Sebby & I did our annual walk in the Bradley Grove in Calaveras Big Trees State Park near my family’s cabin, and had a great time, just like last year. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite wildflower walks anywhere!
All around the cabin (Apache Way in Big Trees Village development) were vociferous *BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS*, a beauty that we’d never had the pleasure of seeing before (and didn’t see a lot of this time, but we sure heard ’em!). A pair of +WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKERS+ were apparently nesting in a dead tree in the lot next door to the cabin, and we got to watch them fly out to feed, return, fly out, and so on for quite a while in the evenings. Also seen at the cabin were a number of DARK-EYED (“Oregon”) JUNCOS, STELLAR’S JAY, one or two GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, an AMERICAN ROBIN, and a TURKEY VULTURE.
For the second year, we had great luck with wildflowers at the Bradley Grove in Calaveras Big Trees. At only 2.5 miles, this trail has a great bang for the buck in spring, and is well-shaded, unlike the Lava Bluffs Trail, which has good flower’age too, but is pretty exposed and dusty.
We were early for the Phantom Orchids although we did see a few stalks, but the Spotted- and Striped-Coralroots were doing well. Wild Ginger was starting to bloom, but not yet abundantly.
We saw few birds on the Bradley Grove Trail, but we did see our first *WINTER WREN*, a gregarious cutie that came out to investigate us. Naturally I didn’t have my birding lens on my camera, and by the time I got it attached, I was only able to get a few dark photos before it flew off. We also saw STELLAR’S JAYS and DARK-EYED (“Oregon”) JUNCOS, and that’s about it.
If we were any good with bird calls, I’m sure there were many more birds singing in the trees, but the forest in the area is thick, and unless you see movement the chances of seeing a perched bird are slim at best.
(*) = Life birds, (+) = Year birds
– Asarum caudatum / Wild-ginger
– Calyptridium umbellatum / Pussy Paws
– Ceanothus integerrimus / Deerbrush
– Cephalanthera austinaiaea / Phantom Orchid
– Clintonia uniflora / Queen Cup
– Corallorhiza maculata / Spotted Coralroot
– C. striata / Striped Coralroot
– Delphinium sp. / Larkspur sp.
– Dicentra formosa / Bleeding Hearts
– Dogwood sp.
– Erysimum capitatum / Western Wallflower
– Fragaria sp. / Strawberry sp.
– Iris hartwegii / Hartweg’s Iris
– Linanthus ciliatus / Whisker Brush
– Lithophragma heterophyllum / Woodland Star
– Maianthemum racemosum / False Solomon’s Seal
– Mimulus floribundus / Floriferous Monkeyflower
– M. torreyi / Torrey’s Monkeyflower
– Phacelia hydrophylloides / Ballhead Phacelia
– Potentilla glandulosa / Sticky Cinquefoil (I think – def. a cinquefoil)
– Pseudostellaria jamesiana / Sticky Starwort
– Pterospora andromedea / Pinedrops
– Pyrola picta / White-vein Wintergreen
– Rhododendron occidentale / Western Azalea
– Rosa woodsii / Mountain Rose
– Rubus parviflorus / Western Thimbleberry
– Sarcodes sanguinea / Snow Plant
– Silene lemmonii / Lemmon’s Catchfly
– Solanum umbelliferum / Blue Nightshade
– Trientalis borealis ssp. latifolia / Pacific Starflower
– Trillium chloropetalum / Giant Trillium
– Triteleia ixioides ssp. analina / Mountain Pretty Face
– Viola lobata / Pine Violet
– V. purpurea / Mountain Violet
My photo gallery from our visits to the Bradley Grove is here