Sanborn CP, John Nicholas Trail

After reading a post on the local birding list and not having been to this park, JO and I took a hike on this trail on 1/20/14. We started on the trail at 10:40. The Lexington Hills weather station says the temperature range was 66-70F–the sky was clear and sunny. Surprisingly, some water lined the edge of the trail despite the long lack of rain. We looked under some pieces of wood, and found one  with a small puddle underneath, enough for small water beetles and isopods. A tiny 3.5mm slender salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus) hid under another piece. Yellowjackets buzzed around the water. Syrphid flies buzzed us, as did other small flies. One slim banana slug hugged a taller trail bank. We came to a rock face that had green lichen atop of the rock’s almost-concentric ring pattern. We spent some time there, wondering what caused the pattern to occur.

Rock face

Rock face

At one close area of the creek, we looked under some of the rocks. One had two elongated jelly egg cases with rice-shaped eggs. Along the way, I detected these birds, mostly by sound except for those at the reservoir. Pygmy Nuthatch, Varied Thrush, Hutton’s Vireo, Steller’s Jay, Northern Flicker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, American Robin, Bewick’s Wren, American Coot, Common Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, Great Egret, Dark-eyed Junco, Wrentit, Black Phoebe, Band-tailed Pigeon, Hermit Thrush.

We passed a few tiger beetle larvae holes, and one patch of at least six spider turrets with a few others sprinkled farther along. Some may have been made by a different spider, as there wasn’t much of a turret, just a slight raised collar, and the opening folded over so that it wasn’t circular. At another close creek area that had a small shallow leaf-lined pool, an emaciated newt swam towards my foot at the edge, then under a small branch in the water. We’ve never seen such a skinny newt; the bones showed through clearly. It was a sad sight. Compare the live salamander to this digital image: Taricha torosa skeleton

Malnourished newt

Emaciated newt

Seeing there was a picnic table at the reservoir, we sat for a while and watched two egrets. One of them vocalized, and seemingly couldn’t decide which side of the water to stand at. It eventually decided to stand in a tree. After a while, we walked partway down the reservoir trail, then turned around and went down close to the water. Only one small fish swam in the green water; we saw nothing else living besides plants. A few flies and bees landed along the edge. We walked steadily back and got to the car at 2:40.

More photos are here.