November 22, 2020 Hidden Meadow Trail

Today I returned to the Hidden Meadow Trail which is up in the Thousand Oaks area. I was there for the first time a few months ago in the spring. I spent about 2 hours here and was the only one on the trail. It was very quiet and though the serenity is nice, it is also disappointing when you don't see or hear much wildlife.

It is always more fun to post observations when there are a lot of interesting species around. However, I also find it more challenging and somewhat instructive to write about a visit to an area that doesn't produce lots of wildlife. Time of year, vegetation, weather and even time of day can play a role in what you see and don't see. One thing that is quite obvious is that places with water have a lot more wildlife about. Even here, where the landscape was very dry had a few areas where water collects during the rainy season and I noticed much more activity in these areas.

I'm also wondering if you can make a judgement about an area based on the number of raptors you see. Today, for instance I only saw one red-tailed hawk and no other hawks. It makes me think that there isn't a whole lot of prey in the area. But perhaps some other factor is at play.

Another thing that is easy to do is to overlook the common species we see every day. I often don't record common species. But in this case, if that is all there is, that too is valuable information. For instance there was abundant chamise growing from the burls of burned plants as well as many chaparral bush mallow plants. These plants are obviously doing well since the fire.

And sometimes you are rewarded with seeing behavior you haven't seen before. For instance, today I saw a woodpecker spending a lot of time pecking the seed capsules of a chaparral yucca in search of I'm not sure what.

And in spite of the low species count, I was treated to a view of a horned lizard who was trying to hide on the side of the trail. The fact that this lizard was here is actually a good sign as it means there are still harvester ants around. The Woolsey fire clearly devastated this area so it's good to see that some of our local reptile species are still around.

Now if we would only get some rain!

Posted by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze, November 24, 2020 03:52

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Nuttall's Woodpecker (Dryobates nuttallii)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

November 23, 2020 02:25 PM PST

Description

Hidden Meadow Trail

Photos / Sounds

What

Blainville's Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

November 2020

Description

Hidden Meadow Trail
The nicest surprise of the day

Comments

Cool horned lizard sighting! There definitely aren't many out in November.

Posted by ectothermist about 2 years ago (Flag)

Thanks! Yes cool to see them. They’re one of my faves.

Posted by naturephotosuze about 2 years ago (Flag)

Nice post that reflects also my experiences this time of the year. Yesterday, I wanted to explore my favorite spots at Paramount Ranch, but one was taken up by a bunch of model plane pilots with very noisy engines, the other was overrun by a large group of hikers, and so I went high up into the burn scar with very little recovery even two years after Woolsey. But there was a large White Eardrops with some foliage left, several Chalk Dudleyas, and even some lichen that were able to take hold on one boulder. It's noticeable how some areas made a great recovery, but others are still really struggling...
And yes, we need rain!!

Posted by andreacala about 2 years ago (Flag)

I have a feeling this whole week the trails will be busy with people. More people are off work so I’m sure they’ll be out there. It will just mean being more creative about finding places where they aren’t. And yes, I do notice radical differences in areas where recovery seems good and others that aren’t.

Posted by naturephotosuze about 2 years ago (Flag)

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