By Robert Slyker

Spring at SYRSP is the time of the year when a large number of birds arrive to nest and raise their young or, in some cases to just rest and then continue their migration.  Some of the more notable arrivals include: Bullock’s Oriole, Yellow-breasted Chat, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler and several varieties of Swallows.  Resident Western Bluebirds, Spotted Towhee, California Quail, and several species of Woodpeckers are also often seen this time of year.  It may also be possible to see our annual pair of nesting Bald Eagles and their young as well as the elusive American Dipper, John Muir’s favorite bird.

Bird walks with park docents are offered at SYRSP’s  Bridgeport location the second Saturday of each month (April 14, May 19 and June 9).  There is also a walk at the same location on Friday May 4.  Typically, we should see 20 to 30 species.  All of the walks will begin at 8 AM except for June which will begin at 7:30 AM.  The walks last about two hours over mostly flat terrain.  Typically, we see 20 to 30 bird species.   Meet at the Bridgeport north parking lot (where the Buttermilk Bend trail starts).  Bring binoculars and good walking shoes.  For more information contact South Yuba River State Park at (530) 432-2546.

Visit website for more information and brochures.

Saturday April 14, Friday May 4, Saturday May 19, Saturday June 9, Saturday July 14,  Saturday September 8, Saturday October 13, Saturday December 8  

All the walks will start at 8:00 am except for the June, July and September walks which will start at 7:30 am.

Wildflower Update at  South Yuba River State Park

By Allyssa Borich

Join the docents on a guided walk on the Buttermilk Bend Trail on Saturdays and Sundays at 11am through Mother’s Day, May 13.

Flowers seen on the walk this week: Poppies, Hill Lotus, Lupin, Larkspur, Pipevine, Lace Pods, Pretty Faces, Bird’s Eye Gilia, Bulb Iris, Silver Puff, Redbud, Miner’s Lettuce, Fiddle-Neck, Buttercups, Popcorn Flower, and Caterpillar Facilia.

Stop by the Bridgeport Visitor Center (open Thursday through Sunday, 11 to 3) to pick up a free copy of the plant list or to buy the booklet with photos of the most common flowers. There is also an expanded book with wildflower photos and more details about the flowers. The wildflower season starts at Bridgeport, but consider walking the trails upstream to follow the bloom at higher elevations.

Every Sat. & Sun.: Through May 13 at 11am…Rain may cancel.

Point Defiance Loop Trail Hikes at South Yuba River State Park

By Karen Loro

Come join us on a guided hike to Point Defiance, a three-mile loop trail that requires moderate hiking skills as it passes through varied habitats.

The Pt. Defiance Loop Trail begins across from the North Parking Lot, is approx. 3 miles, and ascends thru exquisite Blue Oak Woodland, studded with such wildflowers as Western Buttercup, Blue Dicks and Pacific Sanicle. Continuing through mixed forest canopy, we cross over a saddle to a gated, dirt road to descend the shady, north slope above the Middle Fork of the Yuba River. Big Leaf Maples, Madrone trees, Ponderosa Pines and shrubs line the road in this Lower Conifer Forest. Here we will look for some special treasures: flowers that are different from those found on the Buttermilk Bend Trail.  Fairy Lanterns and Fawn Lilies plus ferns and mosses might be seen, as well as Bowl-tubed Iris, Grand Hound’s Tongue and hanging gardens of Indian Pinks.

About two miles into the hike, the road ends at Pt. Defiance at the confluence of the Middle and South Forks of the Yuba River, where there is a BLM campground that is only reached by hiking or boating. Turning east, the trail narrows and goes up-and-down over rocks through a Riparian Forest. There is a myriad of lovely wildflowers among the trees and flowering shrubs as the trail winds back toward the covered bridge. Along with views of the South Yuba River, we may see the resident Bald Eagles in or near their nest. Our guided hike typically takes 3-4 hours, but walkers can forge ahead to return to the parking lot at will.

Thursdays: April 19 & May 17 at 9:30am

Walkers are advised to bring Drinking Water, Sunscreen, and a Hat for all of these activities.

Walks start from the north parking lot at Bridgeport.

Visit website for more information and brochures.