Monte Bello OSP/Nature at Night

I joined PB and KG on 9/24/10 to scout for an upcoming night hike on 10/01. We started out around 6:00. The temperature was mild, and the sky clear.

There were several juvenile fence lizards that scurried away from us.  The vinegar weed was blooming. I always have to take a sniff.  Before we turned left to head to the sag pond, we crossed paths with a young rattlesnake. It looked like it had eaten recently.

We arrived at the sag pond around 6:20. We made some observations as we ate dinner. There was a Mygalomorph burrow, a deer, a small orb weaver in an oak, and walnut trees on the other side of the road.

We left the bench around 6:50. We noticed dogwood along the trail.

On Canyon Trail, we found PB’s Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata), with prey, and with a male astride! That’s one way to avoid being eaten by your mate.

Soon after that, we spotted a male tarantula (Aphonopelma) walking the road. That’s the first tarantula I’ve seen there in a long, long time, maybe since 2004.

A bat fluttered by, and we flushed a quail that was roosting in a tree.

We turned on the nature trail, and found our first scorpion around 7:30.  There was a good patch of turrets before the curve. More scorpions appeared, and many of them were among the largest I’ve seen here, 4.5-5cm.

Nearing the creek, we heard Great Horned Owls duetting, Western Screech-owl, and a distant Saw-whet Owl. There were a couple of newts in the creek.

We continued to hear owls as we climbed uphill on our return.


On 10/01, we had 10 show of 22 on the reservation list, with one other person from the wait list. There were a lot more people who were on the wait list.
We didn’t see as many scorpions as on the scouting hike, but we heard four owl species including Barn Owl. We also saw more newts at the creek, and small crickets were so plentiful it seemed hard to avoid stepping on them.

Photos from both nights are here.