Monte Bello OSP

On 5/27/11, Friday, JH, KG and I scouted for our June night hike. I’ve done this hike in the beginning of June for several years now, hoping to find glowworms. It’s hit and miss, but we can always hope. My record for seeing glowworms in the Santa Cruz Mountains:

6/25/03 no moon at LR, one glowworm
6/28/03 crescent moon MB, EH and BN saw glowworms
6/17/05 76% moon at MB, 46-55F, (SCNT intersection)
6/5/09 96% moon at MB, 56-65F, glowworms galore
6/4/10 no moon at MB, 66-75F, no glowworms

It has been cold and often overcast or foggy on our recent night hikes, and Friday was no exception. It seemed, to me, slightly warmer than the other hikes, but still left me wishing I had grabbed my gloves.

We left the trailhead at 6:30. A new flower (but non-native) found along the beginning of the trail was crimson clover. At the sag pond, there was an insect that looked at first glance like a snakefly, but was actually a San Francisco Lacewing.

We got to where we decided to have dinner (“gravel pit”) at 8:00. Sunset was around 8:19. Clarkias and jewelflower were in bloom there. We were there for half an hour, then made the short trek to the Indian Creek intersection. It was just light enough there to be able to see the blue of some larkspur.

It wasn’t dark enough so we went up the hill. We didn’t go quite as far as where we had dinner the first time we went up there. A couple of bats flew around, and an unidentified owl (about Barn Owl size but not light, no visible “ears”) flew around in large circles 2-3 times. The last time, it flew up the trail toward us, then turned sharply away, over the canyon. We saw no glowworms, and didn’t hear poorwill. We did hear some Barn Owl screeches.

From about .3 miles past that intersection, we turned back at 9:00. If we go that far, we need to start back earlier, at least 15 minutes.

On the way down, we heard twittering coming from oaks in a section that didn’t have a steep dropoff. This was a Barn Owl vocalization.

We could hear treefrogs calling from the seasonal pond. We arrived there at 9:50. There was some eyeshine that seemed bigger than a treefrog’s would be. The frogs were quiet then, but when one started up suddenly, it made JH and I jump.

We found one scorpion, and a shoulderband snail, and heard Western Screech-owl.

At the sag pond, we checked the hole we’d found earlier, and were able to see spider legs.

On the last leg of the trail, we were surprised to find a small solifugid.

Back at the lot, we heard coyotes yip.

We covered 3.5 miles.

These are the birds that we heard:

Purple Finch
Wild Turkey
Lazuli Bunting
Song Sparrow
Orange-crowned Warbler
Lesser Goldfinch
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Spotted Towhee
Black-headed Grosbeak
Owl (unconfirmed ID, but dark and size of Barn) flyover
Barn Owl (and “kleek” calls)
Western Screech-owl
Acorn Woodpecker
American Robin
California Quail

And the wildflowers:

Crimson Clover
Mariposa Lily
Owl’s clover
Purple Sanicle
Iris (white)
Jewelflower (gravel pit dinner spot)
Flax, narrow-leaved
Monkeyflower, Seep-spring (guttatus)
Blue-eyed Grass
Larkspur (blue)
Phacelia (gravel pit)
Zygadene lily

See photos here.


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