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Flowers Galore: Paramount to Malibu Creek Walk, 2 April, 2016

April 25, 2016

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Another perfect day in paradise. This is tough, dirty, thankless, grinding work, sauntering through fields of flowers and grass waving in the breeze, snapping pictures, sniffing blossoms, spotting and identifying birds, chatting with friends and new companions, but, whatever the personal cost, someone has to do it, and you can thank your lucky stars you weren’t volunteered for this duty. Even worse, temperatures started at the frigid 58°F before soaring to a scorching 70°F, it didn’t rain and there were no bothersome insects.

Doug suffers for his art (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Doug suffers for his art (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

We wandered, as usual, around the western town movie set of Paramount Ranch (free parking!), then set off up the remnant of the devil’s racecourse (3 deaths in 18 months of operation). The lupines were a bit scarce, but the still-to-be-identified feral Onion (see slideshow) was doing fine.

Field of grass, Goldfields and Owl's Clover (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Field of grass, Goldfields and Owl’s Clover (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

There were large spreads of Owl’s Clover and Goldfields in the grassy fields at the intersection of Cornell and Mulholland, where we cross kitty-corner to the Reagan Ranch portion of Malibu Creek State Park. Anna’s Hummingbirds, Acorn Woodpeckers, Black and Say’s Phoebes, Bushtits, Yellow-rumped Warblers in various stages of

California Towhee mid-skulk (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

California Towhee mid-skulk (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

plumage molt, California and Spotted Towhees, Song Sparrows, House Finches and Lesser Goldfinches kept us company. Several American Kestrels were hawking the larger insects from treetop perches, and small flocks of Mourning Dove and Nanday Parakeet flew overhead. Even after several years of seeing and hearing this last species ever more frequently, my ear still initially identifies their calls as those of woodpeckers, or small children yelling in the distance. Eventually some portion of my brain protests loudly enough, and I realize it’s those parakeets.

Western Kingbird (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Western Kingbird
(J. Waterman 4-2-16)

We avoid the tall grass surrounding the Reagan Ranch driveway – deer tick country – but spot Bullock’s Orioles, Cassin’s and Western Kingbirds, and Ash-throated Flycatchers in the sycamores, while Ravens and Red-tailed Hawks stick closer to Mulholland Drive, searching for flattened fauna.

As we reach the Yearling Trail beginning at the back of the ranch house area, and back on the ground, we find more and more flowers: Elderberry, Horehound, Wild Cucumber, sunflowers, fiddlenecks, Johnny-Jump-Up, Blue Dick, and the always aromatic SagesWhite, Purple and Black. Miner’s Lettuce was in the shady damp area near the matates (First American acorn-grinding holes in rock). All along the trail, plenty of bees worked the flowers.

Miner's Lettuce - delicious! (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Miner’s Lettuce – delicious! (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Peggy points out an epistemological error to Chuck (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Peggy points out an epistemological error to Chuck
(J. Waterman 4-2-16)

For once we managed to avoid the mystery detour not-a-trail down the rocky escarpment, and found the true Cage Creek Trail. Sage and nightshade love this area, as do various phacelias, Fiesta Flower, Golden Current, Green-bark Ceanothus, Toyon, and everyone’s favorite plant to I.D., Poison Oak. As usual, we discussed this plant’s effects on human skin. It’s an allergy, people! Most people have this allergy, but some fortunate ones (myself included) do not.

Fiesta Flower (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Fiesta Flower (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Near the bottom of Cage Creek Trail lies the eponymous cage, now almost unrecognizable, a relic of the time when humans were mute and uncivilized, easily captured and domesticated by the apes who ruled the world. [The film Planet of the Apes documents in depth this era.] And then we were on Crag’s Road, the main route to the M.A.S.H. film site and common destination for the hikers, bikers, runners and outdoor classes who frequent this area.

Male Red-winged Blackbird at Century Lake displays his epaulets (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Male Red-winged Blackbird at Century Lake displays his epaulets (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Johnny Jump-up (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Johnny Jump-up (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

A short stop at Century Lake, from which swallows sip on the wing and Red-winged Blackbirds live among the Cattails, then up and over the hump and down towards Malibu Creek, which flows out of the dam which created the lake. Water in the creek was so low that only a few Mallards could survive among the stones. From here we usually dead-head – hot and thirsty – through the line of Live Oaks which border the road to the parking area, stopping for the occasional flower and the hillside chia patch. No chia pets here – all the chia is thoroughly wild and one may approach them only with caution.

