Picchetti Ranch OSP

KG, KP and I scouted for our 9/4 night hike on Saturday, 8/29. We started out around 6:30. The weather was warm, but mild, around 75.

We headed onto the short trail from Zinfandel that goes around the pond. The pond was dry, with cocklebur and Alkali Heliotrope growing in the area. Lots of insects buzzed around us, including many eye flies. The live oaks on the far side had various pink galls on their leaves.

Continuing down the Zinfandel Trail, we heard a distant Great-horned Owl, and passed Holly-leaf Cherry with fruit. We stopped at the bridge to have dinner. It was around 7:30. The eye flies finally settled down. We saw a bat or two as we sat.

Around 8:00, we went on, and shortly heard some Western Screech Owl barking coming from the uphill side. Soon, a response came from the direction in which we’d come.

After listening for a while, we headed up toward the border of Stevens Creek County Park. It was dusk, with little light on the trail.

A Common Poorwill fluttered up silently from the trail ahead of us. It flew past us, and when we turned around to try and see where it went, it returned to the trail ahead of us. We crept up on it, but it was more shy than the one that we’d seen at Monte Bello. We were able to watch it fly up a few feet to catch an insect, and fly back to the trail. Its eyes were bright in the light of our red flashlights, and we could see it blink occasionally.

Returning around 8:30, with UV light we came across a small scorpion on the trailbank. Then there was another. And another. Altogether, we saw 14!! Most of them were in the grassy open area; two were in the woods. There were also a few pieces of what looked like millipede exoskeleton, and in what turned out to be an occupied spider’s sheet web in the dirt of the trailbank were some pieces of scorpion exoskeleton, including a pincer.

After we passed through the gate from the woods, coyotes serenaded us from both sides.

We arrived back at the car around 9:30.

See photos here.

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