Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Cache Creek Nature Preserve Anniversary Date

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of our first date, Barry and I spent Monday afternoon at Cache Creek Nature Preserve, walking on the trails and having a picnic in a gazebo. In this journal entry I'm going to share the photos I took there.

These are silver bush lupines (Lupinus albifrons) in the parking lot. They're a species that grows wild around here, but these were obviously planted. They were part of a native plant garden in the parking lot area, where most of the plants had signs to identify their species. 

Lupinus albifrons (silver bush lupine)

These bush monkeyflowers (Mimulus aurantiacus) are also part of the native plant garden. Here you can see the sign identifying their species. Behind them you an see a bit of a large shrub with fuzzy grey leaves. I'm fairly certain it must have been a bush mallow (Malacothamnus sp.), but I couldn't find a sign to clarify which one. I'd really like to find out what it is, because it appeared very healthy, and if it can grow this well at the nature preserve, it should also grow well at Barry's house.

Mimulus aurantiacus (bush monkeyflower)

There were numbered posts along the trail that corresponded to audio recordings describing the plants there. Barry looked up the recordings on the Internet and played them for us on his cell phone. Apparently there should have been a tour pamphlet available to pick up at the visitor center as well, but the visitor center didn't seem to be open while we were there. We didn't find a description of this particular site, but the shrubs here looked pretty obviously planted, so I imagine the description of this site must say something about the planting of the shrubs. They're not even species that would probably be found in this county naturally.

Barry with flannelbush and bush poppy at Cache Creek Nature Preserve

This is a closeup of one of the shrubs from the picture above. This is a California flannelbush (Fremontodendron californicum). It's not completely unheard of for this species to grow in California's Central Valley (where it's growing here), but it's overwhelmingly more likely to grow in the foothills, and this was the only flannelbush to be seen here.

Fremontodendron californicum (California flannelbush)

Nearby was a bush poppy (Dendromecon rigida), covered in yellow flowers, with a sage that I couldn't identify blooming at its base with purple flowers. I think it really is unheard of for this bush poppy species to grow in the Central Valley. Someone had to have planted it here.

Dendromecon rigida (bush poppy) with Salvia sp. (sage)

Around the next corner was a globemallow (Sphaeralcea sp.). There are no globemallows reported to grow natively in Yolo County, where this one is growing, so I'm pretty sure it was planted. It is a reasonable thing to want to plant in a native plant garden around here (I've planted two of them in Barry's back yard), but it's not particularly convincing to me as wilderness.

Sphaeralcea ambigua (desert mallow)

Farther along the trail, however, the wilderness became more convincingly wild. This is a Northern California black walnut (Juglans hindsii).

Juglans hindsii (Northern California black walnut)

And here's a closeup of it.

Juglans hindsii (Northern California black walnut)

Here's a California manroot vine (Marah fabacea), growing as a groundcover because there's nothing nearby for it to climb on.

Marah fabacea (California manroot)

Here's another of the same species, growing as a vine.

Marah fabacea (California manroot)

We also saw many signs along the trail. This one is about gravel mining, which the audio tour informed us was very harmful to the environment. This sign seemed to be working at cross-purposes to the audio tour, since the sign made it sound great even as the audio tour made it sound horrible.

Cache Creek's Natural Treasure

This sign is about how Native Americans in California traditionally managed their lands, encouraging some plant species and discouraging others, without "farming" per se (meaning that they didn't plant vast monocultures).

A Relationship with the Land

This sign was in the indigenous tending and gathering garden, next to the gazebo where we picnicked. It tells about land-management practices that encouraged the growth of certain useful plants such as sedges, redbuds, and willows, all of which were used for basketry.

What is Yoche-de-he Loobeh Kahlteepee Kahpi?

This is a view of the pond area from near the tending and gathering garden where we ate lunch. In the distance across the water, we saw a very large bird that may have been a great blue heron.

west end of pond

This sign tells the names of common bird species in the language of the Patwin/Southern Wintun people.


On the reverse side of the sign above, this sign invited us to compare our "wingspans" with those of various birds.  Barry's arms are almost as long as a great blue heron's wings. We discovered that my arms are quite a bit shorter than Barry's - maybe eight inches or so shorter. This surprised both of us, because he's only two inches taller than me.

What Is Your Wing Span?

We saw a bird flying in strange loops and circles around this bird house, and then we saw this bird of the same species poking its head out of the bird house. I don't know what species this bird is.

bird in birdhouse

It was a good day.

Barry at Cache Creek Nature Preserve
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