Turkey Season Almost Over, Butterflys Abundant and Deer Hunting on the Horizon

One week left in the archery turkey season and I haven’t loosed an arrow. Actually I haven’t hunted since opening day. Last year’s turkey crop was below par and only one gobler is living on our ranch where we generally hunt. However, there are still turkeys in the area and with this spring’s rain promoting good grass growth, I’m optimistic that this summer will produce good sized flocks for next year. I  may still make one more attempt before the archery season concludes next weekend.

It’s the time of year when we conduct Alameda whipsnake surveys and I was out again this week. Although snakes were scarce, I did take a few photos and here’s a sample. According to Rob, this first photo is of a buckeye butterfly.

butterfly at creek cropped and resized

checkerspot 5-7-09 (2) cropped and resized

This checkspot butterfly posed nicely. This is most likely a chalcedon checkerspot. 

redtail soaring cropped and resized

Redtailed hawks rode the thermals. You can tell this bird is mature because their tails don’t turn red until they’re a couple years old. 

taranchula again cropped and resizedThis taranchula ducked into a hole when I lifted up the board he was under.

indian paintbrush cropped and resizedThe wildflowers are still blooming. Here’s an indian paintbrush.

It’s time to start planning for deer season. It looks like I’ll be hunting Nevada and California again this year. Time to tune up the bow and start shooting  more often as the coastal archery season is only two months away.

Reptile Survey

One of our management practices on the ranch is to monitor for reptiles and amphibians. May is reptile month as the snakes respond to warm weather. Today was my day to survey for whipsnakes.

Although I didn’t find any whipsnakes, a few other critters found the eye of my camera.

The weather was cool and mostly sunny. Here are a few of the creatures I observed.

lizard-cropped1

 Western fence lizards are a primary food source for whipsnakes.

valley-quail-2-cropped-and-resizedValley quail were mostly traveling in couples, apparently mating has begun.

garder-snake-cropped-and-resizedNext to a pond I found this garter snake under a piece of wood.

checkerspot-croppedThis checkerspot butterfly was a pleasant surprise.

horned-lark-male-cropped-and-resized1

Horned larks chased bugs in the short grass on the ridge top.

young-buck-cropped

I bumped into this young big and a larger buck as they fed on the open ridge at mid-day.

All and all it was a good day at the ranch, even without a whipsnake sighting.