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California Redwoods and Waterfalls:
Big Basin Berry Creek Falls in September

September 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.
Flower are our stars 2005.
Flower are our stars 2004 by J. Zimmerman and Scott Peden
Flower are our stars 2003
Flower are our stars 2002 by Scott Peden.

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.
Trail plant closeup by Scott Peden
Trail Plant close-up (Adenocaulon bicolor)
(© 2005-2016 by Scott Peden); blooms in June to October

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.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008.

Report by J. Zimmerman.


Starting with the flowers (alphabetically) at Ranger Station HQ:
  1. [ALIEN] ["unique"] Cat's ear: Smooth cat's ear (yellow composite).
  2. ["unique"] Stinging nettle (pale green). [*OUCH* do not *TOUCH*]

    Additional flowers (alphabetically) seen on the loop trail.

  3. Alum root (a.k.a. small-flowered Heuchera) (white).
  4. Boykinia: Coast Boykinia (a.k.a. Brook Foam), Boykinia Elata. 5 open white petals.
  5. ["unique"] Bush poppy. Yellow.
  6. California hedge nettle (Stachys bulleta) Not a true nettle, so you may touch it painlessly. Rose/blue/purplish flowers.
  7. ["unique"] Golden Chinquapin. Catkins.
  8. Hawkweed (white; similar growth pattern to madia).
  9. Sugar scoop (saxifrage, sometimes called False Mitrewort), Tiatella unifoliata (white).
  10. Trail Plant (Adenocaulon bicolor) (cluster of very tiny 5-petaled white flowers. Bring your magnifying glass!!).


Wednesday, September 5, 2007.

Report by J. Zimmerman.


Starting with the flowers (alphabetically) at Ranger Station HQ, many of which are seen on the loop trail:
  1. California Harebell, Asyneuma prenanthoides (blue).
  2. Hawkweed (white; similar growth pattern to madia).
  3. New flower added to our spotting Pacific or Western Rush, Juncus occidentalis. Flower is a fuzzy ball.
  4. ["unique"] Sedge with reddish flowers on a single spike.
  5. ["unique"] Stinging nettle (pale green). [*OUCH* do not *TOUCH*]
  6. ["unique"] Summer aster (Aster radulinus).

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

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 0 new slugs; 0 total.

    By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector on Sunset Trail: 0 new slugs; 0 total.

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge on Sunset Trail: 4 new slugs; 4 total.

    By Timms Creek Trail on Sunset Trail: 1 new slugs; 5 total.

    Unusual bird (for this survey hike) with probable id (due to docents Peden and Ryan) of olive-sided flycatcher.

    By East Berry Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs; 5 total. 2 new adult newts in the East Berry Creek (total 2); 3 new efts (3 total).

  7. Sugar scoop (saxifrage, sometimes called False Mitrewort), Tiatella unifoliata (white).
  8. Golden Chinquapin. Both flowers and fruit.
  9. ["unique"] Cudweed (Gnaphalium).
  10. Bush poppy (yellow).

    By Sunset camp connector trail: 0 new slugs; 5 total. 0 new newts.

  11. Coast Boykinia (a.k.a. Brook Foam), Boykinia Elata (5 open white petals).
  12. Alum root (a.k.a. small-flowered Heuchera) (white).

    By Silver Falls: 0 new slugs; 5 total. 7 new adult aquatic newts (includes 1 at Golden Falls, 6 at Silver Falls) (9 total). 26 new efts (20 at Golden Falls, 6 at Silver Falls) (29 total).

  13. Trail Plant (Adenocaulon bicolor) (cluster of very tiny 5-petaled white flowers. Bring your magnifying glass!!).

    Honorable mention: Pink Boykinia (not counted as separate species).

    By Berry Creek Falls view from Seat: 0 new slugs; 5 total. 1 new adult aquatic newts (10 total).

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 1 new slug; 6 total.

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

    By Timms Creek Trail: 1 new slug; 7 total.

    By West (Lower) End of connector trail: 0 new slugs; 7 total.

    By East (Upper) End of the connector trail: 0 new slugs; 7 total.

    By Kelly Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs; 7 total.

    By Sunset connector: 0 new slugs; 7 total.

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 0 new slugs; 7 total.

    Arriving back via Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail at Park Head Quarters: 0 new slugs; 7 total.


Wednesday, September 6, 2006.

Report by J. Zimmerman.


No wildflowers visible by the Ranger Station HQ.

Take Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail toward Middle Ridge Fire Road. Slug count = 0.

Almost no mushrooms on Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail, confirming the current dryness.

  1. California Harebell, Asyneuma prenanthoides (blue).
  2. Hawkweed (white; leaves alternate; otherwise similar growth pattern to madia).

