pahavit (pahavit) wrote,

Permanente Creek 6: Foothill Expressway to I-280 (with deer bones)

Permanente Creek 6: Foothill Expressway to I-280 (with deer bones)

Another installment of the Permanente Creek exploration saga, in which D. and I venture into Rancho San Antonio County Park, tracing the creek's course upstream. (All pics by D. unless starred*.)

An unusual star-shaped oleander blossom in the residential Los Altos neighborhood on the boundary of the park.

These are just like cherries, but they're not. Probably a wild form of them.

Ripening buckeyes and horse-chestnuts on trees a few yards from the creek.

In the woods along the creek, we made some interesting finds.

We missed the party, apparently.

A bong improvised from a highlighter shell and a water bottle.

Fish populations get monitored here.

I guess. The sign was on a huge bough that overhangs the creek from one side to the other.

Like most of the natural channel creek, this is a very spidery place. 

Star thistles are spiky now that their blooms are done.

A tiny bit of I-280 is visible here. But the traffic is very audible.

It looks like a pile of sticks and leaves, but it's a woodrat nest. We saw several in the woods.

"If you could see inside a woodrat's house, you'd find a tidy little home: a nest bedroom or two lined with grasses and shredded bark; a pantry full of acorns and other seeds, leaves, and twigs for food; and several latrines for waste (a woodrat poops over 100 pellets a day!). The nests might have a few scattered California bay leaves to repel fleas. Food items that can be toxic when fresh (such as toyon leaves) are kept in a separate room to age before the rats move them to the pantry. When the latrines get full, woodrats clean house, shoving the pellets out into the forest, where they fertilize the soil.

". . . If you could look inside, you might find out why these rodents are also called packrats. Like their human counterparts, woodrats store lots of seemingly useless items in their homes: We have found tennis balls, eyeglasses, and Bic lighters and pens in abandoned nests in the Tilden Nature Area. Woodrat houses near mining camps and cabins elsewhere in the West have contained silverware, dentures, boots, and even dynamite caps." 

No, we didn't try to look inside.

But the most amazing find was a deer skeleton.

Some of what look like lumbar vertebrae.

Ribs and thoracic vertebrae.


Scapula, neck vertebrae and ribs.

More vertebrae and ribs.

Mandibles (repositioned to get the pic).


Scapula and legbones.

It was probably eaten by a mountain lion.
The skull was nowhere to be found.

Looking north, downstream, as the creek goes underneath Interstate 280 at the park's boundary.

Looking upstream.

Deer Meadow Trail parallels the creek at the northern edge of the Park.

A bunny trail runs parallel to the Deer Meadow Trail.

Gnarled old oak tree in Deer Meadow.

Looking west into the hills, where the source of Permanente Creek can be found.

But that will have to wait for another day.

(All pics by D. unless starred*.)

Tags: bone, field trip, foothill expressway, permanente creek

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