Tennessee Valley (8/15/2022)

Today we woke up at the Pelican Inn and set out for a short stroll to (but not arriving at) Muir Beach, then I showed Brian some favorite spots in Tennessee Valley. And, we both visited Tennessee Beach for the first time!

The short stroll, essentially from the horses to the horses, was a nice way to start our day. We got to see horses! We got to watch Barn Swallow juveniles waiting notsopatiently for parents to drop off food! And an amazing Barn Swallow parent went up and down the trail, over and over again, and we marveled at it.

Over in Tennessee Valley, BUTTERFLIES GALORE. I can’t even say how many Buckeyes and Crescents and Blues and Ringlets, and Skippers we saw. It was almost TOO MUCH. At one point, we felt like they were following us! We also saw a Lorquin’s Admiral and a handful of Common Checkered-Skippers. I got to see the GORGEOUS underside neck area on a Lorquin’s Admiral, and GAWD. I had no idea it was also incredibly beautiful there, too. And, we think we were witness to a courtship dance by a Common Checkered-Skipper!

Apparently, the newtome Strawberry Clover was a HUGE HIT for ohsomany butterflies and bees and bumble bees. Pennyroyal and Skunkweed and other Clover were also lovely to see along the trails.

We heard a Northern Flicker and heard then saw a California Quail (plus more individuals and a whole family a couple times). We got to see a couple Mouse Spiders crossing / trying to cross the trail, a Sonoma Chipmunk, and a Bluet and Cardinal Meadowhawk. Oh, and an adorable Anna’s Hummingbird (I could just oohandahh at their flippin’ tiny feet for days) and Red-tailed Hawks soaring overhead. And one Mule Deer. And one Mottled Pyrausta Moth. We saw a lot!

The pond is so serene. Wish we could’ve gotten a little closer. Though, what was that purple algae stuff? Purple algae stuff? The beach is small and charming and has pebble sand. Whut!

At the very end, I spotted a black caterpillar that looked like it’d surely be stepped on as it was heading close to the bathroom doors, so we got it up and hopefully to safer grounds. Newtome Painted Tiger Moth! It looked like it had orange bits on it after we moved it, thanks to the sunlight. It curled up into a ball, perhaps playing dead? I’m hoping we didn’t set it off course too much!

Showing Brian the area for his first time was particularly satisfying, as even more butterflies were out and about than the last time I was there. I thank all the butterflies for still being around and being friendly and letting me take all the photos. Especially the ones giving me hilarious looks. Thank you for tolerating me, Lepidoptera friends!

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