Evening at Thornewood

We (PB, JO and I) originally had 14 people on the list for 11/6, but netted 13 reservations. Only one person didn’t show up. We’re not sure if the good attendance was a result of my emailing the list to give more detailed directions and ask group participants to get there a few minutes early and carpool if possible, taking an idea from JO. The last group to reserve included an 11-year old. We also had a few new people. MB also joined us.

My thermometer said the temperature was around 60F, and it remained that way with no precipitation, but partly cloudy. It seemed a little cooler than that (the weather.com TruPoint actual temps were 58-59F).
The lot had no other cars, perhaps because of the weather.

We got out of the lot at 5:27. Since sunset was at 6:06, I didn’t want to stop much. We did stop to note the locations of two spider turrets, and to show poison oak, buckeye, and the manzanita. There were also four more nondescript mushrooms at a seep by a fence.

I don’t think I’ve been here when there has been water under the wooden bridge. It was dry.

We reached the Bridle Trail intersection at 5:58. With brief stops to point out differences between redwood and fir needles and cones, we arrived at our dinner spot at 6:10.  We kept our voices low, but only heard some distant Saw-whet wails, no toots like on our scouting hike. We left there at 6:45.

In order to break up the uphill, we went to the farthest stop, the tree where we saw the first fluorescent lichen. Along the way, there was one fluorescent millipede, with a small black beetle apparently picking at it. It was curled up in the duff, and when I picked it up, I saw that it had an injury.

We spent some time at the place where JO had found the Hyptiotes (Triangle Spider). The web was collapsed, and the spider appeared to be working with prey.  After observing what was caught in the silk, I wasn’t convinced that it was prey since it was moving in the slight breeze, as though there was not much substance to it. The spider retreated to under the redwood needles. JO and I attempted to show how the spider uses the web to catch its prey.

The next stop was back at our dinner spot in an open grove.

Helminthoglypta nickliniana

On the way back up to the intersection, a large snail crept across the trail. It had a dark stripe, and I knew from shells I’ve found elsewhere that it was not the European garden snail. I think It’s a Shoulderband (thanks to Barry Roth for the ID).

At 8:12 we rendezvoused at the intersection and headed off to the lake. The Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa slime mold was still on the log, and we looked at that with a magnifying glass. JO found a molting spider up in a redwood branch.

After observing that for a while, we moved on to the Slender False Brome sign and talked about that for a bit.

At the lake, PB related some history of the property.

Since we had time, we did a short silent walk from past the short trail to the dry fountain to the Bridle Trail intersection. JO spotted an unidentified juvenile salamander. We left there around 9:00.

Hoping to catch the ISS pass in an open area, we had time to kill. We missed the holes in the ground that we had noted on the way in, wanting to see if they were occupied.

We stopped at the turret in the dirt bank and saw the spider perched at the top.

We still had about half an hour, so we did some stargazing. Cassiopeia, the Pleiades, Cygnus/Summer Triangle, and Jupiter were visible. We proceeded on to a partly open spot, but it wasn’t as good as that one. Unfortunately, we didn’t see the ISS although the high point of the trajectory was over the trees.

There was too much commotion at the larger turret near the manzanita, and the spider retreated down.

We arrived back a little before 10:00.

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