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Events abound at South Yuba River State Park

Submitted to The Union
The South Yuba River State Park has a host of hikes slated for the coming weeks.
Submitted photo

Bird walks, guided wildflower walks and a lap around Point Defiance Loop are all on tap in the coming weeks at the South Yuba River State Park, according to a release.

Bird Walk

Spring at the park 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 South Yuba River State Park’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 May 4. Typically, folks can expect to see 20 to 30 species. All of the walks will begin at 8 a.m. except for June which will begin at 7:30 a.m. The walks last about two hours over mostly flat terrain.

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 http://www.southyubariverstatepark.org website for more information and brochures.

Wildflower Update

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

Flowers expected to be seen on the walk: 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.

Bridgeport Visitor Center (open Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) has free copies of the plant list or booklets with photos of the most common flowers available for purchase. 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.

Point Defiance Loop hikes

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 Point Defiance Loop Trail begins across from the North Parking Lot and ascends through Blue Oak Woodland, with wildflowers such as western buttercup, blue dicks and pacific sanicle. Continuing through mixed forest canopy, the hike crosses 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 hikers will hope to see flowers 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 Point Defiance at the confluence of the Middle and South Forks of the Yuba River, where there is a Bureau of Land Management 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 are a number of wildflowers among the trees and flowering shrubs as the trail winds back toward the covered bridge. Along with views of the South Yuba River, it may be possible to see resident bald eagles in or near their nest. The hike typically takes three to four hours, but walkers can forge ahead to return to the parking lot at will.

These hikes are set for April 19 and May 17 both starting at 9:30 a.m.

More info

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 http://www.southyubariverstatepark.org website for more information and brochures.

Source: South Yuba River State Park

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