lunes, 29 de enero de 2024

August in the Pecos- Journal Entry Four

8/6/23
Started off the day, photography-wise, with a large, black Carabid beetle (species Carabus taedatus) under a log. While I was photographing it, a brown jumping spider, genus Evarcha, came onto the scene. I photographed it as well.
I next wandered down to the back of the cabin and examined the rocks there for fossils. This resulted in finding the imprints of two Brachiopod valves.
Heading down to the valley on the south side, I was surprised to encounter a large blue dragonfly skimming over the grass- the first one I had ever seen around the cabin. Also came across a very patient Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme).
Our excursion today was to a nearby prominence. We left the cabin around 2:30 PM. On some Rudbeckia growing by the path, I saw a Small Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis oetus); by the stream, an all-yellow blister beetle in the genus Zonitis; on a Black-eyed Susan (I think) farther up, an immature, green grasshopper (genus Melanoplus).
On the final ascent, Rachel pointed out a small, black-and-white striped beetle with an orange-red carapace. More of them soon became apparent. I had seen this species, Calligrapha continua, on a trip several years earlier.
On the summit, blue-green hills and gray-tipped peaks ringed us all around. Under the crystalline blue sky, the wind blew and shook the tall grass, peppered here and there with Owl’s-Clover, Paintbrush, Verbena, and more.
The thing I most hoped to see on our hike was one of the Greater Short-horned Lizards (Phrynosoma hernandesi) that frequented the area. However, by the time we got to the top, we had seen none. I ran through the possibilities: it was too late in the day (about 4:30 PM); the season had been too dry or otherwise inclement… What could it be?
In the meantime Rachel called me over to look at something. It proved to be a female Mormon Cricket (Anabrus simplex), the first time I had seen one on this summit and the first I had seen in the Pecos since 2012. The tan-colored “cricket” was alone, as was the last one- curious, given the species’ propensity to swarm.
In the vicinity, I noticed a small spiderweb with an orbweaver of the genus Metepeira perched in it. A small white clump of webbing was woven into the center of the web. This was the only one so far recorded on iNaturalist in the Santa Fe Mountains.
We headed down. We were traversing a stony, narrow path along a grassy slope when Rachel called out that she had found a Horned Lizard! I had given up hope, but there it was. The gray-tan, squat and spiky lizard ran in its characteristic waddling fashion when approached. After a little while, however, it consented to sit still for photos. I brought my lens in close to capture the miniature dinosaur-like creature, with its bulldog face and beady dark eyes. I had never seen one this close to the cabin before.
That concluded our hike, but I neglected to mention that we saw about a dozen Turkey Vultures wheeling through the sky above a meadow. Not sure what they were after; we saw no indication of anything dead.
The weather of the day was largely similar to previous days, with the exception of a wind strong enough to dislodge my hat.

Publicado el lunes, 29 de enero de 2024 a las 01:13 AM por ectothermist ectothermist | 15 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

jueves, 25 de enero de 2024

August in the Pecos- Journal Entry Three

8/5/23
Today visited Holy Ghost Creek. Temperature (in the sun) was about 80-84° F. White clouds scudded here and there across an otherwise clear sky. We were thrown into shade and sun alternately.
We took what I think was trail 283 at the far west end of the road. Just prior, Rachel found a sleekly patterned, black-and-white Jumping Spider, probably of the genus Pelegrina.
Further finds by Rachel included a large, pink-striped Crab Spider female guarding her leaf-wrapped egg sac, a Jewel Bug (family Scutellaridae) of the genus Homaemus, and a snail shell. I had never seen Jewel Bugs in the Pecos before this trip, but they did not seem uncommon; we have seen three in all, so far.
The snail shell was something special. It had belonged to a Mountainsnail, genus Oreohelix. I had only ever seen one previously. Like desert regions, the high-altitude forests of the Sangre de Cristos have little gastropod diversity, so the few species that do occur there are noteworthy.
Walking on a few yards across the stream from the first shell’s location, I was astounded to see dozens more empty ones strewn across the forest floor. Mass deposits of snail shells seem to be common, representing many species in different places. Why is this? How does this happen? Are many snails, perhaps, caught by fatal heat and dryness unawares?
Other species seen included:
-A Shamrock Orbweaver (Araneus trifolium). Rachel persuaded the relatively small, red-backed female from her leafy retreat.
-A variety of native bees. One was a Longhorn Bee of the genus Svastra, large, honey-brown, fuzzy, and green-eyed; other bees were metallic green; one had its abdomen checkerboarded in black and white.
-A Comma (genus Polygonia). I had previously seen several of these, but none would stay still long enough to photograph. This individual, however, was very patient and stayed perched for several minutes, on some sort of thistle in an open meadow.
-A red-hued Pinesap plant (Monotropa hypopitys).
-A great variety of other insects, including a Taxiles Skipper (Lon taxiles), Variable Roundtail hoverfly (Meligramma triangulifera), Coral Hairstreak (Satyrium titus), a Thick-headed Fly, species Physocephala burgessi, Cutworm Wasps (genus Podalonia), a Garita Skipperling (Oarisma garita), and more unknown. One insect in particular that I was not able to photograph was a white butterfly, its wing veins heavily outlined in black. It was likely a Pine White (Neophasia menapia).
Other observations: This creek and canyon were exceptionally beautiful in scenery and diverse in species. The complete lack of invasive Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), as in most areas of the Pecos, was refreshing.
This area experienced more wind while we were there than we had yet encountered on our trip.
The differences in flora and fauna of various, otherwise similar locales (canyons, streams, mountains, and hilltops) in the same broad area is intriguing- as are the similarities in species diversity.

