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07 February 2009 @ 12:00 pm
Oh deer, Oh deer  
Place: Rancho Cañada del Oro
Date: February 7, 2009
Weather: Sunny winter hike.
Click through for large versions (1400 X 933 pixels) to use as desktop wallpaper.

I took Serpentine Loop Trail and then Catamount Trail. At the top I turned right, into Calero County Park. There I followed Bald Peaks Trail all the way back to Casa Loma Road and the staging area.

Deer on the Slope
There were a lot o deer near the creek this day. These four were grazing when I arrived. But as I started taking photos, they approached.

As you can see from the large version, their large ears are pointed in my direction. They were listening to the shutter sound from my camera.

These are mule deer -- the most common type of deer in northern California.

Startled Deer 1
I inadvertently startled these two deer as they were grazing on the lush grass by the creek.

Startled Deer 2
They ran across the trail and bounded over the fence and up the slope.

Startled Deer 3
A slightly closer look at the deer as they prepare to jump over the fence. It looked ridiculously easy for them. It's like they have springs in their legs.

Bay Flowers
A very large bay grows by the old cattle chute. It was flowering.

Cattle Chute
One of the reminders of the ranching history of Rancho Cañada del Oro, the old cattle chute by the creek.

This winter-bare oak has expressive branches. It's like they're trying to hook into the air around them, defying gravity.

Coyote Tracks 1
After the recent rains, the soil was soft. Along Catamount Trail, there were a lot of coyote tracks. By the look of them, they'd been left the night before.

Coyote Track 2
The slightly less moist sand near the top of Bald Peaks Trail also held some tracks.

California Newt
Descending toward Casa Loma Road, I came across a California newt. There was a sign on the bulletin board at the staging area, so I knew what it was right away.

Cute, isn't he?

Same Newt, Different Angle
The California newt, Taricha torosa, is also called the Oregon newt, Wikipedia informs me. It's a California Special Concern species.

Coyote Track 3
Another track from Bald Peaks Trail. You can clearly see the claw marks on the upper track.

Neither bobcat, nor cougar tracks, include claw marks.

Panoramic view of the ridges.

A seedhead catches the evening light as I'm getting closer to Casa Loma Road.