Monday, April 21, 2008
Spotting the Spotted
We went for a five mile hike at Placerita Canyon this morning. The last time we were there it looked utterly bleak because of several wildfires in succession, but today it looked green and lovely. We didn't see any rattlesnakes, which was a relief, and were pleased to see Western Toad tadpoles filling the stream that runs through the canyon.
We walked all the way to the waterfalls, and were lucky to see a Western Tanager, a gorgeous bird.
As we got near the falls we ran into a couple who said they'd just seen a Spotted Owl, which is an endangered species and I thought unheard of in this area. The Spotted Owl was the focus of a lot of disagreements in the Pacific Northwest.
They'd heard about it on the rare bird alert, and wanted to add it to their life list.
They told us how to find the bird. 100 yards ahead, past the tree with the broken limb, off to the left- "It looks like a bag of peanuts."
Jon and I both smiled and glazed over on the directions.
"If you get to the end of the trail, you've gone too far."
"That's how I approach life," Jon told them. Well we got to the end of the trail, and didn't see a bag of peanuts, and were heading back down the hill.
At first I thought it was just a very large fungus on a limb, but no, it really was the Spotted Owl!