Publicado el jueves, 25 de enero de 2024 a las 08:54 PM por ectothermist ectothermist | 17 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

domingo, 21 de enero de 2024

August in the Pecos- Journal Entries One and Two

8/3/23
On 8/1/23 arrived at my family’s cabin with Rachel and Julia, to stay for a week. Thus far, there has been an incredible quantity and variety of life, mainly insects, to observe and photograph. Species (known and unknown) include: hover flies, Adejeania vexatrix, Police Car Moths, a crab spider, Melanoplus, Blues, Commas, a Wandering Garter Snake, possible Aculepeira, slug, bat (inside the cabin), Ladies, aphids, Erigeron, Paintbrush, lichens, mosses, Antlions, Fireweed, Mule Deer, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, hummingbirds, Flickers, and much more.
Daytime temperatures peak at about 80°F, nighttime hovers around the high 50s. Mainly sunny, with some cloud cover. Last night a distant storm was visible, as lightning flashed and thunder rolled.
We have mainly stuck around the cabin, venturing only to the valleys to the north and south. Today, however, we drove to Winsor Trailhead and walked the trail up to the point where it heads uphill from the stream.
Some notes on natural history:
-Contrasted to a previous cabin trip in June 2022, the coneflower is very visible. Now is clearly its flowering season.
-I saw many harvestmen on thistles during the daytime. I was intrigued, since in my experience, they are normally more ground-dwelling and nocturnal.
-There seems to be more fungi around the cabin this year.
-At this high elevation (more than 8,000 feet), the selection of animals that occur is fascinating. Two species of snakes, one species of lizard that I know of. Very few arachnids, but many insects. In a word- why?

8/4/23
Seems a bit cooler today, more cloud cover. A bit after noon I went out to the stone wall, covered in birdseed being eaten by a number of chipmunks and Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels. Steller’s Jays swooped to and fro.
I sat as still as I could on the wall; the chipmunks dared to come close to me and the Ground Squirrels, even closer.
Then I sat by a stump that was also covered in birdseed. A particularly bold Ground Squirrel came close, pawed at my ankle, then, to my surprise, climbed up and sat in my lap for a moment.

Publicado el domingo, 21 de enero de 2024 a las 11:26 PM por ectothermist ectothermist | 33 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

