Place: Laguna Niguel County Park, Laguna Niguel, California
Coordinates: 33.551960, -117.709510
Length: 1.9 miles
The chikas are off school the entire week of Thanksgiving - perfect time to go on a longer road trip. This year we traveled south, and not just on Nature discovery: we have friends that we wanted to see and also a 2-years old promise to keep. But with and around all that, Nature was still a top priority.
one of the places we visited was the lovely little park of Laguna Niguel Lake. In the town of Laguna Niguel, north of San Juan Capistrano, there is a creek called Sulphur Creek and that creek is dammed to make a small reservoir. That reservoir is a place for boating, fishing and picnics (very nice picnic areas!) and it is also surrounded by an easy and pretty hiking/biking trail, just under 2 miles long.
The trail goes south on a pavement, cutting through a nice, green lawn that had me raise my brows. I do hope they kept that lawn green with recycled water.
|Laguna Niguel Park Lawn|
I considered that hill slope foursome time. Behind the hill crest there are houses that are outside the photo frame. Some of the slope is stark - I can almost see the mudslide with the next torrent. Behind - a mishmash of large bushes/small trees from many parts of the world, thrown together to mix withe locals to form a functioning mosaic, home to bush birds, rodents and reptiles.
The trail soon delves into the bushes. Of the local residents I noted the two that were blooming like spring. The California Buckwheat:
|California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum)|
|Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis)|
Sometimes it's luck over patience ...
|Black-chinned Hummingbird, male|
The hill on the western side of the lake was lower and seemed less interesting than the hill on the eastern side of the park. A line of Eucalyptus trees barred the higher landscape from view, but a sole tree in front provided a much more interesting sight: it was full of great-tailed grackles.
I didn't see it. She dieted me again and again, until my eyes finally made out its shape.
|That's the best I could get of that rabbit. It's duck season.|
A closer look at the great egret. It's a common enough bird, but I'm always happy to see it.
Even in the shade.
|Laguna Niguel Lake's dam|