Yesterday on the Santa Rosa Plateau

Yesterday, Wednesday, May 12, 2010 I was on the plateau a 8:30 am. I tried some new trails on the plateau that appeared to be underused. I hiked more than 3 miles before getting back on one of the main trails where I encountered the first person of the day. Even then, I met only six individuals on the trails during my nearly 4 hour stay on the plateau. The Santa Rosa Plateau (SRP) is truly a very special place and I will continue to be one of the plateau’s pupils for quite some time.

I was ready and hoping to capture photographs of some of the SRP wildlife with an emphasis on mammals. But, alas, the only mammals I encountered yesterday were the six homo sapiens  (4  joggers, 2 hikers) that I met along the trails.  It is apparent to me that I need to get to the SRP at sunrise or visit the SRP at dusk in order to have a chance of photographing the SRP mammals. I am fully aware that they are on the plateau and know that as I wander through their territory they are fully aware of my presence, and are probably watching me as well. The other strategy is to just find a location with a good view, be inconspicuous, and wait for the wildlife to come in to view. Surely this is what I will do as soon as I complete my continuing exploration of the SRP. I am still checking out the trails on the SRP. To date, I have hiked only about 15 miles of the 40 miles of trails on the SRP.  

I am finding it interesting that each trail on the 8300 acre reserve of bunchgrass prairie and oak woodlands habitat provides a different view, vista and presentation of this wonderful habitat. For more information regarding this wonderful place please check out: or contact the SRP foundation: 

I was able to photograph a few encounters with wildlife yesterday (click on photo for a larger image).

Photos in order: Ash-throated Flycatcher, Callippe Fritillary butterfly, Western Red-tailed Hawks can be confusing, Beavertail cactus in bloom.
In addition to the birds above the following were also seen: Mallard, White-tailed Kite, California Quail, Mourning Dove, Acorn Woodpecker, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Western Kingbird, Western Scrub Jay, Common Raven, American Crow, Violet-green Swallow, Oak Titmouse, House Wren, California Thrasher, European Starling, California Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Western Meadowlark. The Mallard was a female with two ducklings in one of the small riparian pools. I thought to myself that there was little protection from predators and wondered about how large her original clutch might have been.
There are still a few wildflowers in bloom on the plateau including the California Poppy but most have waned and the bunchgrass is now browning up. The cacti are just now coming into bloom. The vernal pools have dried up leaving only the common horsetail (Equisetum arvense)  to define where the vernal pools were.
We feel blessed to have found such a wonderful place to live and enjoy. Each day brings a new adventure and most days close with a beautiful sunset. Yesterday was no exception.
Jim, Judy, and VELCRO in California    

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