Sunday, June 2, 2013

Home Mountain

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There was a play going on at the Mountain Theater on Mt. Tamalpais today, so the area around Rock Spring was quite busy. I noticed the gate at West Ridgecrest had opened early, so I took advantage of the opportunity to drive out that way before the usual 9 a.m. opening time. The light was pretty good, but the most excellent thing was being visited by a fawn. I heard its footsteps nearby as I composed the shot above, but I figured the steps were not really as close as they sounded. When I turned around to pack up my camera gear I startled the spotted fawn, who quickly turned and pranced away into the woods. The only other time a fawn came so close to check me out was years ago in the Yolla-Bolly Wilderness.

When I walked over the way the fawn had gone I found this apparent burial site, a pet cemetery. I did not dig it up to find out if an actual critter was buried there, but I was surprised a coyote hadn't already done so. Just before I reached the Jeep I spotted a coyote walking sprightly along the road. He kept an eye on me as he passed but didn't change his lightly bouncing gait. I watched him continue quite a ways down the road before he finally turned onto a game trail and disappeared. 

One of these days I'm going to find out what this grass species is called. (Spoke too soon. Doreen Smith just let me know it's Cynosurus echinatus, Crested Dogtail Grass.)

The spittlebugs are usually massed in a hard-to-photograph spot, so I took advantage of this chance to catch them in the open on a thistle stalk. These nymph froghoppers squeeze the spittle out their hind ends to keep them covered while they feed on their host plant, then emerge as adults to continue feeding on plants.

Lady ferns down by Cataract Creek.

Small blue butterflies, creekside denizens, drawn to moisture.

Banana slug climbing a rock, on its way . . . somewhere.

On the way back up to the Jeep I found the most perfect dandelion puff (probably mountain dandelion) and couldn't resist photographing it. I dragged it back down into the woods to be in the shade, but it was still kind of windy even under the Douglas firs. After I finally got it photographed I let it be. It was just too perfect an orb to blow to smithereens.

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