Skyline Ridge OSP

It was pleasant with a breeze when DP and I arrived at the lot around 11:00. It got quite warm by the end, around 2:00. There was only one other car in the lot in the beginning, but quite a few when we returned.

We started up the usual trail that leads to the big intersection at the top of the hill. Ash-throated Flycatcher, Orange-crowned Warbler, a Wilson’s Warbler, Oak Titmouse, and (I think) a Black-throated Gray Warbler sang. Hutton’s Vireo also called.

Poppies, Lupine, Redmaids, Popcornflower, Owl’s Clover, Plectritis,  Royal Larkspur, light blue Baby Blue Eyes, Saxifrage, Checkerbloom, Douglas Iris and a light-colored Iris, Blue-eyed Grass, Milkmaids, Hound’s Tongue, Linanthus, Buttercups, Woodland Star, and a lone blooming Pacific Starflower graced the hills.

I wanted to compare what I’ve been seeing at my house in the way of insects and spiders, bees in particular. Not too much action at first, but we heard buzzing which caught our attention. It was a grayish bumble bee carrying orange pollen. It didn’t stick around for long, so I didn’t get a great look. Enough to tell it wasn’t Yellow-faced Bumble Bee.

s1676bee

Female mining bee (Andrena)

There were quite a few bee flies around, two or three different species, seen in all areas.
Just before the woods, there was a muddy area on the side of the trail. Some large dark bees (Osmia probably gathering mud) were entering holes in the bank.

In the woods, there were some small, red cuckoo bees (Nomada) checking out the trail bank.

Cuckoo Bee (Nomada)

Cuckoo Bee (Nomada)

Also there were some small yellow and black wasps (I think, since I didn’t see them close enough) with legs dangling. One small bee appeared to be carrying big bags of yellow pollen on its sides. To quote Dr. Ascher: “Andrena females have propodeal “corbiculae” consisting of long curved hairs on the lateral surface, enclosing a “basket” with sparser hairs (or none).
Thus equipped they can transport a lot of pollen.”
I was having a bad camera day, so this is a little blurry, but it shows the big pollen load.

A couple of small orb weaver spiders responded to my 440Hz tuning fork. One was hiding at the side, not in the middle of the web, but ran out at the prospect of prey.

In two separate places, two different darkling-type beetles tried to enter holes in the bank. One ended up with just his butt sticking out.

Beetle negotiating a hole

Beetle negotiating a hole

In an open area in the woods, there was an Adela moth feeding at Plectritis. And there were other small moths? fluttering around, white with dark iridescence on the forewings. They didn’t stop long enough for me to take a photo. In one spot, two pairs of dark insects appearing to be mating, were just flying around in circles over the trail. Various butterflies (what you might expect) fluttered around. The surprise was a green flash in the chaparral, which turned out to be Bramble Hairstreak (Callophrys dumentorum perplexa). From the way it flew, I thought it was a moth–I suppose that’s why the “perplexa”.

All in all, a productive day.

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