We successfully car-shuttled back to Paramount Ranch via Mulholland Drive, got out our lunches and talked until it was time to go our various ways.

Alligator Lizard [prob. Southern] (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Hungry camouflaged alligators prowl the forest! [Lizards, that is] (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

If you check out the map link, our trail route runs generally SE from Paramount Ranch.
Links to previous trips:  April 2014, April 2013, April 2012, April 2011, April 2010, March 2009

California Poppy (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

California Poppy
(D. Waterman 4-2-16)

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 our route.

Unknown blue flower (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Unknown blue flower (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Western Swallow half-a-tail on Blue Dick (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Western Swallow half-a-tail on Blue Dick (J. Waterman 4-2-16)

Many thanks to our photographers: Lillian Johnson, Doug Waterman and Joyce Waterman.

The lists below give a seven-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
  2016 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
WHITE 4/2 4/12 4/6 4/15 4/9 4/10 3/29
Ashy-leafed Buckwheat X NB X
Big Pod Ceanothus X X X NB X X
California Buckwheat NB NB X X NB
California Everlasting X X
Catalina Maraposa Lily X
Cliff Aster X X X
Coyote Brush NB X X X NB NB NB
Dodder X NB X X X
Dudleaya NB NB X
Elderberry X X X X NB X X
Horehound* NB 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 X
Morning Glory X X X X
Mulefat X NB X X X X
Narrow-leafed Bedstraw X X X
Narrow-leafed Milkweed NB
Onion – not specified X X X
Poison Hemlock NB NB NB X
Poison Oak X X X
Popcorn Flower X X X X X X
Soap Plant NB NB NB X X
Western Ragweed* X
White Nightshade X X
White Sage NB NB NB X X X X
Wild Cucumber X X X X X X X
Yucca NB NB X X NB X X
YELLOW    
Burr Clover* X
Canyon Sunflower NB X
Collarless California Poppy X
Common Fiddleneck X X X X X X X
Common Goldfields X X
Deerweed X X
Golden Currant X X NB X X X X
Golden Yarrow X X X
Johnny Jump-up X X X X X X
Lomatium X X
Microseris X
Mountain Dandelion X X X
Mustard* X X X X X X X
Oriental Mustard X
Pacific Sanicle NB
Pineapple Weed* X X X X X X X
Prickly Pear Cactus NB
Small-Flowered Lotus X
Stringose Lotus X X X
Western Wallflower X X X
ORANGE    
Bush/sticky Monkeyflower X X X X X NB
California Poppy X X X X X
Scarlet Pimpernel* X X
RED    
Chalk Live-forever X
Crimson Pitcher (Hummingbird) Sage NB NB X X X X NB
Heart-leaved Penstemon NB 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 X
Purple Sage NB NB X X X X X
Red-stem Filaree* X X X X X X X
Spring Vetch* X X X X X X
Purple vetch X
Tom Cat Clover X X
Wild Radish* X X X X X X
Wild Sweet Pea X X X
Wooly Aster X
PURPLE / BLUE    
Baby Blue Eyes X X
Bajada Lupine X X
Black Sage NB NB X X X
Blue Dicks X X X X X X X
Blue Larkspur X X
Bull Thistle X
Bush Lupine X X X X X X
California Peony X
Caterpillar Phacelia X X X X X X
Chia X X X X X X
Common Vervain X X X X
Danny’s Skullcap X X
Dove Lupine X X X X
Fern-leaf Phacelia X X X X X
Fiesta Flower X X X X X X
Green Bark Ceanothus X NB X X N X X
Henbit* X
Italian Thistle* X
Parry’s Phacelia X X X X X
Purple Nightshade X X X X X X X
Sticky Phacelia X X
Tansy Leaf Phacelia X
Winter Vetch* X X X
Wooly Blue Curls NB
BROWN    
Curly Dock X X X
English Plantain* NB NB X
TREES, SHRUBS, OR    
NOT IN BLOOM    
Arroyo Willow X X X X X X X
California Bay Laurel NB X X X
California Bickelbush X
California Sagebrush NB X X X X X
Chamise X X X X X
Coast Live Oak X X X X X X X
Coffee Berry X X X
Gum Plant X
Hog Fennel X X X
Laurel Sumac X X X X X X X
Mistletoe X X X X X X
Mugwort X X X X X X X
Poison Oak X X X X X
Scrub Oak X X X X
Squaw Bush X X X
Stinging Nettle X
Sugarbush X X X X X X
Toyon X X X X X X
Valley Oak X X X X X
Western Sycamore X X X X X X X
Whitethorn X
Wild Rose X X X X X X
Total Plants – 118 75 52 66 73 60 70 56

