Just after noon, with the tide coming in, we saw this lone seal swimming in San Francisquito Creek beside the Palo Alto golf course. It repeatedly bobbed its head up (to breathe?) and then dove, each time coming up sone distance downstream (i.e., against the tide). Walking back about 20 minutes later, we saw probably the same individual just beyond the footbridge to East Palo Alto, still bobbing and diving on the way out to the Bay.
This woodpecker was large -- over a foot long and almost the size of a crow. I more often see acorn woodpeckers in the Bay Area, but this one was too big to be that.
I have seen two previous ringneck snakes at Windy Hill, one very near this spot (perhaps even the same individual) and the other on the Hamm's Gulch trail. Those moved too fast for pictures, as did the one I saw at Long Ridge OSR, but finally today's ringneck was sluggish enough for pictures -- a beautiful little snake!
This four inch millipede was foraging beside the Chaparral Trail in Huddart Park. It looks the same as the millipedes I observed in Huddart last year, and different from the one observed in Long Ridge OSR.
This Blazing Star was blooming right at the edge of a major washout on the trail about a mile up from the inlet of Convict Lake.
We only got one good image of this rubber boa before it climbed into a shrub, and it does not show head or tail. The tail was blunt, as expected. The prominent skin folds that formed at tight curves as the snake moved were also characteristic of the species. I once kept for several weeks a rubber boa captured by a neighbor, and then released it near a stream in the Owens Valley, so I'm pretty sure of my identification of this one.
The location for this one is at about 8000 feet, just after crossing the middle fork of the San Joaquin River and starting the ascent to Shadow Lake.
Our third and largest snake of the morning -- a literal snake in the grass.
About 50 feet beyond our first rattlesnake of the morning, we saw this gopher snake on the same side of the trail. It was more nervous than the rattler, and didn't allow a good picture including its head.
About 3 feet long; flowed into bushes at a leisurely pace. Did not rattle.
Spider on trail in Rancho San Antonio.
Nickel-sized spider crossing sunny dirt road in Long Ridge OSR.
Snowy Egret and Common Egret fishing together.
Common Egret and Snowy Egret fishing side by side.
An alligator lizard sunning itself at the edge of the trail, sluggish enough that we got several pictures.
This is the third site in Foothills Park where I have observed Western Whiptails.
This western whiptail was foraging thru leaf litter in filtered sun under shrubs. We saw, but did not get a picture of another smaller whiptail a few yards further along the trail. The location (an area of chaparral near Bobcat Point on the Panorama Trail) is about a mile from my previous observations of western whiptails at the summit of Vista Hill in Foothills Park. It seems that whiptails persist at at least two sites in Foothills.
This 2 inch long millipede crossing Peters Creek Trail in Long Ridge OSR looks to me like a different species than the ones I saw in Huddart Park in July, 2012.
We were looking for racers like this one, but not sure they would be out. Weather was cool with occasional wind gusts. This racer had its head up about 4 inches off the ground and at one point moved it rapidly from side to side (my guess is to get a better view of us, since we were standing as still as we could).
We also saw a muskrat swimming in San Francisquito slough, but were not fast enough to get an image of it.
Went back to check on the whiptails at the Foothills Park vista hilltop parking area. Saw three of them foraging in broken shade under tall manzanita bushes.
We took several pictures of this thrasher as it busily sorted thru debris with its down-curved beak. It repeatedly flew away when noisy human groups passed, but came right back and ignored us as we stood quietly about five feet away.
Quail and their chicks were out in force today at Rancho San Antonio.
Two turtles sunning together on log in Los Gatos Creek.
Blue heron fishing in a fairly mucky section of Los Gatos Creek.
A large and well-mannered family of geese, walking in good order at the edge of the narrow trail.
A pair of Canada geese with their large group of offspring.
Newts swimming in reservoir at Salamander Flat.
We saw several yellow bellied racers this morning, often in the heads-up position shown in the image.
Gopher snake was on earth dike just east of the paved trail.
Monarch (butterfly) was just across trail from King (snake).