Archivos de Diario para septiembre 2009

21 de septiembre de 2009

Evening in Briones

Californian Fall

I want to starting keeping a more regular journal, even when I don't see anything in particular, so let this be a new start. Went to Briones last night. Got to the Bear Creek entrance around 6pm and soaked up the gorgeous evening light as I climbed the Briones Crest Trail. This is the hour and the season to appreciate our Mediterranean grasslands, when the hillsides shine fiery gold, contrasting wonderfully with the worn, deep green of the oaks and bays lining crevasses and dry stream beds. All the oaks were laden with acorns, which seems to have been the case last weekend in Las Trampas too. I wonder if this is a mast year, or if I've just never noticed them before.

Very little in the way of life, some acorn woodpeckers heard in the distance, a pulsing chorus of crickets among the trees when the sun set. There were owls aplenty though. I saw at least 4 individual Great-horned Owls, and heard at least 2 more. At one point I cam across an injured juvenile gopher snake, and was snapping pics when I heard a screech from a nearby tree. I saw the owl looking down at me, and wondered if I was photographing its dinner, so I departed. The snake was still alive, though nearly severed. Felt bad about not euthanizing it, but its cuteness got the better of me.

Weirdest part of the evening was seeing a little camper in the middle of nowhere, and a guy within talking on the phone within, looking like a bust in a small piece of amber. I wondered what the hell he was doing out there, but remembered the grazing goats I had seen earlier and figured he was the goatherd. Then I shone my headlamp around the camper and saw about 1000 pairs of glowing goat eyes looking right at me. Eerie.

Beautiful stars, with Jupiter still shining bright to the southeast. Dead raccoon on the road back, as well as a buck and a coyote. No snakes on the road, sadly. Need to find a time and place to night drive for herps...

Publicado el 21 de septiembre de 2009 a las 03:27 PM por kueda kueda | 3 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de septiembre de 2009

More Tarantulas

Went back to Mt. D for a quick spider jaunt with Lisa and Robb and their friends. Got into the park right at sunset, and the ranger had already left the gate, but it was still open, and we paid 'cuz we're good Californians and love our state parks. Found spiders pretty low down on North Gate, and didn't go all the way up b/c we found plenty (and, uh, darkness). Someone apparently saw a barn owl, though I missed it. Some bats flapping around too.

Publicado el 23 de septiembre de 2009 a las 06:21 AM por kueda kueda | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

26 de septiembre de 2009

Night Driving Bear Creek & Alhambra Valley

Went night driving in search of snakes this evening along Bear Creek and Alhambra Valley roads. Found 1 little gopher snake, saw a bunch of deer, heard some GH owls, but that was about it. Kind of a bust, and just driving slowly seeing nothing is kind of dull. Much prefer walking slowly and seeing nothing.

Publicado el 26 de septiembre de 2009 a las 07:39 AM por kueda kueda | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

30 de septiembre de 2009

Sun Spiders, Goatsuckers, Snake Lunges, Oh My!

Went for another night hike in Briones this past Sunday, and it might have been the best one yet. The Briones Valley Rd. trailhead off Alhambra isn't the best for sunsets, but it's got a nice stretch of oak / chaparral before you get out into the grasslands more typical of the park as a whole, where I've seen interesting flowers and the like during wetter months. Not much happening as I headed out, but as darkness really settled I started seeing lots of interesting things. Some YOY gopher snakes, gigantic wolf spiders, even a Common Poorwill! I saw some more dead gopher snakes on the drive back, they're all exactly the same size, about 30-40 cm long. Was talking with a friend about it today and we both agreed we'd never seen gopher snakes that were any smaller. Wonder how big they are when they hatch...

Highlight of the evening were sun spiders in the scrubby bit on the way back (very closely followed by the poorwill, mind you). Haven't seen solifugids in ages, and never outside a trap! Was quite delighted, esp. at their tendency to scoot backward trailing their pedipalps when alarmed. Sarah later taught me that the weird dangling structures on the last pair of legs are called "racket organs," but that no one knows what they do. Mysterious!

Overall a pretty awesome night.

Publicado el 30 de septiembre de 2009 a las 06:12 AM por kueda kueda | 8 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario