Oak Canyon Nature Center

Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim Hills is a beautiful place to go on a sunny day.  The area is abundantly shaded with oak trees and has a short trail following along a steam with many fun bridges to cross over.

The kids got to see the wood ducks that make this their home.  We’ve seen them no matter the season, swimming up and down the little creeks and walking along the fallen leaves.  Some of the kids disturbed them this time and they flew up into the trees for safety.  It was funny to hear the startled gasps when the flock took to the wing in a burst of flapping wings and splashing water followed quickly by their laughter. 

We’ve been in a multi-year drought in California now so water is scarce.  Many of the parks that normally have water have dried up completely unless it’s man-made.  We were lucky enough to have a rain storm this past weekend however, so there was some moisture, if not water, hanging around.  With the thick overhang of oak trees trapping a lot of that moisture in, we were able to find mushrooms!

I know that doesn’t sound very exciting, but I always get a kick at of how varied mushrooms can look.  I don’t really know much about them however so on a quest to discover the name of the one before, I found some great information.

Mushroom Appreciation has a great list to look for when identifying mushrooms.  He suggests 8 things beginners should look for.  Gills (spore producing components), stalk description, spore color, bruising when touched, habitat, time of year, cap description, and smell/taste.  The last one I wouldn’t recommended, especially with children involved. 

Armed with that information however, I discovered what the mushroom below is called Russula californiensis.  I’m sure because it’s only found in California!   The link above says they like pine and oak trees, which fits our find perfectly.

Now, I didn’t do any research for the other types of mushrooms we found on our trip, including one the kids described as a roasted marshmallow, but here are all the pictures I took of them.  Altogether, I think we found 8 different types of mushrooms.



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