Monte Bello OSP

On 10/5/12, I joined PB and KG to scout a night hike. Driving up, we saw a buck by the side of the road, then a few more deer in the field. The sky looked like it might cloud over, but it remained clear, with temperatures ~65F down to ~53F. We started at about 5:45.

Some things had changed since I was last up there eleven days earlier. The bathroom spider’s orb was still there, but no sign of the spider. A large rock on the trailbank had slipped or been pushed down on the trail. The juvenile widow and its web were gone.

On the way to the sag pond, there were two Pileated Woodpeckers chasing each other through the sag pond trail and trees. At the bottom of the hill, a Downy Woodpecker called, and squirrels and jays were complaining about something unseen.

Heading uphill, I found an empty large spider egg sac in the dry vegetation. A Northern Flicker flew over.

In our usual hole-hunting area, we found dry birds’ nest fungi, turrets, hard turrets, and various spider holes.

We reached the dinner area between 7:15-7:30. A Northern Pygmy Owl, my nemesis bird, tooted. A bat fluttered, and we heard Great Horned Owl as the night went on. Coyotes yipped. A Common Poorwill gave soft calls. View this video full-screen (last icon on the right in the video control bar).

In the woods,  we heard Western Screech-owl bark and trill, Barn Owl shriek and chittering, and found a forest scorpion and the usual turrets. The first treat was a relatively large moth (2″ wingspan) attracted to our UV flashlights. We saw one or two more (or possibly the same one following us).

Edwards’ Glassy-wing Moth, courtesy Paul Billig

The next treat resulted from KG’s intent searching. We had been unable to find the trapdoor spider burrow that we’d found on Canyon Trail. There was not only a trapdoor, but a spider behind it. And the spider came out almost all the way!

Trapdoor spider (Cyrtaucheniidae)

The creek was mostly dry, but a newt peeked out from beneath its hiding spot. An odd exuvia left by some insect probably emerging from the water stayed frozen in time at the bottom of the steps. Next to it was a glowworm beetle (Ellychnia).

We found other turret patches along the way. When we reached the bridge near which we’d found the bobcat carcass on 8/24, I smelled “decomp” again. There wasn’t anything obvious this time.

More photos are here.


2 Responses to “Monte Bello OSP”

  1. Cindy Says:

    Those glassy-wing moths bang on my windows at night this time of year. They seem heavy! Kinda pretty with that orange and grey-tan stripe combo. The “here” link to more photos did not work for me. I’ll check back as I always enjoy seeing your excellent photos. Why are N pygmy owls your nemesis?

    • moonlittrails Says:

      I fixed the link.
      I haven’t seen those moths before. We saw another last night, another post to come.
      NOPOs have escaped me seeing one, and I know newbie birders who have seen more than one! And mammal-nemesis-wise, it’s Pika.

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