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Signs of Spring in My Neighborhood

January 11, 2011

The first week of January in Orange, CA, brings all  kinds of blues:

Blue skies and wide views, bluebirds checking out local real estate, and desert bluebells beginning to bloom.

Another sign of spring: California thrashers are starting to perch in the laurel sumac . . . which of course reminds me of lines from a poem:

“With long curved bills

they had pierced the dry air

and sang their territory:

here’s where I live

come be my mate

this hillside is perfect

for thrashers like us”

This early thrasher sighting was during a Jan. 6 hike at Peter’s Canyon Wilderness Park on the edge of Orange. (I rode horses on these trails back in the early 1970’s before Shady Canyon Ranch got turned into houses. The fact that all those adventures seem like they happened yesterday makes me realize I’m headed toward decrepit…)

Anyway, Peter’s Canyon was one of the first places to re-open after all the recent rain, so I was eager to find out how the trails fared. Not too badly….this washed-out footbridge seemed to be the worst of it:

Here is recent trail damage of another kind–the extensive bulldozing of the habitat of a rare mariposa lily on the ridge between Irvine Park and Santiago Oaks Regional Park.

Here’s a few shots of these “intermediate mariposa lilies”  in bloom in late May along the rocky ridge–tiny dancers in the afternoon light, my favorite time of day.

The Orange County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society lists them as a rare and endangered species…and Cal Flora’s web site states there are only 96 spots where these lilies are found (and only in California…they only grow here…)

So why are there bulldozers building jumps along the ridge? (And busting up and shoving prickly pear cactus around?)

This post began with blues, and ends in the blues . . .

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