Place: Joseph D. Grant County Park, San Jose, California
Coordinates: 37.34268, -121.71602
Length: about 2.5 miles
Difficulty: easy to moderate
|Map scanned from park brochure, trail labeled yellow.|
|The view to the southwest from the Yerba Buena trail|
We parked at Grant Lake and started walking east on the Yerba Buena trail. For about a mile the trail goes through open grassland along Mt. Hamilton Rd. The hills are all green now with grasses, nearly all of them invasive species from the Old World. The grass looks uniformly green from afar, but a closer look revealed a whole lot of spring ephemerals everywhere. Once spotted, they cannot be missed, these patches of color on the green mat. Here are some of the flowers we've seen there, please click on the photos for a larger view:
Many of the oak trees there are deciduous and were just beginning to bud out their leaves. Here's a freshly-folliaged Buckeye tree nestled between the late-awakend oaks:
After about a mile we made a sharp turn into the loop trail that leads to McReary Lake. This trail enters a narrow creek that quickly deepens into a decent size gorge. It was in this creek that we met this lovely dow who stayed stayed for a long time and allowed us to photograph her from a close distance.
Although more shaded, there were still quite a few wildflowers by that part of the trail as well.
An interesting bird that hopped in the trees caught my eye. I spent quite a lot of time trying to get a clear shot of it. It didn't yield easily, but with much patience I eventually managed to photograph it. I was very proud of myself - it is a bird I've never seen before: a Varied Thrush.
|Cormorants at McReary Lake|
|A log in the lake: turtle perch.|
|A turtle in the sun|
|A natural plant pot|