A Night Hike for Newbies

Last night (6/5/09) KG, PB and I took a group of 15 people up Indian Creek Trail at Monte Bello OSP. We started out around 6:30, and returned at 10:30. The participants were prepared with red cellophane, and were actually “newbies”. One was a previous docent from when I was starting out or even before that.

We saw quite a few deer, ten or more, one of which stood up on its hind legs to reach the leaves. It did this several times. Both yellow and white/pink Mariposa Lilies were in bloom. Elegant Clarkia, a tall Owl’s Clover, Golden Yarrow, and a Phacelia, Paintbrush, Soap Plant, and Venus Thistle! were also in bloom. Kat got a wolf spider (with a few big babies on her back) into a bug box. We stopped to let everyone get a look.

We got to the dinner spot, a new one on Indian Creek Trail overlooking foggy Skyline Ridge, around 8:10. We had wanted to delay long enough for it to be dusk by the time we left. The moon had risen, so it was up part way. The sky above the setting sun (behind clouds/fog) had a pink spot.

After dinner we heard two Common Poorwills. They were not as close as on our scouting hike. There were also some Pacific Tree Frogs calling in the distance.

One of the participants had seen a rodent scurry into a hole in the trail bank before dinner, so I wanted to see whether my UV flashlight would show any urine. It did not, but then we noticed a glowing green spot through the wild oats on the trail bank. It was a glowworm! I got it into a bug box.

Pink Glowworm reflecting off the bug box 


Pink Glowworm reflecting off the bug box

There were a couple others nearby, but not as bright. We also discovered some near the Indian Creek intersection. 10+ glowworms!! 6/25/03 LR, 6/17/05 MB is when/where we have seen one before, but never multiples.

Since we listened to the Poorwills and found glowworms, we didn’t have much time to do much else. We checked out three holes that we’d marked on the way in. Two were turret spider burrows, and both held spiders which were part way down. The third was a different kind of hole that we’d found on our scouting hike. Unfortunately the occupant wasn’t showing itself or had left, so I couldn’t confirm whether it had held a spider or beetle larva or something else. The occupant had appeared to have a dirt-colored “shield” on its back which took up the rest of the space of the opening as it sat there, but it didn’t stay there long enough to tell what it was.

There were no millipedes this time, but there were a few halved round berries or maybe even soft galls? in the middle of the trail that were light-colored inside, which showed up in UV.

We heard a Western Screech Owl as we emerged from the woods.

In the sag pond area, we did stop to do Wint-o-green Lifesavers.

The fog had crept in as we had made our way back. It was not dense, so it just provided a slight warming translucency to the air.


The foggy moon

As we stood in the parking lot, a Barn Owl hissed as it flew across the valley.

This was definitely not a typical Newbie hike, but was a very magical night!

More photos here.


One Response to “A Night Hike for Newbies”

  1. Roger Myers Says:

    Hi Debbie,

    Always great to read your hike reports. Always makes me wish I could be tagging along.


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