miércoles, 19 de abril de 2023

Creatures of the Canyon

Last January, Rachel (@paperplum), Boaz (@boazsolorio), @velodrome, @evn, and I met up to explore a canyon in the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains.
It had been raining intermittently for days, and the canyon was wet. We headed for the trail at the end of the parking lot, but before we had gone far, I stopped to flip a tree stump that was sitting on the asphalt. Under it was a Black-bellied Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps nigriventris), which marked the first time I had found a salamander in a parking lot.
While the others were taking photos, I wandered off a short ways and flipped a small piece of concrete. Under it was a beetle larva that proved to be a Ground Beetle, tribe Pterostichini.
Going on, we stopped by the side of the trail to observe some fungi. This particular spot proved to be fruitful. The rain had blessed the canyon with an abundance of living things- fungi, slime molds, and more. I photographed some pale and velvety Splitgill Mushrooms (Schizophyllum commune) with my new iPhone macro lens. I had gifted Boaz a lens, as well, and we were both eager to try them out on whatever we might find.
Translucent Crystal Brain Fungus (Myxarium nucleatum) grew from a log, along with some bright yellow Slime Molds, mere dots on the wet wood, and a vivid clump of jelly-like fungus. I am not sure whether it was Golden Ear (Naematelia aurantia) or Witch’s Butter (Tremella mesenterica). Certainly order Tremellales, if nothing else.
We went on, very slowly, photographing almost everything we saw, and there was much to see in the moist and living canyon. I stopped for some Black Witch’s Butter (Exidia glandulosa), Giraffe Spots (Peniophora albobadia), Coprinopsis uliginicola, Miller’s Oysterling (Clitopilus hobsonii), a very interesting Slime Mold that looked like a mass of pink bubbles, a large mushroom likely of the family Psathyrellaceae, and a Trask Shoulderband Snail (Helminthoglypta traskii). Not that I knew what any of the fungi were; all were IDed later on iNaturalist.
I moved quickly from specimen to specimen, and before long had left the others behind. Seeing wet leaf litter piled against the trees, I dug into it to uncover the earth beneath. My search was rewarded by a smooth-skinned California Newt (Taricha torosa) concealed in the crevice of a tree trunk.
The next thing I photographed was a mass of branched and wavy yellow stalks, so-called “Coral Fungi” of the genus Phaeoclavulina. Next came more Black Witch’s Butter, and then a log frosted with white, like icing or newfallen snow. Up close, the white substance was made of a great many fingerlike extensions, translucent and crystalline in appearance. It proved to be a growth of Coral Slime, genus Ceratiomyxa.
It was nearly dark by now, and I was again ahead of the others. On a tree, I discovered a black-and-white patterned spider of a species I had not seen before. I was able to get in a few quick shots before it scurried into a crevice in the bark, which allowed me to later identify it as a ground spider of the genus Sergiolus.
The trail began leading uphill. Green liverworts and vivid moss covered the cliff walls, and in the midst of them a young Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris)! Its eyes were gold and its skin was silvery, both patterned like the sky on a starry night.
With no warning, a startling shout brought us all to a standstill. “Bear! To your left!”
Hearts pounding (or at least mine was), we regrouped. Who had called? Which way was "left"? We had to rapidly determine what to do next. Given that there were five of us, I felt fairly confident in returning the way we had come. Staying close together and with great caution, we did this, but no bear appeared. Had there really been one, or was someone pranking us? We never saw who had called.
After a while, despite the surrounding darkness, we began to feel less nervous. That is, until the beam of my headlamp caught two glowing eyes, far off on the other side of the canyon, staring down at us. “Are those eyes I see over there…?” I asked apprehensively. All flashlights and headlamps focused on the unknown creature, and we strained to make it out. The eyes were set wide apart, and glowed yellow-green. The head was round, the body pale… could it be… could it really be… it was! There was no mistaking that lithe, pale outline in the dark. It was a Mountain Lion!
We watched it, fearful yet thrilled, talking excitedly, until it slunk off into the darkness. What an encounter! It was the first time I was absolutely sure I had seen a wild Mountain Lion in person.
That was definitely the find of the night, but the night wasn’t over yet. We walked rapidly back toward the parking lot, staying together, and looking behind us periodically to make sure the big cat wasn’t following us. Before too long, we arrived at an earthen wall that I suspected contained trapdoor spiders. My suspicion proved correct when I spotted a burrow’s lid, slightly open; under it were a set of hairy, reddish-brown legs.
I moved too quickly, however, and the legs immediately retreated. Undaunted, I danced the end of a twig over the burrow’s mouth, attempting to lure its occupant out, but the spider wasn’t having it and stayed deep in its retreat.
On the way back to the cars, we examined the hillside thoroughly, stopping every now and then to look more closely at anything that caught our interest. This resulted in a “Tawny Dwarf Tarantula,” Megahexura fulva. The individual was a wandering male, no doubt searching for a female to woo. He was missing a leg; perhaps the result of an encounter with some predator.
That concluded the trip! We got in our cars and left the canyon, reflecting on our experiences that night.

