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Field Trip Report: Solstice Canyon, 8 May, 2010

May 8, 2010
Caterpillar Phacelia & busy pollinator (L.Johnson 5/10)

Caterpillar Phacelia & busy pollinator (L.Johnson 5/10)

Solstice Canyon is one of the prettiest canyons around. Although it is an uphill walk, it is not steep. The first mile or so is paved, permitting wheelchair accessibility. As a result, our resident flowers & butterflies expert Margaret Huffman was able to accompany us and keep us entertained with her encyclopedic knowledge. Leader Jean Garrett kept us moving along, but there was so much to see and hear and smell, that our 3-hour trip stretched out to over four hours.

A very cryptic Fence Lizard (L.Johnson 5/10)

Most of the local chaparral and riparian birds were building nests or hauling food to hungry nestlings or busily singing up a storm. On this warm day, the air was filled with insects which the various flycatchers were happily thinning out. The Black-hooded Parakeets – now resident in nearly all of our Westside canyons –  were flying in and out of nesting holes in the sycamores. The numerous small holes in the large granary tree by the bridge was nearly depleted of acorns: apparently the local Acorn Woodpecker clan had used up their stores and would have to rely on insects until the next crop comes in.

We heard at least 3 Canyon Wrens: 2 below the ruined house at the end of the trail, and one above the waterfall which was briefly spotted flying away from its song-perch. Hikers were in abundance on this beautiful day.

Next year we may begin this hike a few hours later in order to maximize the presence of butterflies. Cold-blooded creatures, they don’t really get moving until it’s nice and warm.

Pacific-slope Flycatcher (L.Johnson 5/10)

Flowering Plants Bird List Nos.
Black Mustard – I California Quail 1+H
Black Sage Red-tailed Hawk 3
Bristly Mallow – I American Kestrel 2
Bull Thistle – I Mourning Dove 15
Bush Mallow Black-hooded Parakeet 7
Bush Sunflower White-throated Swift 7
California Bay Black-chinned Hummingbird 3
California Sycamore Anna’s Hummingbird 8
California Walnut Costa’s Hummingbird 5
Canyon Sunflower Allen’s Hummingbird 2
Caterpillar Phacelia Acorn Woodpecker 12
Cliff Aster Nuttall’s Woodpecker 6
Deer Weed Northern Flicker 1
Elderberry Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3
Euphorbia Terracina – I Black Phoebe 6
Filaree – I Ash-throated Flycatcher 5
Fringed Indian Pink Warbling Vireo 6
Giant Wild Rye Western Scrub-Jay 10
Hummingbird Sage American Crow 10
Milk Thistle – I Common Raven 3
Purple Nightshade Violet-green Swallow 8
Purple Sage Oak Titmouse 2
Purple Sage Bushtit 6
Sagebrush Canyon Wren 1+H
Scarlet Pimpernel – I Bewick’s Wren 3
Sow Thistle – I House Wren 8+H
Sticky Monkeyflower Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Sticky Phacelia Western Bluebird 1
White Alder Wrentit H
White Nightshade Northern Mockingbird 2
Wild Cucumber European Starling 16
Wild Morning Glory – I Orange-crowned Warbler 2+H
Yarrow Yellow-rumped Warbler 3
Yellow Sweet Clover – I Common Yellowthroat 4+H
Yucca Wilson’s Warbler 3
Total Flowering Plants-35 Spotted Towhee 6
I – Introduced California Towhee 4
Song Sparrow 6+H
Butterflies Dark-eyed Junco 2
Buckeye Black-headed Grosbeak 4
Cabbage White Lazuli Bunting 2
California Sister Red-winged Blackbird 2
Checkered White Hooded Oriole 1
Lorquin’s Admiral House Finch 30+H
Painted Lady Lesser Goldfinch 20+H
Pale Swallowtail Total Birds 45
Sara Orangetip H = Frequently heard
Spring Azure
Western Tiger Swallowtail
Total Butterflies – 10
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