Convivial BioBlitzes

In my last journal post, I mentioned wanting to spend some iNaturalist trail time with each of you, when and if possible. I had wanted to post this in early January, and already a whole month has slipped by!

So what I want to try to do is invite you to see when we could plan to be together, small groups of 2, 3, 4, to blitz these trails together. It would be fun to focus in on the taxa that constitute your specialities when we are together. I know I have underrepresented some taxa on my regular trails (especially plants) because I don't know what I am looking at.

In my line of work, my schedule changes radically every four months or so. From now through mid-May, I have most Wednesdays and Fridays available, as well as Monday mornings and some weekends.

I have four regular trails that I visit, and plenty of other places worth exploring. My regular trails, in brief:

  1. Stile Ranch and Santa Teresa County Park (south San José) - California grassland and scrub. Specialty birds include Rock Wren and Rufous-crowned Sparrow; crustose lichens are numerous and beautiful; grasshoppers love the place. About a 2.5-mile loop hike with significant hills (it equals about 35 flights of stairs on my FitBit)
  2. El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve (above Woodside along Skyline) - Round trip loop of about 2 miles between gates 8 and 7. Mixed redwood forest, with Coast Redwood, Pacific Madrone, and Tanoak abundant. Excellent lichens and mosses, and, with moisture, fungi and slime molds. Specialty birds include Varied Thrush (winter) and Hermit Thrush (spring-summer); Pileated Woodpecker and Red Crossbill have been detected, too. Some hills (equals about 28 flights of stairs on my FitBit)
  3. Williams Sisters' Ranch (along Skyline near Windy Hill) - This is an area normally not open to the public. It has a variety of habitats - Redwood, California oak communities, grasslands, and mixed woodland. The butterflies are remarkable, the lichens varied, and we've found remarkable insects there as well. Birds in spring and summer include Grasshopper Sparrow and Lazuli Bunting. Mammals include American Badger! It is not easy to get permission to enter this fascinating area! Elevation gain and loss varies with trail, but this is a hilly area.
  4. Clarkia Trail @ Edgewood County Park - Serpentine grasslands, mixed oak, suburban areas, and chaparral. About 2 miles round-trip, moderate elevation gain (about 14 flights of stairs on my FitBit). The area is famous for wildflowers. It is also the trail I was walking regularly when first I discovered iNaturalist, so I have a special affection for it.
  5. Other places to which we can introduce each other. Special places away from the madding crowd. Anywhere that is particularly fascinating and preferably under-explored. I am always on the hunt, too, for the next regular trails to adopt.

Trails 1 and 2 I do most weeks; Trail 3 (which is actually a lot of choices of trail), is done but once a month. Trail 4 is whenever I feel like it. Trail 5 to Infinity and Beyond.

Respond with suggestions for good dates and locations - and let's get to convivial blitzing! - Jennifer

Posted by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon, February 10, 2018 04:19


Will touch base about weekend excursions!

Posted by catchang over 4 years ago (Flag)

Yay! I'm in! Will post with something a bit more solid than that when I can figure out my schedule for the next month or so. :)

Posted by kestrel over 4 years ago (Flag)

This sounds like a blast. You still haven't come to see my little project at the Koobs ( I'm sure your Sacramento County iNaturalist entries are slim. My entries for SM are certainly lacking.

Posted by vermfly over 4 years ago (Flag)

@vermfly - I've not even come to the CV for the CBThrasher! I am really lax in this regard. So yes, let's private conversation this into a definitive date. Maybe next weekend during the GBBC? I am leading a walk on Saturday but maybe could do Sunday?

Posted by gyrrlfalcon over 4 years ago (Flag)

Awesome! I can take half-weekdays off at the moment and would love to go out and further indulge my spring fever with some excellent company. Particularly intrigued by #3, but #4 is only a couple miles from my new place (and I haven't been on that particular trail yet), and pretty much anywhere in San Mateo County would be new, interesting, and convenient for me. I haven't been to "Rycenga marsh" yet, for one thing, or seen any North American rails besides Sora.

Posted by sea-kangaroo over 4 years ago (Flag)

Sounds fun - bug-hunt! How about Stulsaft, where I am free to beat some vegetation legally? :) Mid-March or later works best with my current schedule.

Posted by kschnei over 4 years ago (Flag)

What a wonderful invitation. I would love to “get back to nature” with you. I am available some Fridays a few Wednesdays in February. In the month of March, some Fridays but no Wednesdays. In April, most Fridays and some Wednesdays. I’m up to visit any areas and would be fun to explore new areas and find new stuff. Thanks

Posted by jetmouse over 4 years ago (Flag)

Weekends work for me 😃

Posted by metsa over 4 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for including me on this-- maybe I'll have to make a trip out to your part of CA, @gyrrlfalcon ! :)

Posted by hollycybelle over 4 years ago (Flag)

@gyrrlfalcon Not just a Curve-billed Thrasher. The first CBTH from the curvirostre group that is likely to eventually be split which would make this bird a first state record.

Posted by vermfly over 4 years ago (Flag)

I'm down for #3. These days work is super busy, I can do only weekends.
If you're looking for new spots to explore, here are a few I really like:
1) Skaggs Island: been there for a raptor tour, it was totally awesome, we got a dozen species including 3 lifers for me. The area is sealed off and requires special authorization for entry but we should be able to get access.
2) Grizzly Island: my favorite spot in the Bay, one of the largest estuarine marshlands on the Pacific Coast, human visitors there are few and far between.Lots of elks, otters, and raptors. Lots of waterfowls in the winter, clouds of dragonflies in the summer. 208 bird species on ebird.

Posted by clem about 4 years ago (Flag)

I know it's very far afield for you, but I'm hoping to lead a little expedition to the Knoxville Wildlife Area ( probably either on the Friday or Monday of the City Nature Challenge (Apr. 27-30). There are two spots I particularly love there: (1) a serpentine hillside right off the road that burned a few years ago in the Lake County fires and has had amazing wildflowers the past couple years, and (2) Zim Zim Valley, which has wonderful butterflies and wildflowers in the spring and leads to Zim Zim Falls ( if you (or anyone else on this journal post) has any interest. I'll also post this on my City Nature Challenge journal post.

Posted by kestrel about 4 years ago (Flag)

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