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California Redwoods and Waterfalls:
Big Basin Berry Creek Falls
December

December on the Berry Creek Falls Loop (BCFL) Trail in the Forest of Big Basin State Park.
Route was clockwise except where stated otherwise. Report is by J. Zimmerman except where stated otherwise.

Flower are our stars 2008 (counter-clockwise).
Flower are our stars 2007 (counter-clockwise).
Flower are our stars 2006 report.
Flower are our stars 2005 report.
Flower are our stars 2004 report.
Flower are our stars 2003 notes by Scott Peden and J. Zimmerman.
Flower are our stars 2002 report by Scott Peden.

Also:
Flower are our stars 7-year summary of flower-slug-newt data.
Flower are our stars Flower-slug-newt count graph.
Flower are our stars Wildflower species calendar on BCFL Trail.
Flower are our stars Walk With Scott Peden in Big Basin State Park.
NEW AUGUST 2005 Paces calibration (Berry Creek Falls Loop Trail).
Redwoods are our stars Life History and Ecological Guide to the Coast Redwood by Daniel J. Miller.


Photo opposite: Newt by Scott Peden.
In December, newts are leaving the streams for the land.

Newt by Scott Peden

Designation of "unique": In these reports, "unique" refers to any species that was seen in a single location on the reported day.

Designation of New flower added to our spotting: In these reports, New flower added to our spotting ("New") refers to a flower that was not spotted by us in previous years.


Thursday, December 4, 2008 - counter-clockwise.

Report by J. Zimmerman.

Flowers (alphabetically) seen on the hike:

  1. California hedge nettle (Stachys bulleta) Not a true nettle, so you may touch it painlessly. Rose/blue/purplish flowers.
  2. Sensitive manzanita (in chaparral).


Wednesday, December 5, 2007 - counter-clockwise.

Report by J. Zimmerman.


No flowers at HQ.

Taking Dool Trail toward Sunset Trail - beginning our counter-clockwise exploration.

By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 1 new slug (1 total).

By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector on Sunset Trail: [not surveyed in 2007 due to prescribed burn detour].

By West Waddell Creek Bridge on Sunset Trail: [not surveyed in 2007 due to prescribed burn detour] estimated number of new slug (from pro-rating from Middle Ridge Fire Road as explained above and below) = 9; total now 10.

By Timms Creek Trail on Sunset Trail: 3 new slugs (13 total).

By East Berry Creek Bridge: 15 new slugs (28 total).

  1. Sensitive manzanita (in chaparral).

    By Sunset camp Connector trail: 8 new slugs (36 total).

    By Silver Falls: 3 new slugs (39 total).

    By Berry Creek Falls view from Bench Platform: 13 new slugs (52 total).

    By Berry Creek Falls view from Seat: 0 new slugs (52 total).

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs (52 total).

  2. California hedge nettle (Stachys bulleta) Not a true nettle, so you may touch it painlessly. Rose/blue/purplish flowers.

    By Timms Creek Trail: 11 new slugs (63 total).

    By West (Lower) End of Connector trail: 5 new slugs (68 total).

    By East (Upper) End of the Connector trail: 9 new slug (77 total).

    By Kelly Creek Bridge: 3 new slugs (80 total).

    By Sunset Connector: 5 new slug (85 total).

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 6 new slugs (91 total).

    Arriving back via Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail at Park Head Quarters: 4 new slugs (95 total).

Slugs seen in previous years On Sunset Trail between West Waddell Bridge and Middle Ridge Fire Road On entire Berry Creek Falls Loop Percentage
2002 (insufficient information) 118 Unknown
2003 (insufficient information) 91 Unknown
2004 7 91 7.7%
2005 7 46 15.2%
2006 2 22 9.1%
Total for 2004 to 2006 16 159 10.1%
2007: Pro-rating from 86 slugs recorded on open portion of Loop Trail. Add 9 95 (86+9) 9.5%


Wednesday, December 6, 2006 - counter-clockwise.

Report by J. Zimmerman.


No flowers at Ranger Station HQ.

Taking Dool Trail toward Sunset Trail - beginning our counter-clockwise exploration.

By Middle Ridge Fire Road (on Sunset Trail): 0 slugs.

By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector (5.2 miles from Park H.Q. on Sunset Trail): 0 slugs.

By West Waddell Creek Bridge (on Sunset Trail): 2 slugs spotted; 2 total.

Scott, who is keen on blueing balls, noted them before Timms Creek.

By Timms Creek Trail (on Sunset Trail): 0 new slugs; 2 total.

By East Berry Creek Bridge (on Sunset Trail): 2 new slugs; 4 total.

After the bridge, several Golden Chinquapins were very showy.

  1. Several small-leaved Manzanita (Sensitive Manzanita) in bloom (white).
    Also Manzanita berries.

    One California sister butterfly.

