Monte Bello OSP

On Friday 5/28/10, PB, JO, KG and I, plus SS, TS, TS, and CB, scouted the Canyon and Indian Creek Trails for our upcoming night hike.  It was clear and remained so, but wasn’t as warm as I’d hoped. The La Honda weather forecast had said mid-50’s. After dinner and dark, it was cool enough to see my breath in the beam from my flashlight.

We started off around 6:30. We had the preserve to ourselves, at least we didn’t run into anyone.  The flax, popcornflower, owl’s clover, Blue-eyed Grass, mallow, lupine, rose, morning-glory, and lots of what looked like rose clover were in bloom. TS pointed out the fungus that had attached the wild oats.

Black-rumped Bumble Bee

Near the sag pond, we found the “head” of the “dinosaur” marking the trail intersection had disappeared. There had been a report of a singing MacGillivray’s Warbler and Wilson’s Warblers, but we didn’t hear them. We did see and hear Lazuli Bunting, Song Sparrow, Purple Finch, Black-headed Grosbeak, California Quail, Spotted Towhee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Acorn Woodpecker and others along the way.

Here is the Lazuli Bunting that we saw:
LS100543 LABU052810 by dbrusco
Here’s an unknown bird calling at the sag pond:
LS100545 MB052810 by dbrusco
Seep Monkeyflower, bittercress, Royal Larkspur, Blue Dicks, Windmill Pink, phacelia, clarkia, Fremont’s Star Lily, Chinese Houses, paintbrush, Golden Yarrow, Two-eyed Violet, Common Jewelflower, and a large congregation of tall Striped Coralroot were also in bloom.

We met new ranger Elizabeth, driving up Canyon Trail.

We saw a few deer on the hillside, at least nine darkling beetles, a medium-sized wolf spider, and TS caught a centipede. Under a log was a Calisoga Spider sharing space with a Jerusalem Cricket. We heard Coyotes, and Sierran Treefrogs called in the distance. A few newts were in the seasonal pond near the meadow.

The centipede, dorsal view

Since we were looking at lots of things, we didn’t get to the upper dinner spot until 8:50. We heard Great-horned Owl, one short Western Screech-owl call, and, surprisingly in the woods, a Barn Owl several times, but no poorwill. A few bats flew overhead. Venus, Mars, and Saturn were out, and the nearly full moon showed us our shadows as we headed back.

KG found a newt in a hole, which not all of us saw. There were several spiders of various sizes in holes, and we got to see turret spiders perched at the top of their turrets. Despite multiple UV lights, we only found a couple of millipede remains, and no glowworms.

From near the gravel pit we could hear the treefrogs, but they could also hear us and shut up.

After the turret, we made a beeline for the lot. One car with permit was there, as was an astronomer.

More photos here.