Checking the trap

Bobcat prowling

(Video image capture)

I hadn’t checked my camera trap since a while, so the day after I returned from visiting family in Chicago, I packed my saddlebags and drove through Golden Gate Park and the Presidio, Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito, then climbed the Panoramic Highway to until I finally get out of the fog and into clear skies shortly before Bootjack Campground. As always, it was a great day to be on the mountain.

After attaching my bike to an oak tree I rode towards the trap at a very relaxed pace hoping to find some interesting insects or reptiles to photograph. A fence lizard caught my eye with its brilliant colors, as if it had recently shed its dull old skin, and around a bend in the trail I came across a small meadow with countless stalks of yampah se swaying in the breeze. Their tiny white flowers were visited by many buzzing insects, the most important of which, to me, were the black-legged flies (identified by the brightness of iNaturaliste

). On the other side of the yampah meadow, I stopped to try to spot the white-breasted nuthatches I heard feeding among the cones high up on the Douglas fir trees. Once they got used to my presence, a pair of goldfinches hovered over nearby thistles to collect seeds, disturbing an Anna’s hummingbird that was collecting nectar from the remaining flowers. A Wilson’s warbler made a brief appearance and a Pacific slopes flycatcher emerged from the woods to peer over the edge of the prairie. I suspect the little flycatcher (I thought it was a ruby-crowned kinglet at first) couldn’t focus on the hunt with a pesky human so close, and it quickly disappeared into the woods.

Fir forest in the fog

Magic on the mountain
Display its colors

Black-footed drone flight over Yampah flowers

Eristalis hirta Feeding on Perideridia kelloggii

Goldfinch with seed halo

Goldfinches collecting thistle seeds

Wilson’s Warbler

Pacific Slope Flycatcher

Empidonax hard

Passing Bobcat

Gray fox at the hole d ‘water

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