Curt Beebe, docent, June 18, 2001, 5:30 - 7:00 AM
|Note: This activity is one of an ongoing, almost daily series, entitled Adventures with Nature, sponsored by the San Luis Obispo Coast District State Parks Docents supported by Central Coast Natural History Association, Museum of Natural History, Morro Bay, CA State Park.|
Introduction, from Los Osos - Baywood Park Chamber of Commerce:
Watch for small signs and a parking lot on the south side of Los Osos Valley Road, ½-mile east of South Bay Boulevard. An easy one-mile trail leads visitors under the low canopy of "Pygmy Oaks," dwarfed oaks that are 600 to 800 years old.
The leaf-covered trail winds among the trees' gnarled gray trunks and the mushrooms, wild cucumbers, hollyleaf cherry and other flora that exist in this shaded land where Chumash Indians once lived. Visitors should be wary of a prolific member of the reserve's plant community - poison oak. Avoid its shiny "leaves of three" lining the trail in many places.
Club write-up is below:
This serene and unspoiled 85-acre area is located about one mile south east of the town of Los Osos on Los Osos Valley Road. A one-mile long self-guiding trail wanders through a grove of coast live oaks including some mature oaks that are no more than six to eight feet in height. These dwarfed oaks grow in the mineral depleted soil of ancient... sand dunes. A wide range of plants and animals can be seen here including three kinds of lichens not found elsewhere. (more information)
Several dedicated nature lovers came out for this beautiful docent-led walk through the Los Osos Oaks Nature Reserve. By starting out early in the morning, we were treated to the sight of Venus resting to the right of the moon , against a sunrise over the Morros . The many birds were awakening, and visible high (Black Phoebe shown here, courtesy Curt Beebe) in the trees as they perched high to dry their feathers and sing in the new sun.
|To hear some of these bird sounds, click here (beware, this is a 4 MB .avi file, which may take many minutes to load unless you have a very high bandwidth connection. Turn volume to maximum.|
The following images are to some extent self-describing by image name. Click to enlarge these thumbnails.
Among the many majestic oaks , some covered with lace lichen , and sheltering much poison oak ,
we encountered raccoon footprints , deer, a small intermittent feeder creek, Los Osos Creek (fairly dry in June), a bee hive , a hollow in a tree called the "birdbath" , and grasses and rush of various types , harboring delicate spider webs .
Wood rat nests , flowers, such as this sticky monkey flower , and native shrubs, such as this bush lupine , dotted the area.
The variety of forms presented by this preserve was accentuated by the shadows cast by the early rising sun .
Willow herb , California holly , coffee berry , oak "apples" ... were just a few of the hundred items Curt Beebe identified for us.
The preserve contains some natural and artificial meadows and pastures , adjacent to the many oaks , some of which exposed their three inch thick bark to us , and sundry growths .
Chumash Indian middens (old trash and garbage dumps) provided evidence of human habitation, as pieces of clam and oyster shells could be found under the chaparral.
Here are 23 photos taken on 25 August 2001 of the adjacent Los Osos Creek bed, explored by Curt Beebe and Mike Baird.
read "All about Poison Oak" by docent Curt Beebe.