Winter in Sugarloaf offers many different colors, shapes, textures, and lighting: great for practicing nature photography.
California Naturalist John Lynch leads this easy, slow, 3.5 mile hike from creekside to hillside and back through the meadow using our cameras as tools to engage in the aesthetic appreciation of nature and natural landscapes while also documenting flora and fauna through iNaturalist.
If you haven’t used iNaturalist, or haven’t made an observation for a while, this is your chance – just make sure to load the iNaturalist app on your phone before you arrive and have your battery fully charged. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Bring at least a quart of water, a snack, sun protection, and if preferred, a digital camera/tripod.
We will meet at the main parking lot. Heavy rain cancels, parking fees apply.
Ease of access: the Creekside Nature Trail is short, flat, composite trail. The connection from Creekside to Hillside trail is a single-track, slopped uphill. Hillside Trail is a gravel fire road with two prominent hills of around 250 ft of elevation. Hillside Trail turns into Meadow Trail after the Brushy Peaks junction. Meadow, although not ADA-compliant, is a mostly flat fire road passable by wheelchair and stroller.
Join Sugarloaf docent Dana Glei in a 2-mile hike (250 ft elevation change) focusing on a specific family of birds and learning how to identify them by sight, sound, flight pattern, and/or behavior.
The September hike will focus on raptors. We are almost certain to see the under-appreciated Turkey Vulture and may also see a Red-Tailed Hawk. It is possible, though much less likely that we would see a Red-Shouldered Hawk, Northern Harrier, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Golden Eagle, or White-Tailed Kite. We’ll start off along sunny Meadow Trail (85% sun exposure) and return along the shadier Hillside Trail.
The October hike will focus on the smartest birds at Sugarloaf: the corvids. We are almost certain to see California Scrub Jays. We may also see Steller’s Jays, American Crows, and/or Ravens. We’ll start off hiking toward the Observatory and then take Lower Bald Mt. to the Creekside trail to the Hillside trail. We will stop at the lookout vista on Hillside. Then, we will return along Hillside to the White Barn.
The November hike will highlight woodpeckers. We are almost certain to see Acorn Woodpeckers. We may also see one or more of the following: Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, or Red-breasted sapsucker. We’ll start off hiking toward the Observatory and then take Lower Bald Mt. to the Creekside trail to the Hillside trail. We will stop at the lookout vista on Hillside. Then, we will return along Hillside to the White Barn.
The series will culminate in April 8th, 2023, with a hike on New World Sparrows.
All hikes meet at the White Barn. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, youth (12-17 year olds), Sugarloaf members and volunteers, and free for children under 12. Bring water, sun protection, binoculars, scope, or camera if you have it, and if you’d like, a snack and a bird identification guide. If you use iNaturalist or would like to learn how to use it, make sure it’s already installed on your phone before you arrive for the hike. Parking fees apply.