Wildflowers! Crane Creek Park

IMG_6293textadjThis week the regional park wildflower hike was at Crane Creek Park in the hills above Rohnert Park. While last week at Foothills we saw lots of lupine, this week poppies took center stage.

We met at the parking lot and Phil Dean led us on an hour long hike, stopping to describe and name interesting flowers and trees along the way. The view from Crane Creek is beautiful, covering most of Rohnert Park.

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First we saw Fiddle Necks, (which I didn’t photograph so I’ll have to go back!) Followed by Meadowfoam scattered across the fields.

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We saw some Yarrow along the way:

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Along with some Yellow Field Owl’s Clover:

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Some Vetch mixed in with Buttercups:

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A beautiful flower for which I missed the name ( I think it’s Sheep’s Sorrel):

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And then, a great group of Poppies:

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Leaving the Poppies I saw one of my favorites…Blue Dick:

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And as we continued on our way up the hill, I spied this cute little guy:

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We heard quail calling out all along the way, combined with the happy chirp of  Red Wing Blackbirds.

One warning was to watch out for the Poison Oak. There was a huge stand of  it and I could hear my grandfathers voice, “Leaves of three…Let it Be!

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Phil is always full of great stories about the various plants but I think the favorite today was about how beer used to be made with Mugwort. Apparently, it made people a little too wild so the government changed it so that hops ended up being used instead!

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Next we came upon a quiet little spot in the shade of a huge  Bay Laurel tree, estimated to be around 100 years old. It  came complete with a picnic table nestled in it’s shade. Our guide selected a great spot to teach us about the tree.( I plan to pick some Bay that grows by my house to put in my chicken coop since we learned it’s good for keeping  mites and other critters off chickens!)

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I always thought moss hanging from Oak trees was a parasite, but we learned today that the moss on these trees is called Fish Net Moss and is not a parasite and doesn’t hurt the trees. Indian people used to use it for all kinds of things including “feminine protection” if you can imagine that ladies!

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Though much of the park is out in the open and  is probably pretty warm in summer, there are shaded areas and in some spots even benches.

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If you look closely you’ll see all kinds of interesting Lichen growing on the branches of the old trees:

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As we finished our walk we came upon one last treat. Some nice groupings of  Meadowfoam…a nice way to end our walk.  Can’t wait till next week when the hike will take place at Steelhead Beach Regional Park out on River Road. The walk begins at 10:00 a.m.

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Go Here to learn more. And here.

 

 

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