Colors of the Creek

Oak galls

As the temperatures drop and the days become shorter the creek will start to show some of its impressive autumn colors. The vibrant, green shades of summer have already begun their transition to the yellows and reds of fall. These colors come from many sources, but the ones we’d like to highlight are the leaves and the galls.

Creekside Fire Ecology

Creekside ecology

Fire is a part of life for the plants and animals of California. Most species have developed special adaptations to live through the periodic cycles of burns and in fact some require it.

Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer catenifer)

Gopher snake

Putah Creek is home to one of the region’s largest snakes. The Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer catenifer) can attain lengths up to 8 feet long. Feeding primarily on rodents and other small animals this snake should be considered a good friend.

Manroot (Marah fabaceous)

Manroot

One of our earliest seasonally flowering species is a vine called the “Manroot” (Marah fabaceus). This perennial flowering plant vine is a native cucumber in the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae).

The Endochory Story

Endochory

Did you ever wonder why blackberries grow right along the trail? Endochory is the term used to describe when seeds are ingested (but not digested) by an animal and then pass the seeds through the intestines.

The “Preying” Mantis

Praying mantis

The Praying Mantis is common along Putah Creek. They get their name from their folded front legs that look like they are praying, but that is deceptive because those praying legs are the deadliest part of this voracious predator.

Oak Galls

Oak galls

In the late summer and fall you’re likely to see spherical and other oddly shaped growths clustered on the branches of oak trees. They aren’t fruits, or even seeds; these are galls.