Lab 8 Excursion

Date: 3/24/2020

Location: Van Nuys Sherman Oaks

Topography:  Trail that circles around the baseball section of the park, small trails that go off the path but return to the main trail, very flat and easy

General Habitat: park – abundant in grass, dirt track and trails, trees surround park

Signs of Spring!!!

  1. Spotting of butterflies
    1. organisms were seen flying around me and my family as we took a stroll, inconclusive as to what specific butterfly very colorful, most likely a painted lady butterfly, as they were recently spotted crossing through my hometown

*Article about butterflies attached below


  1. Bumblebees
    1. Bees spotted pollinating in the flowers, buzzing in my ear, their sounds indicate their return from hibernation to signify the start of spring


  1. Spotting of a Pine Warbler
    1. Seen chirping and singing in the trees, small songbird, believed to be an adult male, yellow in color, rare as they typically reside in the southeast region of North America


Leaf Descriptions:


  1. Trifolium repens, the white clover: found in surrounding patches of grass around the park, perennial plant, leaves are smooth, form somewhat of a shamrock shape or egg shape, leaflets


  1. Bromus catharticus, rescue brome: wide leaf blades, with long, flat and pointed spikelets, commonly known as rescue grass as they are helpful in harsh drought

       3. Quercus lobate, valley oak: endemic California, deeply lobed leaves,                  grows in interior valleys, long, roundish, covered in fuzz, leaves are                    aromatic if broken

Narrative: It was a very simple and easy walk, no hills, but a flat and circular trail I repeated the cycle 3 times, mostly observing and enjoying the time outside. It was sunny, but not unbearably hot. Perfect walking weather !


Independent Field Excursion

Date of trip: March 22, 2020

Location: Wilacre Park, Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority

3431 Fryman Road, Studio City, CA

34.13325, -118.39175 (34° 07′ 59.7″N 118° 23′ 30.3″W)

The trail begins as a steep uphill climb from the parking lot, then evens out into a series of straighter and meandering hills, about ½ way through the hike, we are taken down the trail into a downhill series of meandering paths. The trail comes full circle, as the end of the hike is the beginning of the trail. The hike is relatively easy and wide, very nice for a casual hike and walk. In addition the habitat is abundant is California walnut woodland and coastal sage shrub.



On my hike, I found many different species of organisms some of which include gophers, sunflowers, hedgenettles, California buckwheat and lizards.


  1. Pocket Gopher: Thomomys bottae

  1. Canyon Sunflower: Venegasia carpesioides

  1. California Hedge Nettle: Stachys bullata

  1. California Buckwheat: Eriogonum fasciculatum

  1. Western Fence Lizard: Sceloporus Occidentalis


Species Description: Western Fence Lizard – Sceloporus Occidentalis

  • Seen running along the hillside towards the first hill along the trail, quick, small to medium in size, dark brown in color, slight blue patches on body, moving across grass and through shrubs

The western fence lizard is found most commonly in North America, most specifically Mexico and the United States, in place such as Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and California. They typically live in Mediterranean forests, woodlands, shrubs, and temperate coniferous and mixed forest biomes. This organism thrives in temperate climate. Western fence lizards have a carnivorous diet, including beetles, grasshoppers, various insects and spiders. These organism are diurnal reptiles, commonly observed sedentary or running. They protect themselves from predators with their fast reflexes and have the ability to change scale color when needed for camouflage or thermoregulation. They typically mate in the Spring, females laying from 3-17 eggs usually, while the males guard the homes. These lizards have a currently stable population.



I hiked the Betty E. Dearing Trail that is a part of the Willacre Park on March 22, 2020. I was a very nice day, slightly sunny but not too hot. There were a lot of people also hiking the trails to my surprise considering what is currently going on. Nevertheless, we all need a little outdoors time each day, not to say each person did not respect the 6 feet apart. We all steered clear of one another and proceed along the hike. I simply followed the main trail noticing some flowers, gopher holes, lots of shrubs and finally one lizard. This is when I used iNaturalist to identify that the organism was in fact a Western fence lizard. I found by the end of my hike, I had taken slightly longer than usual to finish. I frequently walk along this trail as it is close to my home and a good form of exercise, yet I realized I payed much more attention to the nature around me than I typically do. It was refreshing to look more in depth and observe the small things occurring around me that I often walk or cruise by unnoticed.


Fun Pictures:



Animalia. “Western Fence Lizard.” Western Fence Lizard – Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures on, 2018,

“Fryman Canyon Natural Area Check List.” INaturalist, 2020,

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