Outside Our Back Door – Nature Walk ~May 2010

Marion Hadden reporting:

On May 8th, 2010 a group of 10 of us went on a nice early morning bird walk on the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail.  Our leader was Dennis Vroman, an expert birder and author of several articles and books on birds in our area. We began the walk at the Armstrong Gulch Trail head and headed Southwest.

We had a nice morning on the trail. This section of the trail passes through stands of Douglas Fir, Oak Woodlands & drier Scrub grasslands. It’s a nice mixture of habitats for seeing and hearing several species of birds, as well as lots of interesting plants. Along this section of trail we saw Red-flowering Currant, California Hazelnut, Honeysuckle, Klamath plum, Manzanita, Oceanspray, Serviceberry, Silktassel, Snowberry and one of my favorites, Birchleaf Mountain mahogony. We also saw a nice variety of wildflowers, including Calypso orchid, Shelton violet, Shooting stars, Hooker’s Indian pink, Popcorn flower, Elegant cat’s ear, Hooker’s fairybells, Indian paintbrush, Trillium, California lomatium, Barestem lomatium and False Solomon’s seal.

And now for the birds! We saw the following: Nashville Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Cassin’s Vireo, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rufous

Hummingbird, Black-headed Grosbeak and Western Tanager. Along the way, with assistance from Dennis, we identified by their calls: Hutton’s Vireo, Winter wren, Hermit Thrush, Spotted Towhee, Pacific Slope Flycatcher, Wild Turkey (no assistance needed) and a Mountain Quail. Also, for all of you reptile lovers we saw a really cool Alligator Lizard.

Dennis was a wonderful leader. He is very knowledgeable about which birds can be found in each habitat and in identifying their calls. He was even able to make some of the bird calls and lure them out of the trees or brush.

If you want a nice easy walk with great birds and plants, this is a wonderful section of trail!!

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