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!


Anonymous said...

Holy moly---the end of the trail is never far enough.

stray g said...

Wow! That's exciting!

I wonder if Namawal's watch manufacturer could make one that says: If you get to the end of the trail ... you've gone too far." (Or would that be: "The end of the trail ... is closer than you thimk!" (Maybe this is more like Jenny Holzer's work or fortune cookies....)

Jesse said...

"Remember / The trail will end."

And then there will be cake.

I mean a birds. :D

Namowal said...

"Keep an eye on the trail/You may miss the owl"
That's so cool that you saw the infamous owl! I'd settle for the western tanager, but a spotted owl? Wow!

Linda said...

That little Western Tanager is so pretty! Is that thing REALLY a spotted owl?

Sally said...

It's not a bag of peanuts! Amazing that an endangered species would be four miles off the 5 freeway.