Pt. Isabel is in full regalia these days. Not just poppies (Eschscholzia californica) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium) but the buckeyes (Aesculus californica) we planted several years ago are now flowering as are the morning glories (Calystegia occidentalis), the farewell-to-spring (Clarkia rubicunda), and the bee plant (Scrophularia californica). The toyons (Heteromeles arbutifolia), a favorite food source for the cedar waxwings and robins, are just beginning to shed their flowers. Soon the fleshy red berries that the birds look forward to devouring will ripen. We learned that the guts in the robins expand when the berries are ripe to allow them to consume one berry after another. Lacy phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia) is ending its blooming cycle and forming many seeds.
In steward Nathan’s site the bunch grasses that we discovered in winter (under the oat grass) are now blooming and were identified by Gudrun Kleist and Janet Gawthrop as California brome (Bromus carinatus) blue wild rye (Elymus glaucus), and red fescue (Festuca rubra). We didn’t plant these grasses. Were they perhaps recently seeded by birds or were their seeds in the soils that were deposited at the site? We’ll never know, but we are glad to have discovered them and will ensure they have room to re-seed and spread.
Steward Margot’s Adopt-a-Spot at Central Avenue/Rydin Road is being transformed from a weed and trash ridden corner to a beautiful native plant site. A new volunteer, Nancy, saw the work underway when she was walking by and joined us on May 16 to help finish the restoration. The volunteers—including some hard working students from Berkeley High— at our two work parties in May removed radish, thistle, and oat grass. They also pulled out huge amounts of Russian thistle (Salsola soda) from an area just outside of our project. Kudos to EBRPD Ranger Bruce Adams, who brought us all the tools and also transported the bags of weeds to the main weed pile up the trail.
Steward Arthur T. is conducting water quality testing of the marsh to check on its health and reports that he ran into a family of skunks that he, gratefully, managed to get past without any harm to either.
Jane and Tom Kelly