OwensPeak#4

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Owens Peak #4: Birds & Reptiles
© W.P. Armstrong (Updated 8 April 2019)

Work In Progress: Coming Soon

Owens Peak Birds

Northern Harriers on Owens Peak. Yesterday (6 July 2015) there were four of them. They seemed playful, flying straight up and then diving rapidy. I would lose sight of them and then suddenly look up and one was hovering above me! BTW, the British Harrier Jet was named after a harrier species.

High speed image of Northern Harrier gliding over summit of Owens Peak.

A Northern Harrier gliding over the summit of Owens Peak yesterday (8 June 2017). More commonly observed over marshlands, both males and females are definitely flying over and landing on Owens Peak. I have also observed a male dropping a mouse in midair that was caught by the female! Sony HX50V hand held.

Sparrow Hawk (American Kestrel), another raptor that commonly hovers over Owens Peak. It is held by a falconer student at Palomar College: Image scanned from color slide I took 44 years ago.

During winter & spring 2019 this scrub jay followed me on the north side of Owens Peak because of my handouts of Nature Valley Granola. It flew from shrub to shrub until I tossed it a piece of my nutrition bar! Initially it saw me feeding crums to ant nests along the trail.


Owens Peak Reptiles

This is one big, fat gopher snake. I encountered it on summit of Owens Peak 6 April 2019.

Yesterday I was surprized to find a western skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus) on Owens Peak north of Palomar College. This intersting lizard has a wide distribution along the Pacific coast of North America, from Baja California to British Columbia, and throughout most of the Great Basin. Juveniles have a conspicuous blue tail.

Another reptile encounter today on Owens Peak. For a hill in an urbanized area, this peak has a lot of wildlife and should be preserved.