Four people showed up for this Saturday’s Almaden Quicksilver County Park field trip, two of them were Camera Club members. The cloud cover continued well into the afternoon and we encountered few animals so it was a perfect day for macro photography. We hiked the horse trail that starts at the base of the big rock at the southeast parking lot. The trail was steep, steep, steep and this group of middle-aged trekkers’ pace was soon reduced to that of a barbiturated snail. Both the thin and the more “ample” hikers stopped at every excuse for a photo opportunity to rest discretely.
Because of this slowed pace our eyes were opened to a great diversity of wonderful wildflowers that peeked out of the dry grass and out from the rocky outcroppings. Although we didn’t hike very far most shot the equivalent of two or more rolls of film.
We went back to the park headquarters, Casa Grande, and talked with Terry Williams the park ranger. Although she didn’t have time for a formal presentation she chatted with us and told us a bit about the wildlife at Almaden Quicksilver. Terry is an expert on California wildlife and will gladly answer your questions (if her time allows). If you show up at the park headquarters be sure to sign the guest book at the museum because it promotes funding for the park.
For birders this park is one of the hotspots of the Bay Area. The heavy foliage of the little creek that runs behind the historic village of New Almaden attracts a great diversity of species. Among those are wood ducks, bluebirds, kingfishers, hummingbirds, several varieties of hawks and owls and countless songbirds. The park currently has two mountain lions in residence by the lake and numerous bobcats and other predatory mammals. If you’ve got a free morning or afternoon you might take the relatively short drive down Almaden Expressway and find a comfortable place to sit near the creek and just watch the creatures come and go.
© 2004 S.R. Hinrichs