On Sunday D. and I went on a docent-led walk in Los Trancos Open Space Preserve. Here are some of the pics I took.
These white-tipped posts mark a trace of the San Andreas Fault. It runs right through the preserve.
A turkey vulture soars high overhead on a thermal.
The peely bark the the madrone causes the trunk to feel remarkably cool to the touch on hot days and to look very photogenic when backlit by the afternoon sun.
The canopy overhead of bay laurel leaves.
This bobcat carcass blends in so well with the leaf litter and forest duff it is almost impossible to see.
Except for its big teeth.
Another canopy pic.
This pile of sticks is the nest of a female woodrat.
Elk clover is not a true clover but a member of the ginseng family. It loves the moist shade next to Los Trancos Creek.
Another canopy pic.
A feather, possibly from a red-tailed hawk, on the trail.
Los Trancos Creek.
Dried turkey tail fungi next to the creek.
A bigleaf maple seed is stuck in a hole in this leaf.
A gnawed acorn by the creek.
This long-jawed orb-weaver spider has a great location for a web, right next to the creek to catch all the little bugs that show up to take a drink.
A yellowjacket gets a drink from a small pool in the creek.
A tiny fly is thirsty too.
A tuft of lichen floats on a little pool in the creek.
These water striders are mobbing a yellowjacket that landed in their part of the pool.
Water striders live on the surface of ponds and slow-moving areas of streams and rivers. They eat small living or dead insects on the water surface. Hairs on the underside of their feet enable them to walk on the water's surface without
The Lost Creek Loop Trail follows Los Trancos Creek for a while.
Thimbleberry leaves lean out into a patch of sun along the trail.
Short-spiked hedge nettle is the third rarest hedge nettle species in the area. It grows only near seeps or springs.
The western fence lizard has a compound in its blood that kills the pathogen that causes Lyme disease. Ticks that feed on the lizard cannot pass along the illness.
This rounded chocolate brown acorn might be from a black oak. It really stands out on the Franciscan Loop Trail otherwise littered with oval or oblong green acorns.
And so we return to our starting place as the afternoon sun washes over the dry grassy hillside.
Obligatory power line shot.