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: Slug count = 0.

    By Sunset Connector Trail junction: Slug count = 0.

    By Kelly Creek Bridge: 1 new slug, 1 total.

  3. Alum root (a.k.a. crevice heuchera or small-flowered heuchera) (Heuchera micrantha). The petals of this flower curl back.

    By East End (upper) of the side trail: 1 new slug, 2 total.

    By West End (lower) of the side trail: 0 new slugs, 2 total.

  4. Sugar scoop (saxifrage, sometimes called False Mitrewort), Tiatella unifoliata (white).

    By Timms Creek Trail: 3 new slugs, 5 total.

  5. Coast Boykinia (Boykinia Elata) (white). A.k.a. Brook Foam. (5 open white petals).
  6. Trail Plant (white)
  7. ["unique"] California hedge nettle (Stachys bulleta). Not a true nettle, so you may touch it painlessly.

    Half a broken egg shell, about three-quarter-inch diameter and originally about one-and-a-quarter-inch long.

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 5 new slugs, 10 total.

    By Berry Creek Falls first view (at Seat): 0 new slugs, 10 total.

    By Berry Creek Falls viewing platform and bench: 0 new slugs, 10 total.

    Honorable mention: Pink Boykinia (not counted as separate species).

    By Silver Falls: 1 new slug, 11 total.

  8. ["unique"] Toothwort (Dentaria californica, var. integrifolia). [!!! This is completely out-of-season, but was growing in a cliff by Golden Cascades and being misted by light spray from the falls.]

    By Sunset Camp Connector Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 1 new slug, 12 total.

  9. Bush Poppy. (Yellow.)
  10. Cudweed.

    Lizard in the chaparral.

    By East Berry Creek Bridge: No additions.

    By Timms Creek Trail junction with Sunset Trail: No additions.

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: No additions.

    By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector junction with Sunset Trail: No additions.

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: No additions.

    By Dool Trail: No additions.

    By HQ: No additions.


Thursday, September 1, 2005.

Report by J. Zimmerman.


A few wildflowers visible by the Ranger Station HQ:
  1. ["unique"] Stinging nettle (ALIEN).
  2. ["unique"] Coast madia (a.k.a. tarweed) (Madia sativa) (ALIEN). Leaves alternate.

    Take Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail toward Middle Ridge Fire Road. Slug count so far is 0.

    SP adds: "Started noting an unusual amount of mushrooms on Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail before Middle Ridge Fire Road. The seep spring that brings the water down the Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail between the Blooms Creek Campground cut-off and Middle Ridge Fire road is still wet. I've only seen a little dampness once in early July, but it still is across the trail wet enough to be muddy."

  3. California Harebell, Asyneuma prenanthoides (blue).
  4. Redwood violet (a.k.a. Evergreen violet) (Viola sempervirens).

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 3 new slugs, 3 total.

    Slime mold.

    By Sunset Connector Trail junction: 13 new slugs, 16 total.

  5. Hawkweed (white; leaves alternate; otherwise similar growth pattern to madia).
  6. California hedge nettle (Stachys bulleta). Not a true nettle, so you may touch it painlessly.
  7. Alum root (a.k.a. crevice heuchera or small-flowered heuchera) (Heuchera micrantha). The petals of this flower curl back.
  8. Woodland madia (a.k.a. tarweed) (Madia madioides). Leaves opposite.
  9. ["unique"] Summer aster (Aster radulinus). Large daisy-like three-quarter-inch flower with thin white petals; yellow center cluster; composite on a slightly zigzag stem.

    By Kelly Creek Bridge: 15 new slugs, 31 total.

    Berries on branched Solomon's seal.

    By East End (upper) of the side trail: 4 new slugs, 35 total.

    Lots of plump scarlet berries on Hooker's fairy bell.

    Astonishingly, a carnivorous banana slug, eating the duff off the bottom of a dead one.

  10. Redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana). White; sometimes mauve, pinkish, or bluish.

    By West End (lower) of the side trail: 11 new slug, 46 total.

  11. Sugar scoop (saxifrage, sometimes called False Mitrewort), Tiatella unifoliata (white).
  12. Trail Plant (white)

    By Timms Creek Trail: 10 new slugs, 56 total.

    Red berries of pawn brokers bush (burning bush).

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

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 3 new slugs, 59 total.

    By Berry Creek Falls first view (at Seat): 0 new slugs, 59 total.

    By Berry Creek Falls viewing platform and bench: 0 new slugs, 59 total.

    SP adds: "California Sister butterflies. Redwood cones that are brown and open."

    By Silver Falls: 1 new slug, 60 total.

  14. ["unique"] Small 4-petaled pink flower with long thin leaves and long (1") seed pods whose side curl back. Perhaps a kind of fireweed.