Publicado el miércoles, 19 de abril de 2023 a las 02:52 AM por ectothermist ectothermist | 21 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

sábado, 10 de julio de 2021

Anza-Borrego Adventure- Part 5: Drive By Night

Continued from Part 4...
When darkness set in, we began road cruising. Boaz, walking along the road during a stop, discovered the first finds of the night: a couple of Desert Ironclad Beetles (Asbolus verrucosus). These impressively chunky, waxen-blue beetles are known to feign death when approached, but the ones we saw merely spread their legs and arched their backs in a combative pose.
Then the beam of the headlights caught a massive white spider skittering across the road. Boaz and I jumped from the car and ran towards it; catching up, we found it to be a Prowling Spider (genus Syspira). After taking pictures, we resumed our hunt.
Heading south, we found ourselves on Yaqui Pass Road once more, where we found a juvenile Leaf-nosed Snake. I crouched down to get an eye-level photo, but was soon scuttling in circles on my knees as the snake darted in every direction. I finally got a reasonably good shot, and then was immediately off again to photograph a Straight-faced Windscorpion that Boaz found while I was preoccupied. It was a little more cooperative than the snake.
That was the last observation of the trip for me before we began the drive home, despite us finding another Leaf-nosed Snake. I decided I had enough photos of that species for the time being; for another thing, I was rapidly getting tired. I vaguely remember us pulling over one last time. What I didn’t remember, until Rachel reminded me later, was Boaz holding up a dead Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans) and asking if I wanted to photograph it. I evidently declined.
Then we drove on; then (very late) I was home in my own bed. It had been a successful and gratifying trip. I was fortunate to take it with two amazing people I am glad to know. Thanks Rachel and Boaz!

Publicado el sábado, 10 de julio de 2021 a las 09:56 PM por ectothermist ectothermist | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

jueves, 08 de julio de 2021

Anza-Borrego Adventure- Part 4: Cuyamaca Interlude

Continued from Part 3...
When I woke up I was feeling distinctly better; there would be no throwing up that day. Naturally, we wondered what had gone wrong with my stomach. Suspicion immediately centered around the fact that I had received my first COVID vaccination only the day prior to our trip. I had never heard of a reaction so severe, but the timing, combined with its only lasting through the one evening, leads me to believe that was indeed the cause.
That day we decided to drive out in pursuit of wildflowers. We headed up to two spots north of Borrego Springs, but as we cruised along the dusty roads, it was immediately apparant that our timing was a little off. The surroundings were as desolate as any in the desert. Having the whole remaining day to search, we decided to head south and west to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park instead.
The land rapidly changed from desert to greener hills, with a wide valley in between that the 78 highway traversed. We were in the middle of it when Rachel pulled over for a suspicious object on the side of the road. It proved to be an adult Red Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum piceus), a lifer for me. This one, sadly, was dead, leaving me still in pursuit of a living individual.
We drove on and eventually found ourselves in the vicinity of Lake Cuyamaca. Yellow flowers bloomed in the nearby fields, and we pulled over by one of them. Rachel and Boaz got out to look at the flowers. I, however, was still under the weather and hungry (due to being unable to eat anything but crackers), and elected to stay in the car while they roamed the fields.
They returned after a while, having seen many butterflies and a tarantula hawk wasp that Boaz ran after but was unable to catch, and we drove on. Our surroundings were picturesque: green and hilly, with groves of pine trees silhoutted against the sky. I was reminded, in fact, of territory familiar to me in the high country of New Mexico, despite this area’s lower elevation and proximity to the desert.
We pulled off the 79 at what turned out to be Los Vaqueros Trailhead and went hiking. Various butterflies, other insects, Spiny Lizards (probably Western Fence Lizards), and some deer greeted us upon the trail. After a short distance, I began feeling tired and decided to turn back, while the other two went on. Back at the car, I waited and waited, and was just beginning to feel worried when they returned. Boaz was holding something behind his back and grinning widely. With a flourish, he held up a plastic container and whipped off the lid to reveal… a mole. The woolly little sausage-shaped creature was probably a Broad-footed Mole (Scapanus latimanus). When placed upon the grass, it ran in an exaggerated undulating manner, which looked especially comical when filmed in slow-motion. Having seen the mole safely back into the ground, we drove back to Anza-Borrego and were greeted with a spectacular sunset.

