Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nine Pairs of Eyes

Seven kids and two adults equals 18 eyes, and what wonders we did see. We walked from camp along the paved road as far as Berry Creek. We then followed a dirt side road to the little pool where the water emerges from under the railroad track. It's like a little Eden around the pond with Leopard Lilies blooming, Miner's Lettuce, Thimble Berry, and St. John's Wort in abundance. We also saw at least 3 trout and wondered if they were stocked or if they swam up stream from Spanish Creek during the high water this past spring. A major treat was the sighting of a Goldenrod Crab Spider that had captured a Bumble Bee and was draining its insides. There was also lots of Salsify in various stages from Blooming to huge spheres of seeds. On one such plant we saw a "herd " of aphids being corralled by small brown ants. The ants keep the aphids clustered and drink the secretions (to be polite) of the aphids. Then, one of the boys spotted the shed skin of a Cicada stuck on the under-surface of a California Black Oak leaf. Very sharp eyes. I was quite surprised that he spotted it. Earlier this season I was lucky enough to see a cicada in the act of shedding its skin. Then, it seemed that every species of beetle or fly that I had seen this past week was now mating. Here I've pictured two Crane Flies mating. We also saw several species of beetles and the Red Shouldered Plant Bug mating. The kids were also impressed with the number of butterflies of several species that seemed to be feeding on horse poop. The one pictured here is a Lorquin's Admiral. Finally, on my way home I spotted a beautiful big Gopher Snake at the edge of Quincy Junction Road. Unfortunately, it had been run over. Only the head was noticeably flattened and to spare you the sadness, I've cropped the head out of the photo. I'll save the several new species of flowers blooming for tomorrow morning's post.

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