Edible Plant Hike at Blanco Shoals Natural Area

Adam identifies edible plants
The Native Plant Research Institute sponsors a monthly plant identification walk in San Marcos on the second Sunday.  The walks are usually guided by Adam Alcedo who is an extremely knowledgeable botanist.  The emphasis is often on edible plants and their culinary and medicinal uses.   Eight participants walked with Adam around Blanco Shoals Natural Area in San Marcos this past Sunday morning (Feb. 14) and enjoyed a very enlightening morning.  For information about these walks email Adam:  adam@nativeplantresearchinstitute.org 

Most Birds Ever -- Ringtail Ridge

Ringtail Ridge -- Feburary 2016
   Cold and windy describes the morning as the sun rose over Ringtail Ridge natural area off Old Ranch Road 12. We didn't see many species but the numbers of robins and cedar waxwings soared past any previous counts. Both birds are quite distinct and their colors were bright and distinctive.
   We were also able to observe their behaviors as they sat in leafless trees sunning themselves. Occasionally individuals would fly down to the ponds for a quick gulp. The Cedar waxwing would take flight in groups of 10-30 and quickly re-settle on a different tree nearby.
   Once again Stephen Ramirez and Colton Robbins led the group of us, ten this day, around Tex's Trail and the different ponds most with water still present. We also hiked the Berm Trail which is a good beginner trail for mountain bikers. To receive an email the day before a hike, contact Stephen@birdsiview.org for the time an location.  --LJ

Cedar Waxwings and American Robins gather sunshine
17 species
Black Vulture  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
White-winged Dove  75
Golden-fronted Woodpecker  1
American Crow  1
Carolina Chickadee  2
Black-crested Titmouse  2
Carolina Wren  1
Bewick's Wren  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
American Robin  50
Northern Mockingbird  1
Cedar Waxwing  150
Yellow-rumped Warbler  2
Field Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  1

New Metz's bench in Prospect Park

Mission accomplished [Richard Shaver photo]
   Damaged by vandals months ago, the right replacement bench was no easy task. The Thursday morning trail crew moved a 200-pound slab of concrete over rocky terrain known as Limbo Loop in Prospect Park. The distance was only a couple hundred yards but it would take all ten of us to coax, prod, pull and lift the slab into place. 
   We used the ancient methods of pulling the slab over logs that were moved to the front of the line. At times, boards were substituted for tracks over the uneven surface. Later wheels and a cart were employed when the path presented minor obstacles. Trail crew even removed a few rocks and branches that would have hindered. but not stopped forward progress.
   Participating on a very cold morning were (seated, l. to r.) Joel, Katie, Charlie and (standing) Lance, Kenneth, Al, Mark, Ben, Todd and Richard.
   In the end, the new slab was cemented into place and a foot rest was also added to the amenity that gives a great field of view over the nine acre natural area.