    By Sunset Camp Connector Trail: 0 new slugs; 4 total.

    By Silver Falls. 1 new slug; 5 total. 3 newts at Silver Falls, and a thin 1" dark slug on the end of a very wet stump.

    Scott, who is keen on ferns, noted the dying fertile deer fern fronds are at the end of their life cycle, having been with us about two months.

  2. ["unique"] Sugar scoop (white), Tiatella unifoliata; a.k.a. saxifrage, sometimes called False Mitrewort.

  3. ["unique"] Alum root (white), Heuchera micrantha; a.k.a. crevice heuchera or small-flowered heuchera. The petals of this flower curl back.

    By BC Falls Bench: 6 new slugs; 11 total. 4th newt.

    By Waddell Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs; 11 total.

    By Timms Creek Trail: 1 new slug; 12 total. 5th newt.

    By West (lower) End of the connector trail: 2 new slugs; 14 total. 6th newt.

    By East (upper) End of the connector trail: 0 new slugs; 14 total.

    By Kelly Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs, 14 total.

  4. ["unique"] Hawkweed (white; similar growth pattern to madia).

    By Sunset connector: 3 new slugs; 17 total.

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 3 new slugs; 20 total.

    Arriving back via Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail: 2 new slugs; 22 total.

    To re-entered the HQ area at the Redwood Loop walk, we were delighted to walk for the first time over the newly opened bridge that replaces the previous tree bridge; the latter bridge was built on a fallen tree trunk (which remains as a pleasing contrast) and had served us for the last sixty-plus years.

Sunday, December 4, 2005.

Report by J. Zimmerman.


One wildflower by the Ranger Station HQ:
  1. ["unique"] Redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana). White.

    Take Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail toward Middle Ridge Fire Road.

  2. Redwood violet (yellow).

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road (80% humidity and 38 deg): 0 slugs so far.

    By Sunset Connector Trail junction (82% humidity and 42 deg): 2 new slugs, 2 total.

    By Kelly Creek Bridge (83% humidity and 43 deg): 7 new slugs, 9 total.

    By East End (upper) of the side trail (84% humidity and 44 deg): 2 new slugs, 11 total.

    By West End (lower) of the side trail (86% humidity and 44 deg): 1 new slug, 12 total. Also 1 newt.

  3. ["unique"] Sugar scoop (saxifrage, sometimes called False Mitrewort), Tiatella unifoliata (white).

    By Timms Creek Trail (87% humidity and 43 deg): 1 new slug, 13 total.

  4. Coast Boykinia (Boykinia Elata) (white). A.k.a. Brook Foam. (5 open white petals).

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge (88% humidity and 45 deg): 8 new slugs, 21 total. 1 new newt; 4 total.

    By Berry Creek Falls first view (at Seat): 1 new slug, 22 total.

    By Berry Creek Falls viewing platform and bench: 3 new slugs, 25 total.

    By Silver Falls: 3 new slugs, 28 total. 1 new terrestrial newts and 2 aquatic newts; 4 total.

    By Sunset Camp Connector Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 1 new slug, 29 total.

  5. Several small-leaved Manzanita (Sensitive Manzanita) in bloom (white).

    By East Berry Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs, 29 total.

    By Timms Creek Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 9 new slugs, 38 total.

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 1 new slug, 39 total.

    By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector junction with Sunset Trail: 7 new slugs, 46 total.

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: No additions.

    By Dool Trail: No additions.

    By HQ: No additions.

Friday, December 10, 2004.

Report by J. Zimmerman.

Designation of "unique": In this report, the designation of "unique" is given to those species that were seen in a single location.


No flowers visible by the Ranger Station HQ.

Take Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail toward Middle Ridge Fire Road.

By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 1 slug; slug count so far is 1.

By Sunset Connector Trail junction: 9 new slugs, 10 total.

By Kelly Creek Bridge: 20 new slugs, 30 total.

By East End (upper) of the side trail: 8 new slugs, 38 total.

By West End (lower) of the side trail: 3 new slugs, 41 total.

By Timms Creek Trail: 8 new slugs, 49 total. And 1 terrestrial newt, 1 total.

  1. ["unique"] Alum root (aka crevice heuchera) Heuchera micrantha (White).

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 4 new slugs, 53 total. And 3 more terrestrial newt, 4 total.

    By Berry Creek Falls first view (at Seat): 3 new slugs, 56 total.

    By Silver Falls. 15 new slugs, 71 total. And 7 more terrestrial newts, giving 11 total.

    By Sunset Camp Connector Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 2 new slugs, 73 total. And 1 more terrestrial newt, giving 12 total.

  2. ["unique"] Several small-leaved Manzanita (Sensitive Manzanita) in bloom (white).

