Hiking the Matt Davis & Coastal Trails with Michael – 30 April 2012

I’m sure that we all send our love to Lisa with high hopes that she may know the comfort of family & friends through this difficult time of loss. Lew & Pat

It was a beautiful day on top of the Mountain Monday with lush bird calls, each one taking up where another had left off and sometimes layering their songs in sweet symmetry. Michael told us about the 3 different songs of the Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) depending on his location. He asked us what the maculatus meant and relayed “spotted or stained”, that we usually know the word in “immaculate”. Crossing my fingers that this is a western towhee here is one of the songs:

Michael added that bird songs are designed to rise above or to zing through the competition with the example of the Black Oyster Catcher’s song vividly clear amidst the sound of waves and surf along the shore. Here’s a short video with nice beach context: and one where they are dealing with urban sounds at the Seattle Zoo:

Stopping under the lovely arch of a Madrone Michael shares with the group. Near here we saw the classic rectangular hole in a Douglas fir made by a Pileated woodpecker. Michael also pointed out some dreaded red-brown butt rot in review as we were passing. On the hillside perhaps some Hound’s Tongue and a Trillium at his knee.

The new kid on the block this hike was Corallorhiza maculata, now we know what that means at least the maculate part. The shaded first part of the hike had many hillsides with these coral root orchid rising to the sunlight. Here’s a fun site about mycotrophic wildflowers: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/pljune97.htm

Sue B. noticed a neat ladder effect on a pine tree near the trail, this was a happy inadvertence.

A small waterfall bejewels a rocky outcrop in the sunlight

The Italians call this a Portuguese thistle. The Portuguese refer to it as an Italian thistle. Perhaps an Italo-Portuguese thistle? Non-Native and part of a hillside of them indicating that cows had grazed here at one time.

A promontory just off the Matt Davis Trail with our colorful crew looking down on Bolinas and Stinson etched in fog.

From Bay Nature Jan-Mar 2008, “. . . Matt Davis who worked on this segment of trail through the 1920’s, lived in a small cabin on the mountain and was paid to cut trails by the Tamalpais Conservation Club.”

Leaving the Matt Davis Trail as it descends to Stinson Beach, we head up on the Coastal Trail.

Blue Eyed Grass sometimes found with white flowers

Variations on a contrail, the sky, a the pilot’s palette, do you think her/his name begins with W?

Looking down on Bolinas and Duxbury Reef : http://wikimapia.org/1747303/Duxbury-Reef Michael told of one ship that ran aground on the Reef but kind of bounced and was able to continue to San Francisco but most were not so lucky: http://www.charleshobson.com/ships/western.html & William Tecumseh Sherman was wrecked there on the SS Lewis in 1853:
http://channelislands.noaa.gov/shipwreck/dbase/gfmns/sslewis.html

Michael was sharing what appeared to be a single flower but was actually a bloom with many combined flowers each blade being a single bloom. He gave other examples of this – a sunflower and lettuce.

The fog lifting on a view of Stinson Beach and Bolinas with a good view of Bolinas Mesa.

Winding along the Coastal Trail

The only native California thistle, not sure of its name or nomenclature. Thanks for the help.

Heading back for lunch on the Coastal Trail with an artifact from yesteryear. Great shaded lunch spot with fallen tree trunks covered with nice, soft lichen.

Ants gathering “honeydew” from aphids on a California thistle. They carry their collection to an ant “cave” where some female ants hanging from the ceiling are fed the gathered treasures. I didn’t make this up, straight from our leader. The science fiction possibilities are endless.

The fog has almost cleared as we make our way back to Pantoll. Stinson Beach presents itself below. L

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