Posts Tagged ‘Newts’

Saratoga Gap volunteer project

December 5, 2015

Saturday, 5 December 2015

I like to get up and get going, so I stopped at Rancho San Antonio to work on star thistle before going on to the 9:30 volunteer project at Saratoga Gap open space preserve. Which, by the way, was at the bottom of the hill, not the top, along Stevens Canyon road. There were two from the open space district, and three volunteers, the real hard core. We worked on broom, ivy and yellow star thistle.

IMG_2292

A creek draining down through some old-growth redwoods. Very pretty.

IMG_2287

Full of ladyfinger ferns, among many other vegetables.

There is an orchard on the property, fruit of various kinds, and a house whose cellar I’m told was once a cidery or winery and speakeasy. There is also an old swimming pool, with a foot or two of water in the deep end.

IMG_2303

Newts get into the swimming pool and can never climb out. So we checked it out, found one, and returned it to the nearby creek. Our good deed for the day.

IMG_2300

IMG_2295

IMG_2314

And we found what I believe is a goats’-beard fungus. Very classy!
IMG_2307
IMG_2327

Along with what I’m told is a year-round creek, spilling water onto a stone that it has polished to a mirror finish over the decades.

Nice day. Hard work, poison oak, tired and sore, and of course happy.

Advertisements

Albino redwoods

November 8, 2015

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Prompted by a comment from last week’s post, I hiked the perimeter of El Corte de Madera open space preserve today, hoping to find another giant salamander.

IMG_1353

No luck, but the cool autumn day was wonderful, no matter what. I would have been happier with fewer crazy mountain bikies, but you take what you can get.

Sunday, 8 November

Ellen had very nicely organized a short hike for open space volunteers, into an area that’s completely closed off from public access, to visit a couple of groves of albino redwoods. There were about ten or a dozen of us.

IMG_1409

It was a little rainy, but beautiful.

IMG_1480

Even without albinos, this would be worth a visit. Very nice.

IMG_1370

Here is the larger of the two albino groves. The trees in the background are not albinos; the albinos have no chlorophyll, and cannot photosynthesize, so they grow as much as they can, and die off. We see lots of the dead earlier growth here.

IMG_1478

The group looking and talking.

IMG_1440

This is what they look like close up. Full redwood foliage structure, just no color.

IMG_1515

We went on to the second albino observation. This one is actually a burl on the side of a tree. Someone said this might be caused by a virus, and the idea of having an anomalous structure on an otherwise normal tree would tend to reinforce that idea.

IMG_1548

IMG_1549

More beautiful views, these along the creek.

IMG_1528

There were at least two newts at the bottom of those little ponds. Don’t see them?

IMG_1538

Here’s one.

IMG_1563

Later, we found a couple more, out hiking along the trail.

Great place, great day! Thanks, Ellen.