    By East Berry Creek Bridge: 5 new slugs, 78 total.

    By Timms Creek Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 0 new slugs, 78 total.

  3. ["unique"] Redwood violet (yellow; a single fully open flower).

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 6 new slugs, 84 total.

    By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector junction with Sunset Trail: 7 new slugs, 91 total.

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 0 new slugs, 91 total.

    By Dool Trail: 0 new slugs, 91 total.

    WONDERFUL GOOD NEWS - THE COLLAPSED BRIDGE ACROSS OPAL CREEK HAS BEEN REPLACED BY A BIG STRONG ONE. THANK YOU!


December 2003.

Two reports this month, both shown below: Thursday, December 11, 2003 and Friday, December 19, 2003.

Thursday, December 11, 2003.

Report by J. Zimmerman.

3 flowers:
(1) Coyote Brush flowers at park HQ.                         Greenish-white.
(2) Alum root (aka crevice heuchera) Heuchera micrantha      White.
(3) Sensitive Manzanita                                      White.

Astonishing hike with no one else in the forest.
Only 4 placed where I had to clamber over/under fallen trees, despite the recent gales.
7 quail sitting down.
3 wild turkey strutting their bedraggled stuff.

POSSIBLY a bob cat - surprised a moderate-sized short-tailed grey-brown furry animal,
which clambered agilely up a steep bank in the cover of a downed redwood near Silver Falls.

A phenomenal suburb of 11 slugs in about 50 feet above Berry Creek Falls.
And an entwined pair of kissing slugs by the Sunset Trail.

Worrisome signs of wild pig activity, in overturned dirt beside trail near Silver Falls.
More mushrooms than 2 weeks ago - but none where the pigs plundered.

Friday, December 19, 2003.

Report by Scott Peden.

4 flowers:
(1) Sensitive Manzanita
(2) Coyote Brush
(3) Alum Root
(4) Sugar Scoop

Also Bluing Balls.
Flowering Lichens.
Many different shrooms, mostly on fallen logs.
Coral Fungi!
		
"Rangers in all of the parks this year are really geared up 
for ticketing flower harvesters. Mushrooms are the flowers
of the organism. It is a pretty hefty [maybe $213?] fine."


December 2002

This month's report is for: Thursday, December 12th 2002.

Check out the introduction to this glorious hike on the Berry Creek Falls Loop Trail. See also our archives and our recent monthly reports:

Thursday, December 12th 2002 - What we saw.

THE HIGHLIGHTS

On the trail with me today is Joan. Mushrooms and other funguses, many weird and strange-looking
ones. Frequently there were Banana Slugs on them, and actively eating them [Ed. and sliming them
in the process - a cautionary (yucky?) note to mushroom thieves.] What a visual treat! 
Remember your Ethics!. No picking allowed. 

And another high count for the Newts, they are so interesting. 

FIRE in the Forest! The controlled burn that is happening on the basin side of our walk 
(nearest to Headquarters, across Opal Creek) took a lot of our attention early on. 
A 3-ft diameter 
  Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
  burning, and with glowing coals, lay next to a live Redwood tree. 
The redwood's bark had been scraped off by the falling 
  Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii),
   and some of its bark 
had turned to ash, but relatively little damage besides that, even with the fire right 
next to it! I will get a better look at it after we get a breather in this drenching storm 
that started just hours after we left the park. In the Burn area it was really comfortably 
warm, compared to the cold of the parking lot. 

Going down Skyline to the Sea Trail to the Falls it was damp, looked as though it had just 
rained in places, and cold. From Sunset Camp trail back to Middle Ridge Fire road, and 
was reasonably dry and I had my shirt unbuttoned! So much for a boring winter day on a trail 
in Big Basin. Pics of the Newts and Banana Slugs eating 'shroom will be on the picture site soon. 

Latin Names and more information are posted with each picture on my picture site.
I load pictures to that on-line portfolio (see how to access Scott's Flower Photos) 
as time permits. 

Note: Funguses and Mushrooms are protected just as all of the flowers, trees and shrubs are. 
This is a State park, and these are here for all of us to enjoy. No one is allowed to pick or  
harm any feature in the park or to take anything home, etc. There are penalties for this. Last
January on Tuesday the 15th, I walked to Berry Creek Falls, and counted dozens of fungus and
mushroom. I took pictures as my trophies. I walked to the falls again on Friday, Jan 18th 2002, 
3 days later, and there were only 6 mushrooms left; even the poisonous ones were gone. 

THE PARTICULARS!

