October 24, 2021 Hudson Ranch Road

Since we hadn't been to the Bitter Creek Wildlife Refuge overlook for a while, we took a trip out there in the hopes of spotting a condor. Like last fall, we came up zero on condors, somewhat disappointing, though we have been very fortunate to see quite a few condors in the past.

Traveling Hudson Ranch Road is an interesting experience nevertheless. It doesn't attract too many people as it is fairly remote. There are the usual day trippers and those trying out their cars--we saw a group of corvettes drive by as well as a very few people like us...hoping to see condors and looking for any other wildlife we might find.

The day started very slow and we didn't see much around. The weather was gorgeous though--high 60's, many nice puffy clouds in the sky and one of the clearest views into the San Joaquin valley we've seen from there. Normally, we see a huge dust/smog bank lingering over the valley. Perhaps the recent light rain tamped down the dust and fertilizers.

An hour and a half into our time up there, we saw a helicopter circling and when we drove by, we saw a vehicle had gone over the side. We don't know if there were any injuries, the vehicle was right side up but down quite a ways on a steep embankment. When we left around 5:30 PM the truck was still down there and two towing vehicles were sitting up above.

Though we had a very slow start, things started picking up once we spotted a tarantula in the road. Chris carried him to the side of the road and we watched him make his journey hunting for a female....he seemed quite intent on a certain direction so I hope he was able to find his mate. We took a lot of pictures of this cool spider.

Once we saw the spider, it seemed like we started seeing more things. Basically we travelled back and forth along the road a couple of times in a 5 mile section, finally stopping at the Las Padres National Forest sign. Along the way we spotted very high above us, a beautiful white ferruginous hawk. Then we spied a female mule deer high on a hill in the distance.

Once stopped we watched a red-tailed hawk as it flew around calling. All of a sudden another red tail came in and the two tangled on the hillside hundreds of feet below us. The photos were much too distant to post.

After spotting and photographing several local birds and a couple of insects, we took to the road again. We saw a very cooperative loggerhead shrike, a flock of beautiful mountain bluebirds that were too skittish for photos and then on one hillside, we hit the jackpot--we saw a male northern harrier (gray ghost), a coyote and best of all a handsome golden eagle. It was a great way to end the day. Though we are avid nature photographers and didn't really get exceptional photos on this excursion, just spotting and watching wildlife is a great way to spend the day.

Posted by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze, October 26, 2021 00:47

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

October 24, 2021 02:11 PM PDT

Description

Hudson Ranch Road

Photos / Sounds

What

Desert Tarantula (Aphonopelma iodius)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

October 24, 2021 02:29 PM PDT

Description

Hudson Ranch Road

Photos / Sounds

What

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

October 24, 2021 04:01 PM PDT

Description

Hudson Ranch Road
One of at least 4-5 we saw

Photos / Sounds

What

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

October 24, 2021 04:37 PM PDT

Description

Hudson Ranch Road
One of three seen

Photos / Sounds

What

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

October 24, 2021 04:45 PM PDT

Description

Hudson Ranch Road
Running away when he saw us--I imagine there are hunters in this area that are no friend of coyotes

Photos / Sounds

What

Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

October 24, 2021 04:46 PM PDT

Description

Hudson Ranch Road
At last a male---only too far away and was not set up for a photo. We also saw a female earlier

Photos / Sounds

What

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

October 24, 2021 04:47 PM PDT

Description

Hudson Ranch Road
Best find of the day---actually perched on the ground not super far away--we shot photos from the car as it retreated up the hill

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