Date: April 25 and May 9, 2020
Place: Dublin Hills Regional Park, Dublin, California
Coordinates: 37.700124, -121.974887
Length: 4.3 miles
The days are Shelter-in-Place days. The parks are open for hiking and we make the best of what's possible. We yearn to see friends but gathering is forbidden. The solution: going on a simultaneous hike while maintaining safe distance.
Taking a friend's recommendation, we agree to meet late in the afternoon at Dublin Hills Regional Park.
|Our hike as captured by my GPS|
The first colorful thing we saw however, was not a flower but a male Anna's hummingbird standing guard watching his territory atop of a tall bush by the Donlon Point Trail.
|Anna's Hummingbird, male|
|California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica|
|Fossils, April 25|
The annual vegetation of the East Bay hills is of vastly invasive old world species. Grasses, mainly, but not just. Some of these weeds are quite beautiful.
|Crimson Clover, Trifolium incarnatum. Non-native. April 25|
|Mediterranean Lineseed, Bellardia trixago. Non-native. April 25|
From a distance all the vegetation appears to be just grass. A closer look between the grass blades revealed a few wildflowers closer to the ground.
|Hill Morning Glory, Calystegia subacaulis|
|Jointed Charlock, Raphanus sativus. Non-native, invasive. April 25|
|Dublin, April 25|
|View to the Bay, April 25|
Pappa Quail did not follow us up to Donlon Point - he found something else to look at while the rest of us did the little detour up there.
|Red Maids, Calandrinia menziesii, April 25|
|Bicolor Lupine, Lupinus bicolor, April 25|
|Yarrow, Achillea millefolium|
|Centipede, April 25|
|Western fence lizards, April 25|
|Silver Bush Lupine, Lupinus albifrons, April 25|
We reached down to where the second park access gate was, and there we turned east to where the loop trail begun. Below us was a cable watering pond, which in April was full, belted with lush, green vegetation, and harbored a pair of mallards.
The cause to all of this and also to the striking color difference between the two sides of the fence was the herd of cattle that was released to graze in this area of the park.
East of the pond there there was a small area fenced off to hikers and cattle. There was water there still and tall vegetation, and a nice place for birds to be.
At some point we diverted from the trail and went to sit in the shade of these trees for a short snack break. There, in the fallen leaves Pappa Quail found an interesting lizard. The lizard stayed put and collaborated with the camera. It was very much alive, but didn't make any effort to go anywhere. We took some photos and left it where it was.
|California Alligator Lizard|
After the break we continued down the trail. The wide dirt road continued straight ahead out of the park and into Dublin and we continued on the loop trail that turned to a narrow footpath and plunged into a deeply shaded oak-laurel grove.
At the edge of the grove I saw some hedge nettle blooming and paused to take some photos. Everyone else went on forward and I had to run and catch up with them.
|Hedge Nettle, Stachys sp.|
We exited the shade and almost immediately regretted it, because the sun was now directly on us, and the heat became uncomfortable. The trail switch-backed upward and right above us I saw a carpet of blooming mustard - a sight brooch to the California coast by the Spaniards.
A hawk's cry pierced the air. I didn't need to look up to know that this was a red-tailed hawk, the bird that dubs the eagle in movies.
The trail led us up the ridge we looked down upon from Donlon Point. I could see now that the north-facing slope of this ridge too was lined with oak trees and lusher vegetation.
Although dry and past its bloom prime, I still could find some wildflowers even on this ridge long the hard dirt trail.
|Purple Owl's Clover, Castilleja exerta|
The rocky top of that hill was just ahead but the trail was leading down back to where the cattle pond was, and everyone else had already walked down except for me and my young chika, so we followed them down and missed the opportunity to check out the knoll we saw from Donlon point.
As I mentioned before, there was a small fenced area downstream of the cattle pond. As I came down the trail I saw Pappa Quail and the elder chika busy observing something there. What they were looking at were birds. A bluebird on the barbwire fence.