Park HQ up Skyline to the Sea Trail to Middle Ridge Fire Road
*  Left at 8:15
*  Santa Cruz/Townsend Chipmunk running in and out under the redwood log benches at the 
   camp fire center.
*  Mushrooms growing out of downed trees. Part of the Recycling process, 
*  FIRE in the Forest. A Controlled Burn. There were many different places that had been 
   set fire to, in the process of removing large pieces of fuel that would contribute 
   to a major forest fire, making the likelihood of a major fire happening in these 
   already burned areas. We spent a good amount of time looking around at what has happened 
   during this Controlled Burn.
*  Banana Slug (on a side road to our loop, so we can't include it in our count) was
   climbing over the burnt part of a hillside, and apparently finding something good
   to eat. (We were on Middle Ridge Fire Road, looking at some spectacular Burled
   trees, just up hill from the Skyline to the Sea Trail.)
 
Middle Ridge Fire Road to Sunset Trail connector
*  9:20 AM. We are already 50 minutes behind my normal arrival, and it was dark the last  
   2 times I finished this trail. We check for Flashlights, and mine that lives in the pack 
   is still with me. We don't want to rush this walk, as there are so many different things 
   to see that are not here in the summer.
*  Several Mushroom and other Fungus, some of the more interesting are decomposing the ends 
   of Tan Oak Logs, Witches Butter being the only one I can identify
*  Joan and I were talking about the number of Banana Slugs that we might see today, after 
   all of a year doing good observations, and thought that the mean number of 30 to 45 
   would be likely.
6 Banana Slugs
 
Sunset Trail Connector to Kelly Creek Bridge
1. Coyote Brush. A very strange greenish yellow thing. We usually notice this plant 
   when the flower has gone to seed, and see the puffy white down, like a Dandelion.
*  More 'shrooms, with many slugs dining on them, one Nanner eating an old Trillium 
   (Western Wake Robin) leaf
16 Banana Slugs, total 22. I now wonder if we will get a hundred, as this is in keeping 
   with the other real high counts that we have had.
 
Kelly Creek Bridge to east end of Loop Trail
2. Douglas's Nightshade
*  More interesting Mushrooms and shelf Fungus
3 Banana Slugs total now 25
 
East end of Loop Trail to west end of Loop Trail
*  There are Mushrooms that don't have caps, ones that are cup shaped, different colored 
   and ones that look like Coral!
4 Banana Slugs, total 29 Many of these are eating Mushrooms, or climbing over them.
 
West and of Loop Trail to Timms Creek Trail
*  There was even a bright blue with white speckles Fungus living on a dead Douglas Fir log
16 Banana Slugs, total 45, we are sure that we are looking at another record high count, 
   considering the average counts are 20 to 40 slugs
3 Newts
 
Timms Creek Trail to Berry Creek Falls Viewing Bench
3. Sugar-scoop
32 more Banana Slugs! As many as we get in some months! total 77, we are now in 3rd place 
   for grand total number of Nanners seen in one day on this trail.
   Mushrooms and Trilliums are the main course meals today .
7 Newts for a total of 10, second place already for Newts, and this has been a good season
   for them.
 
Berry Creek Falls Viewing Bench to Silver Falls
*  The changing shapes of the Fungus just keep amazing me! Blues White Cream Brown Orange! 
   Singles and colonies on hillsides and logs!
25 Banana Slugs, total now 102
2 Newts, total 12
 
Silver Falls to Sunset Trail Camp connector
4 more Banana Slugs, total 106
 
Sunset Camp Connector Trail to east Berry Creek Bridge
*  2:45 PM left Sunset Camp Connector trail
4. Several small leaved Manzanita in bloom
*  Huckleberries heavy with fruit
*  Fox or Coyote scat in the trail, heavily laden with huckleberries
*  Salal Berries
*  A new variety of Mushrooms, with a 2-3 inch across ball pushing its way 
   up thru the Earth, and others like it that have already opened up, have 
   4-5 inch across 'hats.'
 
East Berry Creek bridge to Timms Creek Trail
*  And more different types of Fungus/Mushrooms
3 banana slugs, total 109
 
Timms Creek Trail to West Waddell Bridge
*  More different types of 'shrooms
 
West Waddell Bridge to Sunset Connector Trail
*  10-15 minutes before Sunset Connector Trail, I am taking pictures 
   in the relative dark, and the odds are good that we are only seeing 
   the most obvious Nanners.
9 Nanners, for a total of 118
 
Skyline to the Sea Connector Trail to Middle Ridge Fire Road.
5:03 PM
It is too dark to see anything but the outline of the trail
 
Middle Ridge Fire Road to Park HQ
5:15 PM
It is now so dark that we must use the flashlight to see the trail, and the roots in it. 
Lightly overcast, so the moon is hardly any real help at all.
Arrived at park HQ at 5:35 PM. 
 
Times:
        Left ranger station 8:15 AM
        Returned to HQ at 5:35 PM. 
        9 hours and 20 minutes on the Trail today.


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