Archive for December, 2010

THERE’S FROST on the SCAT. . .

 Frosty SCATFrosty mornings are becoming more frequent these days on the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve (SRP). I have been venturing out just after sunrise in search of wildlife along trails I haven’t yet tried on the plateau.    

The frosty mornings announce that winter has arrived at the SRP which is also being validated by the settling in of SRP winter birds including White-crowned Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, and others. The resident Acorn Woodpeckers have been actively caching acorns in their granaries while constantly challenging, contesting, and intimidating their fellow kind with their constant “waka, waka, waka, waka” calls as they establish and defend their acorn caches. White-tailed Kites have recently been observed exhibiting mating behavior on the SRP also marking the arrival of the SRP winter season. When hiking from the oak woodlands to the open grasslands the beautiful melodic song of the Western Meadowlark welcomes your arrival.   

 

Bobcat Tracks

The SRP scat producers appear to be in abundance. Their scat, tracks, and sightings indicate that there is a healthy population of coyote, bobcat, deer, skunk, raccoon, and numerous smaller rodents.   

Recent storms have crossed our area dropping 12+ inches of rain. These rain events unfortunately required the SRP to close the preserve due to the extensive damage to the trails and bridges which have caused dangerous conditions.   

   

You can still drive the northern and western perimeter of the SRP to enjoy the SRP from the outside looking in. I am sure the wildlife has enjoyed roaming their special place sans humankind. The rain has brought a winter coating of snow to the mountains to the east of the plateau (San Gabriel, San Bernardino, and San Jacinto mountain ranges) resulting in a beautiful back drop for the plateau.  

The rains have also filled the vernal pools that lie along the western edge of the SRP and the waterfowl have arrived to take advantage of the pools offerings. Winter has indeed arrived to the SRP. We are fortunate to have a second straight season where the vernal pools will be full. In drought years the pools often remain dry. 
 
  
We’ve been at our new home for almost a year now and are beginning to learn the subtle and magnificent seasonal changes in our area. 

 

   

 

 Jim, Judy, and VELCRO Travel is fatal to bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and prejudice. Mark Twain