I drove along Mines Road and San Antonio Valley early this morning hoping to see some reptiles. In the past, I’ve seen Gopher Snakes, Aquatic Gartersnakes, and Western Rattlesnakes along this road. However, none were to be found today.
The main highlight of the day was a herd of Tule Elk resting under some trees in San Antonio Valley. They were quite close to the road, and easily seen from the car.
Other mammal highlights included both Desert Cottontail and Black-tailed Jackrabbit off of Mines Road. Birdwise, I saw a Greater Roadrunner and a California Thrasher, both very interesting species that aren’t seen often. I also saw a pair of Turkey Vultures feeding off of a California Ground Squirrel carcass on the road and took this picture:
While they are quite common, Turkey Vultures are still quite a sight to see close up.