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2022 July 31

Secret Walks: Moore Creek encore

This week was a bit of an odd one in the “secret walks” series.  On Thursday (28 July 2022), I did part of the Moore Creek Reserve walk with a friend, but took very few pictures:

We saw a fairly large lizard on a log, which I managed to get an OK picture of, though the lighting was not ideal.

One difference from the walk I did with my wife is that we walked up the east fork from the Terrace Loop Trail to the swing at the edge of the ravine, then back to the Terrace Loop. We also did not do the Prairie Loop Trail, because my friend was feeling a little tired. There were no cattle on the meadows at this time of year—but the cow patties were not completely dried out yet, so I suspect that they were only moved out in the past month.

We saw a few raptors high up (probably turkey vultures), but they were not photographable (by me anyway). All I got a photo of were these turkeys, who stayed conveniently on the ground (though I could not get very close to them, as they ran away as we approached).

On Friday, my wife and I walked downtown for dinner in Abbott Square (grilled cheese sandwiches from Central Coast Creamery) then over to Broadway Playhouse for the first public performance by WEST Performing Arts in a couple of years.  They were doing Puffs, a very funny play that satirizes Harry Potter.  Since Harry-Potter-based plays are a staple at WEST, this play was a good one to come back with.  The kids were all pretty good (though I had trouble with some of the quieter, higher-pitched voices, even with my hearing aids), and the play is quite funny.  My wife and I kept feeling like we ought to recognize the actors, even though our son’s last performance with WEST was in 2016, and even the youngest actors he performed with are now mostly out of college (some of them working as staff for WEST).  Several of the actors looked familiar, though none of the names in the program rang any bells.

On Sunday, my wife and I walked to the Colligan Theater to see Jewel Theatre’s final performance of Deathtrap, a very funny thriller-comedy.  We almost didn’t get in, though we had bought season tickets, because they had supposedly emailed a request for people to confirm their tickets. I checked when I got home, and I had no record in my email of any such request.  Luckily there had been a cancellation, so we were still able to get in (in seats as good as the ones we had reserved). The play was worth seeing, though it was clear that the set designer had had the most fun of anyone.

So I got in a moderate amount of walking this week, but not one very productive of photographs (it was still a bit weird going to a WEST play without taking a video or hundreds of photos, but I’m getting used to it now). I had taken about a hundred photos on July 16 of our son in a small role in Fortinbras produce by Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, so I’m maintaining the tradition. I put a few of the photos I took on a web page for my son.

2022 March 6

Secret Walks: Moore Creek

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On Saturday 26 Feb 2022, my wife and I walked in Moore Creek Preserve, which we had not done before, though it was purchased by the city in 1998. Our route started up Bayona Drive and taking Nobel Drive around to cut through University Terrace Park to Meder Street.  The entrance to the Preserve is at the end of Meder Street.  We walked most of the trails on the City’s map, though the Coast Vista trail pretty much disappeared after the first 100 feet or so, and so we just wandered a bit through the cow pasture before returning to the Prairie View Trail.  We returned home along Bay, as Bayona is too steep for my wife to be comfortable going downhill.  The whole walk was only 7.2 miles, but there was a fair amount of elevation change, and it was quite sunny on the meadows, so we were a bit tired and dehydrated by the time we got home.


We started on the route marked in red, then down Moore Creek Trail (orange), up Terrace Loop Trail (yellow), around Vernal Ridge Trail (green), down Prairie View Trail (light blue), back up Prairie View Trail (dark blue), back Moore Creek Trail (orange), and home again (purple). Click on image for high-resolution copy.


The matilija poppy, known as the fried-egg plant, or Texas fried egg, is a popular garden plant. The blooms are everywhere at this time of year.


This treehouse on Escalona (near Bayona) was the subject of some controversy, because they did not get a permit for it and some neighbors complained.


My wife and I disagreed about what sort of fruit tree this was—and I now think we were both wrong. I now think it is a plum.


This little free library is a little cruder construction than most, but it seems to work ok (a latch to hold it closed would help).


This little free library is located in University Terrace Park, rather than on private property as most are.


I took a lot of pictures of branches on this walk—I think that these are near University Terrace Park.


The entrance to the Moore Creek Preserve has a warning about mountain lions—we did not see any (nor did we expect to).


There is a lot of epiphytic moss growing on trees in Moore Creek Preserve.


This flower is probably a field forget-me-not (Myosotis arvensis).


The trail is narrow, but very quiet—we only saw five other people the whole time we were in the preserve.


Blackberries have started blooming, though it is somewhat early for them.


The branches here were mostly grey, so I thought the photo would look better treated as a high-contrast black-and-white image.


The roots growing up the side of the ravine seem to be contributing to the cracking of the limestone.


Another shot of branches that I thought worth putting in black-and-white.


The rock here has an overhang that is big enough to sit under.


I’ve no idea what sort of spider spun this funnel-shaped web.


These reddish plants were fairly common—I think that they are sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella).


Yet more branches. The trees along Moore Creek are good subjects—they hold still while I try to photograph them (unlike birds).


Coming out of valley that the creek is in opens up to hill going up to the sky (though it is really neither long nor steep).


The trees are clustered in the valleys, with meadows around them.


I can’t identify this raptor from its silhouette, and I barely managed to get a photo of it at high zoom.


More trees!


More moss!


Coming out of the trees to a sunny meadow.


This tree looks like it is struggling in a high wind, but I think it is faking it for the visual effect.


I was not familiar with these little yellow flowers, but I’ve tentatively identified them as goldfields (Lasthenia glabrata).


There were cattle in the meadow, so the preserve (at this time of year) is not a place to take bovinophobes, nor small children who might run up to the cattle to hug them.


The crows wheeling in the sky were the noisiest thing on the walk.


I got this somewhat blurry picture at full zoom of a raptor on a fence post. I believe that it is an American kestrel.


This flower was growing everywhere. I believe that it is Taraxia ovata, also known as sun cup or goldeneggs.


In a cow pasture it is not surprising to find Scathophaga stercoraria, the yellow dung fly.


The cattle themselves were quite placed and showed no interest in us (though we never went close to any of them). I believe that all the animals were steers being raised for beef, but I’m not certain of that.


There was one distinctive animal with long horns.


I believe that these sparrows are non-breeding golden-crowned sparrows.


This picture shows the limestone rock formations that line the Moore Creek trail (hiker shown for scale).


Back in domestic gardens, here is a sticky monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus), which is a popular native plant for gardens.

I’m almost caught up in blogging about the walks—I just have yesterday’s walk to write up!

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