Wednesday, April 2, 2003

lookout report

Spent Wednesday March 26 through Monday at the Lookout. It was good
to be back after being away for over a month. The cistern is nearly
full thanks to the new rain gutters and the ample rain that has
fallen in the last few months. There is a lot of work to be done to
prepare for Spring surveys to begin on our 75 study plots scattered
throughout Oak Woodland, Riparian, and Chaparral communities
surrounding the Lookout. So most of my time was spent out in the
field doing last minute verifying and setting up our final plots. A
lot of the smaller creeks have flowing water and are full of tadpoles
and other aquatic life. Two Western Pond Turtles and a California
Tree Frog was found in a couple deeper pools of a small creek cutting
through sandstone bedrock near one of our oak woodland plots. The
small sandstone ledges overlooking the this creek contained numerous
bedrock mortors created by Native Americans working the acorn crop.
While walking through another oak woodland plot nearby I nearly was
sprayed by a striped skunk. Luckily it retreated and only fired a
small warning shot. Along the riparian corridor of Trout Creek east
of the Lookout Thursday morning there must have been over 1000 Yellow-
rumped Warblers and 100s of Warbling Vireos both en mass possibly on
migration north. Wild Turkey, Mountain Quail, Golden Eagle, and
Cassin’s Vireo were the bird highlights. Two 10 inch rainbow trout
along with another smaller species of fish was seen in the creek.
Walking around off trail towards Buckeye Camp I came across some
fresh bear scat, near a water hole, that must have been left earlier
in the morning. On the hike back to the trailhead on Hi Mountain Rd.
I ran into some botanists from Berkley as they were keying out a
plant. They said they had been coming to the area for the last 30
years and mentioned that the spring that feeds Trout Creek has been
flowing every time they had hiked this trail. Another interesting
wildlife incounter included getting to close to a 3 ½ foot rattle
snake in the chaparral on the way out of Hi Valley Sunday afternoon
with Holly Messer. Monday morning bright and early picked up signals
from B170 and Or204 NW of the Lookout somewhere over the mountains
between Atascadero and Big Sur.