Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Oak Canyon

I took Baby C. (now Toddler C.) to the Oak Canyon Nature Center last week when I was babysitting him. It was one of those suddenly hot days that we had here in LA, but it was nice and cool under the shade of the oak trees. We had a grand time. The Center has a room full of exhibits—bugs, snakes, turtles, etc.—that fascinated him and there were several groups of school children being guided through which fascinated him also. Because of the school children's visit they had extra stuffed animals out on display and Toddler C. got to "pet" the bobcat, raccoon, and owl, and touch a real snakeskin that its owner had shed.

We crossed one of the many bridges that span the creek that runs down the canyon and were lucky to see a wild Mallard family with about 7 baby chicks in the water. On previous visits to the center, we have seen Wood Ducks who are regular winter visitors to the canyon, but they were not there this time. They may have already left for the summer. Toddler C. has very sharp eyes and can spot a "birr" long before I can. He can usually see the Wood Ducks hiding near the shady banks when I can't. We saw lots of lizards, too, which I tried to explain were not birds.

We climbed a path that goes up the hillside by steps, some of which were very steep, and so he needed my help getting up. He thought that this was a lot of fun but by the time we got to the top, he was tired and I had to carry him down the other end of the trail. Along the trail we found some lovely Caterpillar Phacelia, but I didn't have my camera with me and I was not about to go all the way back down with Toddler C. to get it. (He wasn't the only one who was tired.) Luckily, we later came across more of it and now that he was comfortably sitting in his stroller, Toddler C. patiently let me take all the pictures I wanted.

Bush Monkey Flower. This covered the hillside and was very pretty.

Black Sage. This was everywhere the sun shone.

This last one is Milk Thistle which is not a native. It comes from the Mediterranean region and is considered something of a pest in the West. While it is an ancient medicinal herb, it is toxic to livestock.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a nice time with Toddler C.!