Rounding Round Valley

Diablo From Round ValleyDecided to go somewhere new this past Saturday, and ended up at Round Valley Regional Preserve, an EBRPD holding east of Mt. Diablo. Wasn't really sure what to expect other than some nice scenery. Ended up find that in spades, along with all manner of interesting things, foremost among them being a night snake and a bobcat.

As far as I can tell Round Valley is almost all oak savanna, predominated by blue oak, with some valley and interior live oak mixed in with some buckeyes and walnuts. I don't think I saw any completely closed woodland on the loop I did. Plenty of rocks and fallen logs for herps and spiders and the like, so definitely worth revisiting.

The night snake was curled up under one of those logs, looking like it had just molted. Also found a Diabolical Ironclad Beetle nearby, which, I have learned, is not quite the same as the Plicate or Pustulose Ironclad Beetles. Noted.

The bobcat was something of a shock, as I came up behind it without realizing. It didn't notice me for quite some time, and I had almost changed to my telephoto when it did and loped off. I pursued, of course, and manage to get a few decent shots. I had never noticed how black and white the backs of their ears are! Really quite a sight.

Hurrying back in an effort to escape before the gate to the parking lot closed, I nevertheless stopped for a late-season male tarantula, and for some very nice trap doors, which may or may not belong to some cyrtaucheniids. Would love to go back at night, or perhaps after rain to see if I could catch some wandering males.

Posted by kueda kueda, November 03, 2009 09:14 AM

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Diabolical Ironclad Beetle (Phloeodes diabolicus)

Observer

kueda

Date

October 31, 2009 04:15 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

California Nightsnake (Hypsiglena ochrorhynchus ssp. nuchalata)

Observer

kueda

Date

October 31, 2009 03:59 PM PDT

Description

I think it had just shed. I should have looked for the skin.

Photos / Sounds

What

Mygalomorphs (Suborder Mygalomorphae)

Observer

kueda

Date

October 31, 2009 06:09 PM PDT

Description

This differs from other trap doors I've found in that it's so obvious! There were two right next to each other, and both had this kind of "plugged" structure, with the door fitting nicely in the tunnel entrance. Previous trap doors I've found were in Las Trampas, and on both the door was a flap that covered the burrow entrance entirely (and making them almost impossible to see). Not sure if this is a significant difference or not. I guess the only way to tell would be to dig them out.

Photos / Sounds

What

Desert Tarantula (Aphonopelma iodius)

Observer

kueda

Date

October 31, 2009 05:59 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

What

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Observer

kueda

Date

October 31, 2009 05:24 PM PDT

Description

I practically bumped into this bobcat sitting on the trail, facing the other direction, waiting. I guess I was downwind or something. Cursing the short lens I had on, I tried switching up as quietly as possible. Almost got there too, but he finally heard me, looked over his shoulder, gave me the bobcat stink eye, and stalked off. I followed him and got a couple shots.

Photos / Sounds

What

Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata)

Observer

kueda

Date

October 31, 2009 04:26 PM PDT

Photos / Sounds

Observer

kueda

Date

October 31, 2009 04:08 PM PDT

Description

Sometimes I wish I had a collecting permit because I would have loved to key this thing out. It was pretty big (prosoma ~ 5 mm, I think), quite colorful, and I don't think I've seen it before. Next time I see it I'll take some better diagnostic shots.

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