To be continued…

Publicado el jueves, 08 de julio de 2021 a las 08:10 PM por ectothermist ectothermist | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

martes, 06 de julio de 2021

Anza-Borrego Adventure- Part 3: Nausea Ad Nauseam

Continued from Part 2...
By now we were staying in one of the tiny cabins in Tamarisk Grove Campground, and we returned there to rest and cook dinner before our next adventure, which was road cruising for snakes at night. We set out on Yaqui Pass Road, Rachel in the driver’s seat. This arrangement was designed to make the most advantage of her exceptionally keen eyes.
Our first find was a Western Leaf-nosed Snake, Phyllorhynchus decurtatus, a lifer species I had especially hoped to find on this trip. The little snake, a juvenile, sported the comically large nose scale and bug eyes common to the species. Like all the other individuals we found over that night and the next, it would hardly stay still for an instant while being photographed.
It was around this time that I began to feel somewhat queasy. The feeling only increased before we pulled over for a large stick insect, probably Parabacillus. I crouched down to photograph it, and despite feeling rather sick to my stomach, was able to get a few decent shots. Before we found the next (and last) Leaf-nosed Snake of the night, I had begun throwing up. Despite that, I insisted on pulling over to photograph the snake, but the retching only worsened in frequency and intensity. It was at this point that Rachel took charge. Despite my feeble protestations, she herded Boaz and I into the car and began speeding us back to the campsite. Somewhere along the way I finally decided that was where I really wanted to be, and I kept my mouth shut even as I heard Boaz exclaim “Scorpion!” and “Snake!” and “Tarantula!” as we flew past the bemused creatures on the side of the road.
I gave one final heave right as we pulled up next to our cabin, before stumbling out of the car and collapsing onto the front porch, where I lay, not wanting to get up, for the next hour or so. In the interval, I heard Boaz exclaiming over a tarantula he had found by the campsite, but even this could not get me off the porch. Boaz evidently found several more creatures while I was lying there, dazed: namely a winged velvet ant, a few species of darkling beetles, and a Mexican Tiger Moth (Apantesis proxima). Eventually, Rachel and Boaz were able to coax me into a sleeping bag they had laid out on the lower bunk.

To be continued…

Publicado el martes, 06 de julio de 2021 a las 07:38 PM por ectothermist ectothermist | 3 observaciones | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

domingo, 04 de julio de 2021

Anza-Borrego Adventure- Part 2: Borrego Palm Canyon

Continued from Part 1...
Our next venture was to Borrego Palm Canyon. At 2:00 in the afternoon, the temperature was intense, but we had plenty of water and dared the hike. My first interesting find was a beautiful snail that had attached itself firmly to a log. This proved to be a Borrego Desertsnail (Sonorelix borregoensis), a “lifer” for me. I know nothing about the biology of this species, but I assume that the specimen I found was in estivation (or whatever the proper term is for snails), and that it would become active when prompted by rain or moisture.
My next observation was of a small, prettily patterned Cobweb Spider in the genus Asagena, found by Boaz. Another lifer for me! In the meantime, Boaz had observed several plants, such as Desert Lavender, Brittlebush, and Mesquite, as well as a Straight-faced Windscorpion (family Eremobatidae) and some Harvester Ants (Pogonomyrmex). The Windscorpion proved too fast for me to photograph. Rachel then pointed out a black-and-yellow checkered Spiny Lizard clinging to the trunk of a shrubby tree, which I discovered was a Desert Spiny (Sceloporus magister). Next up was a “Dusty Desert” spider, a female, species Homalonychus theologus. I find members of this genus intriguing. Females and juveniles are coated in sand that sticks to their “hair” (setae). This makes them rather hard to spot, and also makes them pretty well unmistakable when you do spot them. Shortly after this I found the empty shell of another snail, probably also a Sonorelix.
By now we were approaching the stream, and the surrounding vegetation was getting increasingly lush and green. Here we found one of the animals dependent on this water in the desert- a Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus). It hopped away madly whenever approached, making picture-taking very difficult. I finally gave up without a single shot, but Boaz persevered and was rewarded with several good ones.
At last we arrived at the oasis, a grove of verdant palms shading the stream. This oasis, an anomaly in the barren desert that surrounded it, owed its existence to the precious water that flowed here. The palms were California Fan Palms (Washingtonia filifera), unique in being the only palm native to Anza-Borrego and to California. Under their fronds was another world, cooler, greener, and shaded from the desert sun. We wandered here, climbing from boulder to boulder in pursuit of life.
The stream was teeming with tadpoles, presumably of Red-spotted Toads, and the occasional Giant Water Bug (Belostomatidae), perhaps Abedus indentatus. There were plenty of flies and other insects, too. Boaz discovered several gaudily colored harvestman, their bodies rotund and orange but their legs spindly and striped black and white. These were likely in the genus Eurybunus. Before leaving the oasis, we found another Red-spotted Toad, which Rachel and Boaz both photographed; I, however, was feeling a little run-down and opted to sit and watch them instead.
Eventually we began the trek back to the car. The last find of the trip was a small brown scorpion under a rock which turned out to be Stahnkeus subtilimanus, another lifer for me.

