No (live) tarantulas, but lots of woodpeckers (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source, Science, and Nature.

Mon, 08 Nov 2010

No (live) tarantulas, but lots of woodpeckers

November is normally far too late for tarantulas to be on the move -- mid-October is their normal season around here. But a friend commented she'd seen some at Alum Rock last week, so over the weekend we hauled ourselves out there and went hunting.

And we saw tarantula sign -- unfortunately consisting of two dead tarantulas lying mangled on the trail. No live ones. It was an unseasonably warm day, so perhaps it was too hot and the spiders were still hiding in their holes.

[Acorn woodpecker] It was lovely walk nevertheless. We saw a six-point buck chasing a doe with two other does trailing behind him ... why were the does following? No idea, but the whole procession crashed around through the brush and eventually came out and crossed the trail right behind us. We gave them space -- you don't want to get too close to a buck during this season.

And the pecking was fierce over by the dead Eucalyptus above the end-of-the-road parking lot, where a large family of acorn woodpeckers were pecking and laughing chattering as they stored their acorns for the winter. We saw at least seven on the tree at once, though counting was tricky because birds kept flying off to find more acorns while other birds flew in.

Most of the ground squirrels have already retired for the cold season -- we only saw a few out, fattening up before hibernation -- but we heard quite a few invisible chipmunks giving their sonar-ping calls as we walked past.

Tags: ,
[ 22:02 Nov 08, 2010    More nature | permalink to this entry ]