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Monday, March 30, 2015

The Three Rs

Roadrunners, Rattlers and Roads. OK, I put that last one in there because I ran out of relevant R's pretty quickly. I was on my way back home from Castroville, and my route took me onto the infamous Pacheco Pass. I stopped at Dinosaur Point Pacheco State Park. Goal: add a roadrunner to my annual bird list. Sure enough, once there, I found a roadrunner inside of five minutes. The little speed-devil shot by on the gravel road, disappearing into the shrubbery. My Yellowstone U-turn didn't help as the bird was long gone by the time I was done. Tickled with my mid-state Roadrunner, I was off downhill towards the San Luis Reservoir. The Reservoir is so low on water it looks like a drained bathtub with a massive rim ring.

I drove slowly, enjoying the yellow Sticky Monkey-flowers along the roadside. I spotted what I assumed was a Gopher Snake. I think every 4 out of 5 snakes I see are Gopher Snakes, but this one seemed to have a v. pale tail. Yikes! I rushed over to the snake for a nice photo and video opt.


As the quickie video above shows, the Western Diamondback was a handsome creature, and was bent out of shape what with me interrupting its nap on the nice warm conglomerate. The photo looks like we were nose to nose, but I was using the telephoto setting on my little Panasonic camera.

When our little photo session ended, and I left, the snake hightailed itself to places otherwise occupied by roadrunners. I continued on down toward the reservoir, but it was road blocked - for what, I do not know. There was a trailer and a ranger/guard viewing me suspiciously. I drove up to him and told him I'd only come down for a quick look around and what with the roadrunner and rattler, I was pretty damned pleased; he cracked a smile.

I then headed back uphill where, just before I drove off, I spotted a nice pair of California Quail that were also amiable to a photo session.

I swear, at first, I thought he was grinning
But he wasn't happy - he read me the riot act

The Mrs., sleepy, grumpy and
hadn't gotten around to grooming that topknot
The whole mini-flock
There must have been other birds in the park, but the Roadrunner and Quail were the only ones I could find, but that's all you get if you don't do more than a quick drive through. Still, I was satisfied and got back on the Pacheco Pass, headed for home.

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