To be continued…

Publicado el domingo, 04 de julio de 2021 a las 10:36 PM por ectothermist ectothermist | 7 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

viernes, 02 de julio de 2021

Anza-Borrego Adventure- Part 1: Arrival and the Inland Sea

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is one of my favorite California desert locales. I had never been there in the spring before, so on the evening of April 27th of this year, Rachel Romine (@paperplum), Boaz Benaiah Solorio (@arthropod_crossing), and I began the drive to the park. Despite some delays, and a fruitless side trip to the Salton Sea area to look for Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnakes, we eventually arrived safely at the Borrego Springs Motel around 2 AM. Before we had even begun hauling our gear into our room, Boaz and I were examining the walls under the lights for possible lifeforms, which produced a Running Crab Spider (Philodromidae). While we were settling down for bed, Rachel discovered a roach that Boaz identified as a Surinam Cockroach (Pycnoscelus surinamensis)- an invasive species that turned out to be a first on iNaturalist for Anza-Borrego and Borrego Springs.
The next morning, we were up as early as our late night allowed. The first find of the day was a Kukulcania, a large female spider lurking under a board next to the motel. Alongside it was a Western Black Widow, also female.
Our first outing was outside of the park- to the Salton Sea. We drove through Salton City, sparse and desolate, and stopped the car in an abandoned parking lot by the sea. Its pungent odor enveloped us as we stepped outside.
I flipped over a large concrete slab and was excited to find a scorpion underneath- by the looks of it, a member of the family Vaejovidae. I called the others over, but before any of us could get a picture, it had burrowed out of sight.
We walked down near the shore and proceeded to flip many of the numerous slabs of concrete and aggregated rock that lay there. Two of them each produced a Prowling Spider of the genus Syspira, one quite large and attractively patterned.
After taking some time to eat, we drove back to the park.

To be continued…

Publicado el viernes, 02 de julio de 2021 a las 11:46 PM por ectothermist ectothermist | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

miércoles, 04 de noviembre de 2020

Backbone Trail hike

On 9/24/20 went up Corral Canyon Road to the Backbone Trail in Malibu Creek State Park. Arrived around 4 PM. Began walking along the sun-baked ridge, studded with great fin-like rocks, weaving back and forth in pursuit of life.
First animal worth taking a picture of was a dragonfly that proved to be a Variegated Meadowhawk. It sat nice and still on a branch while I snapped away.
Next found a Silver Garden Orbweaver, its web stretched between two bushes, and after that a tiny Blainville’s Horned Lizard, crouching among the dry scrub and nearly invisible thanks to its well-camouflaged scales. I had to track it through the grass as it scurried away, until it finally sat still enough for a photo.
Continuing on, and here and there climbing the rocks, eventually found a Duskywing that sat for its picture- a previous one got away.
Near a place where the trail went uphill, saw an orange “butterfly” flitting amongst the grass. When it landed its mottled brown forewings provided such effective camouflage that it was a while before I was able to find it. Upon closer inspection, determined it was a moth with orange hindwings, probably Drasteria. Going on, found another horned lizard that got away, Western Fence Lizards, and Side-blotched Lizards. Last and best of all, stumbled across a Patchnose Snake crossing the dirt road. It was a juvenile that immediately attemped to vanish before I pounced on it. Even then it was an energetic little thing, striking at me repeatedly and writhing madly, its tongue flicking in and out. I managed to get some good shots before letting it go.
Concluded by walking back on the paved road. Driving down, the fog lay on the sea, close by. A good trip.

Publicado el miércoles, 04 de noviembre de 2020 a las 08:39 PM por ectothermist ectothermist | 7 observaciones | 2 comentarios | Deja un comentario