June 23 Saddle Mountain Hike

I hiked in the Saddle Mountain Preserve on Tuesday June 23rd from 8:50am until almost exactly 1pm. I crossed Weeks Creek, then crossed Alpine Creek and continued through the property onto Erland Rd. I turned around and backtracked, turning towards the Hunter's Cabin and Pond. I didn't check the Northern Overlook. In terms of trail blockages I found one large limb down on the way to the Hunter's Cabin just before the meadow where the sign and fork are located between the Cabin trail and the overlook trail. That limb is maybe 6 in. diameter small and easy to step over, but would be a pain if you were trying to drive up. It's a live oak and covers the whole trail. The second is just before the Hunter's Cabin, within sight of it. The tree cracked mid-way up and is dangling in a diagonal angle towards the ground. It looks steady and probably won't fall further, but the limbs are blocking the path and it looks like people have been walking around it. This will be a big job to clear due to the way the tree is suspended above the trail. Again it's a live oak and whole trail is blocked.

In terms of wildlife, I scared numerous does and fawn resting near the trail. A buck snorted at me for several minutes on the trail to Erland road. I saw several wild turkeys, lots of birds: acorn woodpeckers, jays,etc. Along Alpine creek I found a ground hornet or other ground bee nest dug out of the ground by an unknown critter. Between the downed tree and the hunting cabin there were two reptile nests dug out of the ground with egg shells littering the ground. Even closer to the hunting cabin was a fresh wild turkey kill. Right outside the front door of the cabin was several day old bear scat, loaded with manzanita berries. Elsewhere on the property on the trails was coyote scat. I didn't see or look for lion scat or tracks. In Alpine Creek right at the crossing were fish. They were tiny and hard to identify and I didn't see them elsewhere. Weeks Creek appeared too stagnant and was loaded with algae, but Alpine ran clear everywhere I looked.

Along Weeks Creek where blackberry was recently removed, the plant hasn't come back very much there, which is a surprising and a good sign if more needs to be removed. On the trail to Erland the meadows are loaded with star thistle. Lots of butterflies and other insects were using it for pollen. Most other flowering plants were brown and dead from the heat. Manzanita are becoming ripe; bay nuts are in abundance but not ripe. No major reports on the plants this time.

Posted by bjoelle bjoelle, June 26, 2015 12:08

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Manzanita Leafgall Aphid Tamalia coweni

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 09:51 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Ground Yellowjackets Genus Vespula

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 10:34 AM PDT

Description

Some type of ground nesting bee. I don't know what kind and I don't know what kind of animal would dig them up. The comb left behind was papery and there were remnants inside but most was cleaned out. I assumed at first ground hornets but apparently many species nest underground. This was up high on the side of a creekbed, along Alpine Creek, which is still running.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Pink Honeysuckle Lonicera hispidula

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 09:54 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Common Buckeye Junonia coenia

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 10:46 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Coyote Canis latrans

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 11:04 AM PDT

Description

In the middle of the path. Tapered at one in, sections. Filled with plant and fur/bones.

Photos / Sounds

What

Oaks Genus Quercus

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 11:02 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Oaks Genus Quercus

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 11:12 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Vertebrates Subphylum Vertebrata

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 11:16 AM PDT

Description

Two holes in the path in a dryer area up from the pond. Both holes were dug open, and bright white eggs found broken outside both holes. Probably a reptile of some kind. Eggs an inch or more long.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Rock Shield Lichens Genus Xanthoparmelia

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 11:19 AM PDT

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Centauries Genus Centaurium

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 11:20 AM PDT

Description

Not too many left blooming but here near the pond, even in full sun, these were still blooming happily. Leaves are incredibly bitter.

Photos / Sounds

What

American Black Bear Ursus americanus

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 11:32 AM PDT

Description

Right outside the front door of the hunter's cabin. A few days old, maybe, still some insects buzzing around but not many. Loaded with manzanita berries and a small amount of fur as well.

Photos / Sounds

What

Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo

Observer

bjoelle

Date

June 23, 2015 11:25 AM PDT

Description

Kill site. Relatively fresh, but entirely eaten. Some of the feather quills were broken clear off. Other feathers were perfectly intact, or wet with saliva or old blood. Near the hunter's cabin at Saddle Mountain.

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