San Bruno Mountain Ecological Reserve (7/3/2022)

Today I had plans to venture out and see some newtomespots. That lepidopterist Liam submitted some neato observations of butterflies somewhat recently over at Pier 94. Figured since I needed to be in The Mission in the evening that I may as well finally go to the other side of the city and take a look-see.

The odd sand driveway to the closest entry point was very abandoned. Just one tinted-windowed SUV with a broken windshield and a ton of soda bottles all over the dashboard was parked there. Didn’t feel so comfortable with that, so I’ll have to check that out another day.

ANOTHER location he submitted a neato observation at was over on San Bruno Mountain. So, off I went! However, the location is buried somewhere on or off a trail that must only come from a trailhead far away. Didn’t have the time to go further with that, so I’ll have to check that out another day.

SO! It was sunny and warmish over there, so my Plan C was to go back and visit the San Bruno Mountain Ecological Reserve. I had not a ton of time at that point, and I’ve been curious to return. And, I was able to flippin’ get to it with ease!

And looking at the map, I saw a trail over there that I forgot about. It’s further down (up?) Quarry Road. Ruby Chalice Clarkia and Sweet Scabious were along the roadside, which were welcoming sights. And I even saw a newtome bee fly, the Villa lateralis!

Turns out, that trail entrance is an unofficial skate park place? After a Western Fence Lizard and a huge Darner of some kind greeted me, I made it to a trail that started up the mountain. It was STEEP. Got up a bit and realized I’d be nervous coming back down, so I bailed. Steep is not my thing.

There also wasn’t a lot of flora over there. Or even much bird sounds? So you might have to go up a bit for any of that? Ah, well. I was happy to return to the main trail I already knew.

The lush meadow over there in the Spring had turned into dry grasses. Ah, Summer. But lots of plants were fruiting, like Coffeeberry and Pacific Poison Oak and California Buckeye and Hollyleaf Cherry (?) and Osoberry. Even the Blackberry is getting ripe.

Somewhat past the open meadow and calls of Wrentits, I spotted a newtome SKIPPER! The Sandhill Skipper! Apparently I’ve submitted an observation of one before on iNat. But this is different and looks more like the photos I found. How I love Skipper faces. And this one stared at me for a while! It was fighting or courting another one, so it soon left to continue that good work.

A California Scrub-Jay was nearby, atop a tallish tree, like they like to be atop. But the real highlight was ALL THE HUMMINGBIRDS. SO MANY. Mostly Anna’s, but I spotted two Allen’s. Fighting and chasing and doing the U dance and nectaring from Orange Bush Monkeyflower and more fighting and chasing! I even saw TWO of them chase out a Barn Swallow that briefly came in for two short loops and was then out of there.

So, I’m a fan of Hummingbirds. And, I can’t help but adore them. Their dainty feet! The way they cock their heads. Those gorgeous gorgets. A couple of them sat still and posed for me. And, I can’t say enough how much I cherish when I’m taking photos of birds, and they see me doing so, and they either pose or tilt their head to me as if to say, “Whatcha doin’?”

I was entirely overdressed, having left the somewhat chilly Inner Sunset. So I was burning up out there on the East side of San Bruno Mountain. I gotta remember to dress in less layers when I go over there. And as I noted that, I realized I needed to head back for SHADE.

On my way back, I got to see some Skunkweed starting to bloom. I really like Skunkweed! And, I watched two Common Ringlets flutter over and through all the dry grasses. One surprisingly and kindly stopped for me. Following a dragonfly of some kind out, I noticed the end of a mouse or rat just laying on the trail. Now, there appeared to be a lot of Coyote scat on and off the trail. I think I even saw Bobcat scat on a rock? Not sure who’s responsible, but there are many suspects.

So, I didn’t get to my Plan A or Plan B, but I GOT OUTSIDE FOR SOME NATURING TODAY. THANK GAWD. It was so needed. And, my Plan C turned out to be A-OK. All’s well that ends well.

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