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.

Posted by ectothermist ectothermist, November 04, 2020 20:39

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum)

Observer

ectothermist

Date

September 24, 2020 04:41 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Silver Garden Orbweaver (Argiope argentata)

Observer

ectothermist

Date

September 24, 2020 04:43 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Blainville's Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii)

Observer

ectothermist

Photos / Sounds

What

Duskywings (Genus Erynnis)

Observer

ectothermist

Date

September 24, 2020 05:01 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

ectothermist

Date

September 24, 2020 05:13 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana ssp. elegans)

Observer

ectothermist

Date

September 24, 2020 05:21 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Coast Patchnose Snake (Salvadora hexalepis ssp. virgultea)

Observer

ectothermist

Description

Feisty, striking repeatedly.

Comments

How cool to see and photograph a patch nosed snake. I’ve yet to see one anywhere. I’ve also never seen a horned lizard in the Santa Monica mountains...I’ve seen many in the desert. I tend to travel in canyons a lot so maybe that’s why I’m not seeing them...and they do camouflage well. That moth is cool too!

Posted by naturephotosuze almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Thanks @naturephotosuze! The way you seem to get around, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you see a Patchnose Snake or horned lizard in the Santa Monicas as soon as reptile season begins again.
I also see you have many observations from southern Arizona. Very cool, I want to get out there but haven't been able to yet. Keep posting! :)

Posted by ectothermist almost 2 years ago (Flag)

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