Nature at Night

The sentinel

Joining PB and KG again at Monte Bello on 10/19, the sky was clear. From down below it looked overcast. It would turn out somewhat chilly in the woods.

The guardian of the lot, Common Raven, perched at the entrance.

During the introduction, a Great Blue Heron flew over to the east. Golden-crowned Sparrows gave their three-note calls. The 12 participants got to watch a male Northern Harrier float over the grassland.

There was a new spider hole on the way down, and at the sag pond, another spider hole that hadn’t been open this year.  Spotted Towhee and Steller’s Jay called.

It wasn’t quite dark enough when we got to the dinner spot, but at half an hour after sunset, the Common Poorwill showed up.  There was one bat spotted.  Other owls called during the night: Great Horned, Barn, and Western Screech-owl.

Edward’s Glassy-wing, female

Still early when we left our dinner spot, an owl wailed at the nature trail, possibly a Saw-whet. Coyotes yipped. We quickly found scorpions, and with the participants’ help (a few had their own UV flashlights), found ~15 over the course of the night despite the cool temperatures. We stopped at the turret patch. The Edwards’ Glassy-wings were still out, and a female landed on the ground. I picked it up gently, and it perched on my hand for a long time. From time to time, it would buzz its wings to warm its flight muscles.

Other sightings included a millipede, Scaphinotus beetle, and one wolf spider.

At this time of year, a lot of what we see after dark are arachnids. Sometimes they are particularly accommodating. We refound the wafer-lid trapdoor from our scouting hike.

Here is a slowed-down version:

One newt showed up in the water beneath one of the bridges. This time, there was no odor of decomposition on the way up the switchbacks. We got back to the top early, and did a little stargazing. I scouted the spider holes, and we tried to coax one out of a new hole, but it wanted to stay in. Since we had time, we went back down a short distance to a known hole, and that tarantula came out far enough to show most of its body.

We still got back to the lot about 15 minutes early.