Monday, September 3, 2012

Further Downstream

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
On Saturday (September 1), Kali and I returned to the city park downstream of my preserve to walk another section of the trails paralleling the creek.  This was only a three-mile walk, unlike last Saturday's six-miler.  We started out on the dirt path on the east bank, crossed a bridge over the creek, and returned on the paved recreation path.

The dirt path in this section of the park doesn't get anywhere near as much use as the pleasant path does upstream.  As a result, the vegetation grows rankly, is not beat back, and overhangs the trail.  We had to battle through patches of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), and greenbrier (Smilax spp.).  Kali was not amused. 

A fallen tree excavated by a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus).  The rectangular holes are a dead giveaway.
There's a stand of really old trees in this part of the park - perhaps 250 years old or more - but invasive porcelain-berry vines (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) are threatening to encroached onto this wonderful woodland.

A wooded slope shrouded with invasive porcelain-berry
Decorative ironwork on the recreation trail bridge spanning the creek

The streambank along this reach of the creek is heavily infested with Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica).  Though I included an image of knotweed with my last post, Kali said, "This is a particularity 'attractive' stand.  Don't you want a picture?"  I obliged.

Japanese knotweed
A father and his two sons enjoying the creek
Steepest hill on the recreation path - a "blast" on a bike
The gentler slope on the other side of the steep hill
Probably Cinnabar-red Chanterelle (Cantharellus cinnabarinus)


packrat said...

That area looks quite beautiful, Scott. I love the photo of the father with his two sons. The pic of the Great Blue Heron reminded that I had seen several in the distant past while hiking Aravaipa Canyon in southern Arizona. Stunningly awesome creatures.

Scott said...

Thanks for your comments, Packrat. I'm a little reluctant to take candid images of people (I sometimes feel like I'm invading their privacy), but I'm pretty satisfied with the way that image--taken quickly and on the fly--worked out.

And now, with your sighting this morning, you've got a Great Blue Heron closer than Aravaipa Canyon in Arizona!