 

 

Sugar Bush blossom head (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Sugar Bush blossom head (D. Waterman 4-2-16)

Paramount – Malibu Creek SP 2016 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Bird Name 4/2 4/12 4/6 4/15 4/9 4/10 3/29
Canada Goose 6 3 2 4 2
Gadwall 3 X
American Wigeon X
Mallard 8 3 6 8 7 10 X
Ring-necked Duck 6
Bufflehead X
Ruddy Duck X
California Quail 3H 3H 20 6 4H
Pied-billed Grebe 1 X
Great Blue Heron 1 3 1 2
Turkey Vulture 8 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 3 2 3 3 5 X
American Coot 2 2 9 4 4 X
Spotted Sandpiper 1
California Gull 20
Band-tailed Pigeon 3 3 3 9
Mourning Dove 20 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 7 1 5 1 2 4 X
Rufous Hummingbird 1
Allen’s Hummingbird 2 1 1 X
Belted Kingfisher 1 1 X
Acorn Woodpecker 18 14 12 9 8 11 X
Nuttall’s Woodpecker 6 2+3H 4 5 2 2H X
Downy Woodpecker 2+1H X
Northern Flicker 2 3 2 X
American Kestrel 2 X
Black-hooded Parakeet 8 7 5+4H 3 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 2 3 1 1 2 X
Black Phoebe 5 3 4 4 8 8 X
Say’s Phoebe 3 1 3 1
Ash-throated Flycatcher 6 6+3H 3+2H
Cassin’s Kingbird 8 1 9 3 4 2 X
Western Kingbird 1 1 1 4 3 X
Hutton’s Vireo 1H 1
Warbling Vireo 2 X
Western Scrub-Jay 15 17 6+4H 10+20H 12 14 X
American Crow 20 19 12 15 20 6 X
Common Raven 5 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 3 1 3 1 20 X
Barn Swallow 1 2 X
Oak Titmouse 3 4 4+15H 2+20H 9 4 X
Bushtit 6 10 5 8 8 4 X
White-breasted Nuthatch 1 3 2 2 2 X
Canyon Wren 1 1H H
House Wren 1+15H 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 1 2 2 X
Wrentit 3 1+5H 14H 20H 7H H X
Western Bluebird 9 3 10 10 13 10 X
Hermit Thrush 1 X
American Robin 4 2 1
Northern Mockingbird 2 6 6+3H 2 X
California Thrasher 1 1+3H 4H H
European Starling 8 11 10 1 6 12 X
Phainopepla 1H
Orange-crowned Warbler 3+5H 1+2H 1H 5 6 X
Common Yellowthroat 1H 1+4H 2 1H 6 2 X
Yellow Warbler 1 1+6H H
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4 1 4+2H 6 6 10 X
Black-throated Gray Warbler 1 X
Townsend’s Warbler X
Spotted Towhee 3+6H 3 4+6H 5+5H 8 5 X
California Towhee 7 9 4+4H 10 20 6 X
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 4 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 1+1H 10 4H 8 3 4
Red-winged Blackbird 8 5 12 20 X
Western Meadowlark 5 X
Brown-headed Cowbird 2 1
Hooded Oriole 4 4 6
Bullock’s Oriole 2 5 5+3H 6 3 6
Purple Finch 6H H
House Finch 30+20H 16+26H 20+30H 90 60 20 X
Lesser Goldfinch 9 6+6H 6+6H 8 12 16 X
American Goldfinch 30
House Sparrow X
Total – 93 species 47 50 59 62 52 60 58
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