On a drizzly Feb. 22, D. and I went to Sunol Regional Wilderness for their "Taking Tiny Pictures" program, which invited us to bring our digital cameras with a macro setting and make little wintery images on a naturalist-led walk. So here's some of our little wintery images, staring with mine.
Flag Hill in the drizzle. Too picturesque to pass up even though it isn't tiny, especially now that's it's super-green from all the recent rain.
More green hills come into view as we follow the Ohlone Wilderness Trail.
Patterns on this weathered dead valley oak log are striking.
There is moss everywhere. Here is a close-up of particularly shaggy bunch of it.
Dead moths float belly-up on the surface of a vernal pool, one next to a clump of frog eggs.
Clusters of tree frog eggs in the vernal pool, likely from a Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla).
This vernal pool is only about a foot deep. Most of the plants growing under the water will survive being submerged until the pool shrinks and eventually disappears once the winter rains cease.
More views of the rich green hills on the other side of the valley floor.
This creature is a Jerusalem cricket (Stenopelmatus fuscus), found near the vernal pool. In spite of its name, it is not a true cricket. It eats dead organic material and lives mostly underground. Adults can reach up to 2" in length. We find this one under a rock, with its hind end sticking up.
Under that same rock is also a little Pacific tree frog sitting next to a spider's egg sac. The frog's coloration is a superb camouflage.
There is lots and lots of lichen growing on tree branches, fallen logs, rocks and old fences.
And who do we have here hiding among the lichen? It's a box elder bug! I didn't even see it when I took the pic.
We get the once-over from some cattle grazing nearby.
The sternum and some ribs of a wild turkey, next to some coyote scat.
Another turkey bone. There are lots of wild turkeys in the park. They are feisty. We saw a small flock of them chase some cows out of their way while coming down a hillside.
A lichen-encrusted log lies amid the lacy foliage of wild geraniums.
Back down on the valley floor, on our way to Alameda Creek we see an earth star fungus which has burst open to release its fine, cocoa-like powdery spores.
Alameda Creek in the rain.
Catkins shed by red alders pile up against stones in Alameda Creek.
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And here are D.'s little wintery images.
Toyon berries next to the Visitor Center.
Varieties of lichens on a log.
Pacific tree frog.
Ohlone Wilderness Trail.
Hikers need a special permit to use this trail because it leaves the park and crosses San Francisco Water Department land, connecting Mission Peak, Sunol, Ohlone and Del Valle Regional Parks. We got to go on it for free since we were on a naturalist-led program.