Thursday, April 24, 2008

April 17, 2008

We started our morning with an enjoyable round of lizard-catching in the parking lot.

Erica and Maya holding lizards:

A close-up of Erica's lizard:
When everybody was done catching lizards, we hiked in to Horseshoe Lake. This lake is very small, but quite beautiful. We saw a lot of ducks, coots, and red-winged blackbirds. The wildflowers along the trail were impressive, too -- California buttercups, poppies, lupin, vetch and blue-eyed grass were a few of the varieties I recognized.

There's a bench located right at the bottom of the horseshoe shape formed by the lake, and we stopped there for snacks, drawing, map-making, and a treasure hunt. We also found a small pool of water that is probably all that remains of what was once a stream in the winter. It had an abundance of newts in residence. I thought I was doing well when I found six, but Katherine counted eleven. We spent a while watching them swim leisurely in the murky water, every now and then coming up to the surface to catch a water strider.


Then Ziad put his foot on a tuft of grass near the edge, and something plopped into the water. It took us a minute to recognize that a small frog had just jumped in.


We were fortunate in being able to eventually identify it as a Pacific tree frog. (At first we thought it was an albino, it was so pale) Apparently the Pacific tree frog exhibits quite a variety of coloration, and, even though it is a tree frog, is quite happy and comfortable in the water, and in fact, mates there.

We ended the day with a hike around the lake, stopping at a scenic overlook that has some fantastic oaks for climbing. We also went through an amazing field of lupin and poppies, the picture of which has unfortunately vanished. Ziad swears he actually took it. We passed a beautiful pine grove that I swear we will explore on one of these days.

Our last activity was an all-too-brief game of coyote territory in a gravel-paved parking lot. I'll have to get someone to explain the rules to me so I can post them here at some future date.

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Blogger Lesley said...

great photos!

9:31 AM  

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