Too Cold and Too Windy, 03-01-23

Oh my gosh, my friend Roxanne and I had such a rough time on our walk at Mather Lake Regional Park. It was about 34ºF and so windy we could hardly hold our cameras steady.

When we got to the park, we were surprised by how much water was on the landscape. There were puddles everywhere, some of them very large, and ponds where ponds had never been before. It must have POURED there.

We were also surprised to see so many felled. Entire areas were bereft of trees, and the tules and scraggly overgrowth were cut down and/or hauled away. It opened up the view, but I couldn’t help but wonder how many species were displaced by the aggressive culling of the trees and plant life.

There were hardly any birds to see, even on the lake, and I sure the intense wind and cold were partially responsible for that. It was so cold that it was difficult to get our hands warm enough to manipulate our cameras. And the wind kept knocking our cameras to the side when we tried to take photos. I was surprised that ANY of my photos turned out well and weren’t just big blurs.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Because the weather was so unforgiving and the place was pretty much devoid of wildlife, we only walked halfway up one side of the lake before heading back to the car. It was a most disappointing trek. I don’t remember another walk that felt so… unsuccessful, so fruitless, so futile.

What was funny, though, was: when we got back to my house, there were about six different species of birds in the front yard including a Northern Flicker, a Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Mourning Doves, Audubon Warblers, House Sparrows, and others. There was more going on in the yard than there was at the lake. Hah!

This was walk #7 in my #52HikeChallenge for the year,

Species List:

  1. American Coot, Fulica americana
  2. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  3. Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
  4. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  5. Beaver, American, Beaver, Castor canadensis [den and sign]
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  8. Brown Jelly Fungus, Leafy Brain, Phaeotremella foliacea
  9. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  10. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  11. Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
  12. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  13. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  14. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  15. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  16. Great-Tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus
  17. Grebe, Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  18. Hooded Sunburst Lichen, Xanthomendoza fallax [with soredia]
  19. House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  20. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  21. Live Oak Apple Gall Wasp, Summer, asexual generation, Amphibolips quercuspomiformis [spiky ball]
  22. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  23. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  24. Mute Swan, Cygnus olor
  25. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  26. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  27. Oak, Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia
  28. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  29. Powdery-Margined Cryptic Shade Lichen, Physciella chloantha
  30. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  31. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  32. Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Passerella iliaca
  33. Sparrow, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  34. Sparrow, House Sparrow, Passer domesticus
  35. Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  36. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  37. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
  38. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  39. Willow, Salix sp.

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