Diablo Foothills Regional Park

I thought I'd check out somewhere new this weekend, and I had a hankerin' for some greenery, so I headed east to Diablo Foothills Regional Park, a fine little park right next to Mt. Diablo with lovely oak savanna, rolling green hills, and some cool rock formations.

The Livorna trail head is in a somewhat distasteful suburban development (absurdly large homes, insane pools, gates, etc.), but you quickly leave that behind for the beautiful rolling green hills. Flowers were just starting to get rolling with mustard and fiddleneck blooming in profusion. Some of the oaky areas were fairly birdy. Didn't see a Red-breasted Sapsucker, which is one of my favorite birds in that kind of habitat, but saw plenty of other regulars. Possibly the weirdest sighting of the day was what appeared to be a CA Red-legged frog in amplexus with a bullfrog in a small cattail-filled pond (which was also full of singing Pacific Chorus Frogs). Odd.

Tons and tons of ground squirrels all over the place. Saw three coyotes loping across the n, and though I heard a bunch of alarm calls from the ground squirrels, but I'm not 100% sure it was them.

Buckeye Ravine, which leads down to the base of Castle Rock, was a great, fern-lined little spot, chock full of the eponymous buckeyes and some oaks (and plenty of poison oak, ugh). Saw a bunch of turret spider turrets there, adding to my growing collection of turret observations.

Castle Rock was a beautiful sight, but I didn't ascend due to the presence of noisy peace-spoiling hooligans atop, and the fact that I missed the small trail to the top. Maybe next time.

Overall, there weren't a lot of opportunities to search under cover, but I did manage to find a nice little rock field that yielded an absolutely stunning Calisoga longitarsis, a less-hairy, somewhat smaller relative of the tarantulas that lives around here. This one was the first female I've ever found, so I was quite pleased. She, however, was not.

I think the portion of the Briones-Diablo road that lead back to the trail head would be a remarkable spot for some sunset landscape shots. Lots of west-facing dinosaur-spine rocky outcrops to catch the light. One more reason for a return trip.

Publicado por kueda kueda, 23 de febrero de 2009

Observaciones

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 04:34 PM PST

Descripción

This was the first female Calisoga I've found, so I was pretty pleased. She was under a large rock at the edge of some oak savanna (much like most of the Calisogas I find). She seemed a little antsy and the rock was kind of heavy so I scooped her into the end of my telephoto, inside the lens hood. Made for a decent little studio, but now you can all see how poorly I maintain my lenses (might explain some of my blurrier bird shots).

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Ardillón de California (Otospermophilus beecheyi)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 03:07 PM PST

Descripción

There were so many ground squirrels, and yet I saw only one raptor (a Red-tailed). Get busy, you lazy predators.

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 02:53 PM PST

Descripción

I was all set to call this a California buttercup (Ranunculus californicus) but then I tried keying it out and apparently the Western buttercup (R. occidentalis) is another option. Stupid flowers with their variable number of petals...

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Cola de Alacrán Amarilla (Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 02:14 PM PST

Descripción

Fiddlenecks are back. I brought the key with me this time, and I think this is probably Common Fiddleneck (Amsinckia menziesii var. intermedia), but it was sort of hard to tell if the petals were "slightly 2 lipped."

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 01:57 PM PST

Descripción

First find of the day was a nice little batch of black fluted elfin sadle under some oak, right next to the houses. I spent some time trying to record a video of them "smoking," but all it amounted to was a few videos of me flicking mushrooms with increasing intensity and frustration.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 03:14 PM PST

Descripción

Why won't they stay still. And come closer. Interestingly, as they were passing, I heard this big chorus of squeaks, but I couldn't quite spot the squeakers. Could it have been the ground squirrels giving alert calls from their burrows? Do they do that?

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Carpintero de Pechera Común (Colaptes auratus)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 02:02 PM PST

Descripción

You know, I grew up with flickers and I never remember them being particularly cagey, but trying to photograph this bird was nearly impossible. I just couldn't get close.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Chara Californiana (Aphelocoma californica)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 02:01 PM PST

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Sastrecillo (Psaltriparus minimus)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 02:00 PM PST

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Azulejo Garganta Azul (Sialia mexicana)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 02:36 PM PST

Descripción

Western Bluebirds don't like cameras.

Fotos / Sonidos

No hay fotos o sonidos

Qué

Bajapalos Pecho Blanco (Sitta carolinensis)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 05:14 PM PST

Fotos / Sonidos

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 03:38 PM PST

Descripción

Lots of turrets along the Buckeye Ravine trail. Once again tried the grass tickling, once again failed.

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Chipe Rabadilla Amarilla (Setophaga coronata)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 02:41 PM PST

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Rana de Patas Rojas (Rana draytonii)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 2009

Descripción

I am failry sure this is a male CA Red-legged Frog (Rana draytonii) in aplexus with a female bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana). Maybe not quite as cool as cross-order confusion, but still odd. I wonder if there are conservation implications for the red-legged, which is threatened by habitat destruction in some parts of the state. Would there be any noticeable impact of males wasting their time on females of another species?

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Gorrión Corona Blanca (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 02:07 PM PST

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Gorrión Cantor (Melospiza melodia)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 02:07 PM PST

Fotos / Sonidos

Qué

Carpintero Californiano (Dryobates nuttallii)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 02:03 PM PST

Fotos / Sonidos

No hay fotos o sonidos

Qué

Papamoscas Negro (Sayornis nigricans)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009 02:00 PM PST

Fotos / Sonidos

No hay fotos o sonidos

Qué

Ánade Real (Anas platyrhynchos)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009

Fotos / Sonidos

No hay fotos o sonidos

Qué

Aguililla Cola Roja (Buteo jamaicensis)

Observ.

kueda

Fecha

Febrero 21, 2009

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