|On a full-moon night, the moon rises at the same time the sun sets.|
Spring has arrived and it brings the changing of the herpetofauna guard. The lizards are coming out and bowing to the sun and the amphibians are finishing their aquatic breeding and returning to the dark, damp earth.
|Western fence lizard sunning on a bright skull.|
So far only a small gopher snake has showed up at the Dipper Ranch, sunning itself on the driveway. I don't expect to see any rattlesnakes until we have three consecutive hot days. I don't think it is so much the exact temperature during any one day that brings the snakes out, but the continuous warmth that keeps the nights from getting too cold.
|Little coast range newt finds a newt-sized cave in a pile of rocks.|
At night and cloudy days, the California newts are leaving their breeding ponds and streams. I see them heading uphill and finding places to hide underground for the dry season.
|An adult coast range newt wedged into the cracks between rocks.|
|Hip sled discovered while checking out the excellent stand of beardless wild rye (Leymus triticoides), a native bunchgrass in the background.|
|California hedgenettle (Stachys bullata) sprouting in a bone nest at a long forgotten fenceline.|
|Old cow skull wedged in a creek along the old road. How long does it take for these skulls to break down?|
Somedays, it seems like cow ghosts are everywhere in the dark forest.
|A big pile of leaves and freshly uprooted grass seedlings behind a double track of bare dirt with toe marks - possibly where a mountain lion scraped the ground with its hind feet to cover scat or a urine scent marking.|
|Just another moon cresting the Santa Cruz Mountains in the fog.|