Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hiking The Round Valley Regional Preserve


 
 This weekend my wife and I decided to head out Marsh Creek road and go hiking at the Round Valley Regional Preserve... This area of the Mt.Diablo foothils is completely on the other side of the mountain from the Shell and Lime Ridge foothills that roll down the mountain into Concord and Clayton...Just a few minutes out of town  it is a really nice drive along the swollen Marsh Creek with the hills and valleys all painted green this time of year...
The trail head starts with a walk across the creek over a big bridge that provides some great views of the stream  from  above it...

From there we decided to take the hardy canyon trail to the left because it followed along side the stream...Hiking along the stream we eventually came upon the ruins of an old stone house that was built into the hillside beside the stream...
This place looked to me to be from around John Marsh's days..Here is a shot of the view that they had looking out the front window all those years ago....
At that point the trail turns  heading up into Hardy Canyon ... This canyon is very green right now and this was a beautiful day to see it...The rabbits in Hardy Canyon are happy and healthy living the good life at the  Round Valley Preserve...
Yesterdays hike was great! The ground was wet but not too muddy and trail conditions weren't bad...  Heading back up stream hiking along the water we found some beautiful winter foliage growing in big green patches along the trail...

Round Valley Regional Preserve is occupied by a variety of wildlife animals including Mountain Lions...When hiking in the wetter months I find it interesting to look at the different animal tracks in the mud always looking for a Cougar print  left by the water ...Which is where I found this one...
The way to tell a Cougar print from a Dog print is that a Dogs print will have claws as shown below...
The Cougar like all cats has retractable claws so you wont see them in a Cougar print if it is on level ground...The view up the stream standing beneath the bridge where the those tracks were was a beautiful site though ...
As we headed back across the bridge looking down on that spot I could easily envision this beautiful animal down there getting a drink
What a cool thing it is to live in the valleys of this great mountain ... All the way around it you find sights just like these ...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Rabbit of Hardy Canyon

Today while out hiking in Hardy Canyon I came across some characters that seemed to me to be more like a part of a Winnie the Pooh movie some where back in the hundred acre wood..It seemed Rabbit and Squirrel  were having a conversation about who knows what when I stumbled upon them... They both didn't seem to mind the camera at all and allowed me to get close enough to join  in their conversation as best I could...However once they heard my broken Rabbit/Ground Squirrel lingo they both decided to go back into their holes ...

On The Trail of The Marsh, The Diablo and The Galindo

 This time of year these three very different local small creeks become more like a series of large streams and even rivers at some points... This always allows for some great hiking environments that we don't normally get to enjoy ... Here is a great shot of the Marsh Creek @ Round valley as the winter rains turn this normally almost dry creek bed  into a beautiful stream ..
.These shots of the Diablo Creek were taken last week in Donner Canyon on past the Bruce Lee trail... It too is an incredible sight to see this time of year also looking more like a small river or stream ..

Finally some more shots of the Galindo as well ... This is of course the creek that's headwaters flow from the Crystal Ranch area back on the Mangini preserve... Flowing through Concord  pretty much parallel with Clayton and Cowell road adding much to the Concord Nature park along the way..

These three very unique creeks are all right here in the valleys and foothills of our beautiful Mt.Diablo...I say  get out there and enjoy each season for all its worth !

Friday, January 29, 2010

Concord Nature Park; The Calm After The Storm

  Over the last couple of weeks we have been hit with some stormy weather that is for sure... The Concord Nature Park section of the Galindo Creek has been photographed by myself and Claycord readers as well looking more  like a raging rapids ride  than a quiet little nature preserve...
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Today it was back to its old self again as the waters receded ...An  almost spring like flow traveled  through the park allowing  for some great shots...
As a kid I grew up fishing and having many adventures with my dogs in this park...playing hide and seek and  running through the tall  grass in the meadow...

The best thing about growing up in Canterbury was definitely having this beautiful nature preserve right in my neighborhood...
Tucked away just enough to make you feel as if you were really off in the woods ...

Falcon's On The Ridge

 Today while on one of the trails of Lime Ridge I stumbled onto a pair of  beautiful White Tailed Kites hunting on the hillsides... This particular species of the Falcon family seem to have no use for the newly installed raptor perches ... The Kite gets its name from its unique hunting style...It hovers in one place fluttering above its prey with its wings  wide  open and its white tail fanned out  looking much like an actual kite..
..The White tailed Kite is often seen in the Lime Ridge Open Spaces as there is a steady supply of Ground squirrels as well as other rodents...
The newly installed raptor perches were put in place to help the local raptor population with their hunting of  the local Ground squirrel population...
The idea is that the Hawks ,Eagles ,Owls and Falcons would be more drawn to these areas where the perches are placed  because its an easy meal...However as far as the Kite is concerned they have their own method and it is working for them just fine...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More Photo's Of The Ridge Park Blacktailed Deer

 

 
 
 

Mount Washington loses wind speed record

This is from one of the blogs that I follow called The Smoky mountain Hiking Blog...Since 1934, Mount Washington in New Hampshire has held the record for the fastest wind gust ever recorded on the surface of the Earth. In a report released last Friday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), that record was toppled on April 10, 1996 at an unmanned station in Barrow Island, Australia during Typhoon Olivia. According to the report, the new record now stands at 253 mph.  Read More

Does Anyone Know The History Of The Old Stone Chimney?


This old stone chimney fireplace hearth has been out in a meadow standing by itself all my life... It is located off Cowell road on Ridge Park... Obviously a relic of an old cabin or house but as I looked at it the other day I became curious ,so I thought I would ask...Does anyone out there have knowledge of the history of this smokestack?  It looks very very old...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Pool Crasher

The people who live at the residence in this  YouTube video have been noticing that the ground all around the pool was wet when they would come home as well as the patio furniture...At first they thought it was some kids from the neighborhood hopping the fence when they leave ... Not giving much thought to the neighbors dog, so they set up a surveillance  camera... What they saw when they viewed the footage was hilarious...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Dozen Facts About Humming Birds







Humming Birds are the smallest birds on the planet...But they do have abilities that are far superior to other birds...Everything about the Humming bird is fascinating , their look, their flight,the way they are built to survive...They live in a world that is mostly invisible to our eyes rarely giving us more than a glimpse...Here are some interesting  Humming Bird Facts    :#1 Humming Birds live only in the Americas...   #2 There are nearly three hundred and fifty species of the Humming Bird...  #3 They are the smallest of all warm blooded creatures...  #4 A Humming Bird can move its wings in a figure eight gaining lift from both sides...#5 A Humming Bird can fly backwards,turn on a dime and even fly upside down ...  #6  The hovering skill of the Humming Bird is unique to other birds...Only insects fly like that...  # 7 Their hovering ability allows them to dine on nectar, since most flowers don't have a perching place for them ..#8 .The swordbill Humming Bird has a 4 inch bill that is actually longer than its body...# 9 The Calliope Humming Bird is the smallest of all the Humming Bird species making it the smallest warm blooded creature in North America ...# 10  The species of Humming Bird that lives in our area is called the Annas Humming Bird.....  # 11 -Another fact about Humming Birds you may not know is that they do not live on Nectar alone but are skillful aerial predators as well... A humming Bird hunts small insects for almost a third of their diet snatching them out of thin air too fast to see...# 12 Humming birds would die of starvation by morning were it not for the fact that their bodies go into a kind of hibernation at night almost completely shutting down ... The birds body temp normally 105 can drop by more than half and its heart beat slows way down... Then at dawn they slowly emerge from torpor...