Park It by Ned MacKay: Night hikes at Black Diamond Mines

During the heat of summer, early evening is a good time to explore the East Bay Regional Parks.

With that in mind, the naturalists at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch are offering two twilight programs in coming days.

The first is “Twilight on the Trail,” from 7:15 to 10:15 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17.

Naturalist Kevin Dixon will lead a search for late-soaring hawks and early evening owls as the group walks 4½ steep trail miles, returning under a near-full moon.

The hike is for ages nine and older. It’s free, but registration is required. For registration and information, call 888-327-2757. Select option 2 and refer to program number 25820.

Then from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, there’s a naturalist-led walk to the park’s Rose Hill Cemetery. Many of the miners and their families who lived and worked in what is now Black Diamond Mines are buried at Rose Hill. Learn their stories of heroism, tragedy, and endurance.

This hike is for ages five and older. Meet at the parking lot at the end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4, for the 15-minute uphill walk to the cemetery. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750.

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A couple of enjoyable programs are on the near agenda at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley.

Rabbits and their habits are the topic from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18. And amateur artists of all ages are welcome at a self-expression session from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Chalk will be provided to help transform the visitor center patio into an art gallery. This is the eighth annual international “Chalk the Walks” event.

Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.

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There are lots of opportunities for bird-watchers, too.

Naturalist Anthony Fisher will lead a birding walk from 8 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18 at Crockett Hills Regional Park in Crockett. Meet at the Crockett Ranch Staging Area on Crockett Boulevard.

Anthony leads another birding walk from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Aug. 19 at McLaughlin Eastshore State Park. Meet at the Seabreeze Market lot on University Avenue just west of the bridge over I-880 in Berkeley.

And there’s a naturalist-led bird walk from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18 at Hayward Regional Shoreline. It’s a two-miler for ages 12 and older. Wear layers, apply sunscreen and bring water. Meet at the west end of West Winton Avenue in Hayward.

For information on either of Anthony’s walks, call 510-544-2233. For information on the Hayward walk, call 510-544-3220.

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Naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder plans two walks in the Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley on Saturday, Aug. 17.

First is a lake-to-lake watershed walk from 9 a.m. to noon to explore the Wildcat Creek watershed, discover some park district history and see hidden waterfalls.

Then from 2 to 3 p.m. the same day, it’s all about blackberries, with a chance of sampling the fruit.

Both programs start at Tilden’s Environmental Education Center, which is at the north end of Central Park Drive. Call 510-544-2233.

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“Early Morning on the Mudflat” is the theme of a program from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17 with naturalist Morgan Guenther at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. Wear shoes or boots that can get muddy.

Then from 11 a.m. to noon the same day, Morgan will lead an hour of nature-themed songs and stories for all ages.

Crab Cove Visitor Center is at 1252 McKay Ave. off Alameda’s Central Avenue. Call 510-544-3187.

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