 X
California Towhee 9 4+4H 10 20 6 X
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 3+5H 5+4H 7+6H 13 7 X
Lincoln’s Sparrow X
White-crowned Sparrow 10 1 X
Golden-crowned Sparrow 4 2
Dark-eyed Junco 7 10 X
Black-headed Grosbeak 10 4H 8 3 4
Red-winged Blackbird 5 12 20 X
Western Meadowlark 5 X
Brown-headed Cowbird 2 1
Hooded Oriole 4 4 6
Bullock’s Oriole 5 5+3H 6 3 6
Purple Finch H
House Finch 16+26H 20+30H 90 60 20 X
Lesser Goldfinch 6+6H 6+6H 8 12 16 X
American Goldfinch 30
House Sparrow X
Total – 93 species 50 59 62 52 60 58
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One Comment
  1. zenamarie123 permalink
    April 19, 2014 8:06 pm

    Once again I must tell you how much I enjoy your newsletters — even, or perhaps, even more when I can’t attend the hike. Please keep it up.

    Like

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