    By Sunset Camp Connector Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 1 new slug, 61 total.

  15. Bush Poppy. Yellow.
  16. ["unique"] Smooth cat's ear (yellow composite) (ALIEN).

    Lizard after the chaparral.

    By East Berry Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs, 61 total.

    SP adds: "Western Screech Owl feather. A few deer ferns just above Timms Creek. Loads of Bluing balls (red Clintonia)."

  17. ["unique"] Orange Sticky Monkey Flower (Diplacus aurantiacus).

    By Timms Creek Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 0 new slugs, 61 total.

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 1 new slug, 62 total.

    By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector junction with Sunset Trail: 2 new slugs, 64 total.

  18. Deer Weed (Lotus scoparius).

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 1 new slug, 65 total.

    By Dool Trail: No additions.

    By HQ: No additions.


Thursday, September 2, 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.


Starting with the flowers at Ranger Station HQ:
  1. Rush.

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

  2. California Harebell, Asyneuma prenanthoides (blue).

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road crossing, slug count so far is 0.

  3. Hawkweed (white; similar growth pattern to madia).

    By Sunset Connector Trail junction, slug count so far is 0.

    By Kelly Creek Bridge, slug count so far is 0.

    [Red clusters of berries on branched Solomon's seal.]

    By East (upper) End of the side trail: the first slug, 1 total.

    [Green seed heads on elks clover (spikenard).]

    By West (lower) End of the side trail: 4 new slugs, 5 total.

  4. Trail Plant (Adenocaulon bicolor). (White cluster of very tiny 5-petaled flowers. Bring your magnifying glass!!)
  5. Sugar scoop (saxifrage, sometimes called False Mitrewort), Tiatella unifoliata (white).
    [Several red berries on Hookers fairy bells.]

    By Timms Creek Trail: 2 new slugs, 7 total.

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

    By BC Falls first view at Seat: 2 new slugs, 9 total.

  7. River sedge.
  8. Alum Root [A.k.a. small-flowered Heuchera or Crevice Heuchera], Heuchera micrantha (white).
  9. ["unique"] Redwood sorrel (pale pink).

    By Silver Falls. 0 new slugs, 9 total; 3 aquatic newts (at Silver Falls).

    By Sunset Camp Connector Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 0 new slugs, 9 total.

    By East Berry Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs, 9 total.
    [Huge lucious crimson berries on Hookers fairy bells just past bridge.]

    By Timms Creek Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 0 new slugs, 9 total.

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs, 9 total.

    By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector junction with Sunset Trail: 0 new slugs, 9 total.

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 0 new slugs, 9 total.

    By Park HQ: 0 new slugs, 9 total.


Friday September 12, 2003.

 
10 banana slugs and 8 flower species blooming.
(Look at slug and flower count graph in a new window.)
 

Aquatic garter snake (yellow stripe along the spine) near Opal creek. Many thumps of falling tan oak cones. Wonderful big crimson fruit on Hooker's fairy bells. Lots of California sisters (butterflies), often standing on the trail and touching it with a long coiled proboscis). Species seen in blossom (alphabetically): Alum Root (white) Boykinia (white) California Harebell (blue) California Hedge Nettle (pink) Redwood Sorrel (palest pink) Sugar Scoop (white) Trail Plant (white) White Hawkweed (white)


Wednesday September 18th 2002

September, 2002. This Glorious Day held THESE HIGHLIGHTS

 
Ranger Station/HQ to Middle Ridge Fire Road, taking the Skyline to the Sea Trail toward Berry Creek Falls:
 
In the Meadow next to the parking Lot Kiosk entering the Park:
1. Bull Rush
   * Dried Seed heads of the One Leaved Onion and Golden Brodiaea
 
Middle Ridge Fire Road to Sunset Connector Trail: 
2. Hawkweed, White Hieracium albiflorum. Yup, looks a might weedy! 
   I love the layered petals of the white flowers with the small yellow center.
 
Sunset Connector Trail to Kelly Creek Bridge:
   *  Hookers Fairy Bells with Bright red Berries hidden under the leaves.
3. Ocean Spray
   *  Leaf mites have left interesting patterns in the leaves of the Trilliums in one area.
   *  Dried flower heads of the Spotted Coral Root Orchid
Banana Slugs 4
 
Kelly Creek Bridge to the east end of the Loop Trail:
4. Douglas's Nightshade, in the hillside meadow area.
5. Harebell
6. Hedge Nettle, California. This isn't a nettle at all, it is a mint imitating the Stinging Nettle.
   *  The green developing seed heads of the Elks Clover (Spikenard) which will give showy bright black seeds later on
   *  Branched Solomon's Seal, Bright red cluster of berries.
Banana Slugs 2, total 6
 
