Sunday, May 19, 2024

Back at the Lake


The week before last was the first time since my surgery that I was back at the lake. I had missed these outings to "my" lake so much and it felt wonderful to be out again and walk the familiar trails.

I opted against the paved trail and chose to start out on the shaded trail up the hill. Only few people walk here and I had the trail almost completely to myself.

There's always something interesting and fascinating to see, like these roots.

I noticed that the Western Spice bush (Calycanthus occidentalis) had it first reddish-pink flowers and the California Buckeye (Aesculus californica) started to bloom as well.

Ferns peeked out from under old logs and lace lichen softly wafted in the wind.

Fallen trunks gave the forest a fairy tale like mood - Hänsel und Gretel, anyone?

My beloved Rattlesnake grass (Briza maxima) - this is invasive, but has very little ecological impact, therefore I feel okay to like it. The thistle (Carduus pycnocephalus) has become quite invasive in California - but boy, it's so beautiful.

Eventually I left the forest and walked along the sunny trail above the lake. The view from here fascinate me every single time.

Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) was growing through the fence, a sweet little bi-color wildflower. It is non-native, but at this time not considered invasive in California.

On the fence a California Quail (Callipepla californica) was watching over his family who was foraging in the grass and bushes nearby. I was quite surprised how close he let me get to pass by him. Usually they're rather skittish and run to take cover in the nearest bushes.

I'm not quite sure what this is. I suspect it's some native plum (Klamath plum? Prunus subcordata), but I wasn't successful in identifying it without a doubt. Nevertheless, I thought it was very beautiful the way it was arching over the trail on my way down to the lake.

Closer to the lake, both Wild Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and Hemlock (Conium maculatum) had already grown pretty tall. Both can be quite invasive and hemlock, of course, it highly poisonous.

Down at the lake I sat at one of the picnic benches, wrote in my journal and watched the waterfowl. The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor - and if I identified it wrongly, I hope that David will correct me) made a big splash and offered quite the show while doing the cleaning routine. The Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) paraded their youngsters along the beach. Aren't those goslings just too cute?

Before I go I want to share a photo of one of my favorite "corners" at the lake, this crooked tree. In the background you can see that the lake is still much covered by Azolla and duckweed, something that always happens during warmer days in spring. It eventually will die off completely.


Teresa said...

Carola, me alegra saber de ti, que tal sigues de tu rodilla ?? Mañana se cumplen dos semanas de la mía y todavía siento que me falta mucho para la recuperación. Un abrazo, me encanta que tu estés recuperandote bien.

Tom said... neat that you have "your own" lake. Invasive plants a pain and there are plenty of them. I like plants to be like my grandchildren, well behaved!

Elephant's Child said...

I am thrilled that you are well enough to return to your beloved lake - and thankyou for taking us with you.
Love the quails topknot.

Teresa said...

Un maravilloso recorrido, ya caminas bien ? Me alegra mucho. Hoy se cumplen dos semanas de mi operación y mí pierna está bastante inflamada, espero que pronto este recuperada. Besos.

My name is Erika. said...

You must be so excited to get out walking again. And what a lovely walk too. Those quails are beautiful and look exactly like you expect a quail to look. And some animal is going to o enjoy those plums. I hope you have a a happy new week. hugs-Erika

David M. Gascoigne, said...

No correction needed, Carola. Your bird IDs are impeccable. What a great walk you had and what a wise decision to get away from the more travelled paths so that you can really take the time to enjoy nature. Recently, I led a nature walk for a branch of our local library. Forty-two people participated and in two and a half hours we barely travelled 300 metres. That’s how much there is to see for the observant naturalist. People were both thrilled and amazed. Hugs - David

Jeanie said...

I'm so glad you are at the lake. That swan photo is a gem -- that should be one of your cards! The water looks high -- is it this year, or just my imagination?

Mae Travels said...

Beautiful photos. The quail is really special -- as you say they are often rather shy, though we have seen them on a path. It's wonderful that your walking is improving so much.
best, mae at

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

So nice to read and see that you were able to get out for a favorite walk at the lake, Carola. Thanks for showing some of the sights along the way as the simple ones, often overlooked, are the best to see.

Lowcarb team member said...

So pleased you have recovered well enough to now enjoy a walk around your favourite lake. I certainly enjoyed your photographs.

My good wishes.

All the best Jan

Rostrose said...

Liebe Carola, es wundert mich nicht, dass dir diese Spaziergänge zum See abgegangen sind. Ich freue mich mit dir, dass das nun wieder möglich ist! Sowohl die pflanzliche als auch die tierische Natur dort hat etwas an sich, das nicht nur den Augen, sondern auch dem Herzen gut tut.
Was die Pflaume betrifft, musste ich sofort an "unsere" Blutpflaumen denken, sowohl im Zusammenhang mit den Früchten als auch mit der Blattfärbung:
Es kann durchaus sein, dass es ähnliche Pflanzen in Kalifornien natürlicherweise gibt, aber vielleicht ist auch diese ein "Einwanderer"...
Alles Liebe, Traude

Lorrie said...

I'm glad you're able to get out and walk again, Carola. It's a beautiful world. The Hairy Vetch is such a pretty colour. And the crooked tree is a great marker along the path. Have a good weekend.

DUTA said...

All your photos, Carola , are a delight to the eyes!
The California Quail watching over his family, makes for a priceless picture.
Indeed, fallen tree trunks give the forest an obvious fairy tale mood.

Violetta said...

Schön, daß Du wieder Ausflüge machen kannst. Ich hoffe für Dich, Du hast keine weiteren Beschwerden.
Schöne Bilder wieder.
Alles Liebe und eine gute Zeit

Barb said...

I'm glad you're out walking in nature again Carola. I see everything is green and growing at the lake. I love the quail.I have ground vetch which I cannot get rid of. It's a pretty color but spreads all over the place!

Veronica Lee said...

I'm so delighted to hear that you're back at your beloved lake!
Your vivid descriptions and beautiful photos make me feel like I'm right there with you.
I love seeing nature through your eyes, Carola.

Wishing you continued health and many more serene walks in nature.

Jo Rashi said...

Wow..beautiful place and stunning pictures..thanks for sharing dear :-)
Fine Art and You