Sunday, August 15, 2010
Napa Vallejo Highway - Aug. 13, 2010
Walking Time: 1 hr., 5 min. (7:38 - 8:43 p.m.)
Start and End Point: Unpaved shoulder, N. Kelly and Napa Vallejo Highway, Napa, CA
This evening's walk took me from the North end of N. Kelly Road to Anderson Rd. (not shown on map), north of the Highway 29/Highway 221 split. What was most notable about tonight's walk? Was it the nice sunset? Or, the crescent moon beginning to rise, and the warm evening with the sound of crickets chirping?
No, the most memorable aspect of this evening's walk was strolling by a mouse metropolis. Every few steps I would take, I would catch a glimpse of a mouse dashing into a nearby hole in the dirt and dried grass (examples shown at right). No wonder there were hawks circling above. This area was a veritable supermarket for birds of prey or mouse-loving mammals.
The fact that this stretch of road was close to some of the few remaining open fields in this area helped explain why I was seeing an "intact ecosystem" with different kinds of predators and prey (although some were victims of run-ins with cars). I suspect if these fields disappear, the number of species will likely dwindle as well.
The Hillside Christian Center complex off Highway 221/Anderson Road (the point where I turned around) is shown at right.
Lots of Mice: 24 blurs in the dried grass/weeds (all probably mice); 3 dead mice + 10 live mice; 3 hawks circling above; 7 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 screw; 1 crow; 1 dead gopher? snake; 1 unidentified dead bird or mammal; 1 dead squirrel; and 1 hubcap.