East end of Loop Trail to west and of Loop Trail:
   California Hedge Nettle
   *  Green seed heads, along with black seed heads of the Elks Clover
   *  Bird feathers, some light black others are white on top, black on the bottom. 
      I frequently see, from here to the creek crossing, see bird feathers on the trail.
   *  Branched Solomon's Seal red berries
Banana Slugs 5, total 11
 
West end of Loop Trail to Timms Creek Trail:
   *  Shiny Red berries of the Hookers Fairy Bells, hidden under the two outermost leaves! Beautiful!
   Harebell
7. Sugar-scoop, now easily identifiable by the little seed 'scoop' under each flower
   Harebell
   *  Bluing Balls, or Bead Lily. When in flower this is knows as Red Clintonia!
Banana Slugs 6, total 17
 
Timms Creek Trail to Berry Creek Falls viewing bench:
8. Mountain Boykinia, Boykinia major ssp. intermedia? This has dense flower cluster, and the flower stems 
   are not red like the Coast Boykinia.
   California Hedge Nettle
9. Coast Boykinia, Boykinia elata
   Hawkweed
   *  Large 3 1/2 foot diameter tree has basically made the viewing bench inaccessible. 
   We had to climb down thru the tree and screed (lose shale) to get to the lower part of the trail. 
   This was taken care of in short order by the trail crews. Thanks Guys (and Gals)!
Banana Slugs 9! total 26
 
Berry Creek Falls viewing bench to Silver Falls:
10. Burning Bush, Western. Some with ripening seed heads. 
    Also known as Pawnbrokers Bush due to the fruits hanging in clusters of three, the symbol 
	of the pawnbroker. There is a lot of this plant growing on the hillside just to the left 
	of Berry Creek Falls, unnoticed due to the splendor of the Falls and 
	
five-finger ferns themselves.
11. Alum Root or Crevice Heuchera, Heuchera micrantha. 
    I distinguish this from the sugar scoop, as both plants the middle parts of the flower extend 
	well past the petals, but the Alum Roots outer petals curl back, where the Sugar-scoop has them 
	at about a 90 degree angle to the middle parts. Both are Saxifrage Family.
    Sugar-scoop
12. Redwood violet!
    Mountain Boykinia, intermedia
    Hedge Nettle
    *  Bluing Balls/Bead Lily
    *  Lady Ferns and Chain Ferns are magnificent!
    *  California Sisters! Butterflies
Banana Slugs 3, total 26
 
Silver falls to Sunset Trail connector:
    *  A lizard
    *  Poison Oak turning a lovely warning shade of red!
    *  Butterfly, California Sister
 
Sunset Trail Connector to East Berry Creek bridge:
    *  Newly forming acorns on a Canyon Oak
    *  'Skeleton Pumpkin's' seeds on the poison Oak, they are white and ribbed like a pumpkin!
    *  It was warm when we arrived at the Sunset Trail Camp marker, but was actually hot 
	   by the time we had arrived back at the edge of the Coniferous Forest, so much so that it almost 
	   felt cold as we re-entered the shade of the woods again.
    *  I have never noticed so much Poison Oak in the past, hopefully no one allergic 
	   to it has taken any home either (look, but don't touch or take anything home! 
	   I doubt that you'd get fined for taking a case of Poison Oak home though!)
 
East Berry Creek bridge to Timms Creek Trail:
    Sugar-scoop
    *  California Sister
    *  Rose Hips
    *  Seeds on a Milkwort. I have never noticed one of these before, they are in a papery sack, 
	   something like the Globe Lily's.
    *  I noticed a great many leaves of the Pacific Star Flower. I wonder of they come up 
	   at this time of the year, and flower early next year, or have the other bits of scenery 
	   just kept me from noticing in the past?
 
Timms Creek trail to West Waddell Bridge:
    Nothing of interest that I photographed, that is a first!
    *  The leaves of the Redwood Sorrel are curled up in this area, and some are actually dry!
 
West Waddell Creek Bridge to Skyline to the Sea connector Trail:
    Blueing Balls/Bead Lily
    *  A stout trunked Mushroom pushing its head through the soil
    *  Several different types of Fungus's many as large as my hand spread.
 
Skyline to the Sea connector Trail to Middle Ridge Fire Road:
    Hawkweed
 
Middle Ridge Fire Road to Park Headquarters:
    *  A bright Yellow slime mold, moving over the surface of a downed 
	   Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Tree.


Respect The Berry Creek Falls Trail is a loop in Big Basin State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Boulder Creek. Respect the trail restrictions, in courtesy for the Forest and other users. Hikers only. No dogs. No horses. No mountain bikes.

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