Saturday, March 16, 2013

Santa Teresa County Park - Wildflower Hotspot #7

Santa Teresa County Park featuring California poppy and gypsum spring beauty
Santa Teresa County Park is in the Santa Teresa Hills of south San Jose. Skip the golf course and head further up Bernal Road to the less developed parts of the park. There are winding trails through grasslands and oaks with attractive trail names like Hidden Springs, Coyote Peak and Rocky Ridge. Many of the local neighbors use the park for early morning or evening hikes and rides and a quick conversation at the trailhead or on the way may steer you to their favorite view or a spot with current blooms. Last year, one of those locals told me, "Santa Teresa has a lot of serpentine areas and the Stile Ranch, Rocky Ridge and Bernal Hill Trails are usually very good in April and May."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Night Has a Comet and a Lion

Comet PANSTARRS - thanks to sky-aware friends who point out these things.
We saw the Comet PANSTARRS from the Dipper Ranch gate tonight. A herd of five deer were watching too, or perhaps, as someone suggested, the deer were looking to see who was making all that racket. Just sitting in lawn chairs at the gate in the dark with binoculars and cameras. Such a pleasant way to spend a late winter evening. Meanwhile, a mountain lion has showed up several times on a wildlife camera on a remote part of the ranch. Mostly at night.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

In the Provident Shadow of Omnivores

Nighttime silhouette in the wildlife camera at the cattle pen.
I felt restless in late November as I often do around the full moon, but I was also nervous about attending a four-wheel drive class. Meanwhile, the omnivores were leaving sign at new places on the Dipper Ranch, sometimes being rascals and sometimes making fortuitous appearances.

In the middle of the night before the 4WD class, I woke suddenly. Everything was silent. There were no kids or cats jumping on the bed, so I looked out the window to check on Orion's progress. Under the foggy full moon, the backyard was blurred by swaying tree shadows. Then I saw an especially dark shadow slink in a diagonal path. Was that an animal moving or was I just sleepy?