English: Only slightly larger than a mallard d...

English: Only slightly larger than a mallard duck, the Aleutian Canada goose is one of the smallest subspecies of Canada goose. It nests only on islands in the North Pacific Ocean. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After my recent hike through Stoney Creek Trail in Gasquet, I was eager to photograph beautiful, rare or endangered wildflowers, so I clutched my meager camera and away we went. Mark suggested a coastal lagoon trail, one mile from our driveway. The following photographs and videos haven’t been altered, and I hope you can get the feeling of being with us.

The trail begins just off of thoroughfare, and no one could miss this sign!  Somebody really means business –  note the outline and lettering in red.  🙂

Happiness!  Minimize disturbance to Aleutian Goose? Of course! Safe, though, the Geese have already migrated.  Aleutian Geese were on the brink of extinction in the not too distant past, and are making a glorious comeback. During migration, we can hear them easily, from a great distance. They’re highly VOCAL and LOUD!

Trail head signs, looking a little rough, but effective.

The trail starts with a leisurely walk through a meadow, and at this time of year, an impressionist’s delight.  Waves of sedges and grasses hold seed heads in muted purples, cinnamon and shades of red, competing for my attention with sheep sorrel and native iris clumps.

iris with yellow invitation

section of grasses with purple seed heads

An easy walk led us into the forest and understory.

Looking ahead with anticipation!


There’s great variety of vegetation in one tiny space!

Once we entered the forest, the sun was a mere glint overhead and the mosquitos, exceptionally happy to have us!

The forest and undergrowth

Buttercup, viola, grasses, blackberry and Sweet-scented bedstraw

 I was tempted to pick some Bedstraw… Dried, it’s fragrance is exquisite!

Joy!  Pacific Bleeding Heart in a natural environment.

It’s a good thing we wore rubber boots.  We trudged through a small muddy area with plenty of  scouring-rush (horsetail) and highly scented skunk cabbage filling our nostrils.

Fairybells

  I saw only a small grouping of Fairybells, and only in this area of the trail. I didn’t study them close enough to know if they’re Hooker’s or Smith’s Fairybells.

White dot – beginning of polypore fungi?

In an earlier post, I pictured a Ganoderma Oregonense and this is exactly how the massive fungi began in my backyard.

horizontal growth, moss covered

Large number of branches growing horizontally.  Perhaps a tree fell and continued to grow or maybe wind pushed hard and long enough, which is quite usual, near and on the lake.

The sounds of birds were incredible-there were so many songs and calls, that it became difficult to distinguish one from another.  We suddenly noticed raptor calls, or what seemed like conversation between them.  I’m sure they were aware of us, and got more vocal as we got closer to their nest.  Not having been on the trail before, I had no idea how close we were to the marsh and water’s edgeListen….

I spent some time later attempting to identify the family of birds you just heard.  I listened to these and other recordings of birds of prey that might be in this area.  We did have a brief sighting over the trees and concluded that we entered the territory of a family of Bald Eagles, who objected to our presence. This was a perfect environment for them – old growth coniferous and deciduous trees next to a large body of water, with plenty of fish.  They chose well.

Now listen, we’re much closer…

Once we were out in the open, and had reached the marsh and Lake Earl, the forest to our backs, the raptors were quiet.  Stand with us for 40 seconds.  The most prevalent sound you hear is of the wind, and a songbird.

 

We moved on, not wanting to disturb the birds further. We felt very fortunate to see and hear so much more than we could have ever dreamed we would.

flowers in bud stage

I hope to return to see what these buds blossom into.

After leaving the the Lagoon area,  we took the alternate loop back, which was on one side of the Lake.  Looking through breaks in the trees, we could see the marsh or Lake to our right. 

Looking through the trees

This “side” of the trail didn’t appear to have been used by any humans at all this season, except for us.

 

picnic table, of sorts

Lots of food along the way back

Salmon Berries

Salmon berries are often confused with Thimble berries.  Thimble berries are delicious, thorn-less,  and grow on upright woody stalks. I have many plants growing wild on my little acre, and when in season, enjoy picking them mid-morning, after chores.  Salmon berry plants are thorny, and some say, not so tasty.  I hope to find out soon.

Oyster Mushrooms

No, we didn’t take them, though it was extremely difficult not to. 

Alternate trail leading us back

The road less traveled!

Streambank Spring Beauty

Tiny flowers, also known as Montia.  Notice again, the yellow invitation!

A surprise in the deciduous tree-

We were almost to the end of the trail and suddenly, wow!

And finally, as we came to the end our eventful hike, a little sentinel kept a watch on us.

sparrow on blackberry brambles

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