Geysers Road

Geysers Road, Sonoma County, California
May 27, 2007

Geyser Peak from Geysers Road

California Tortoiseshell       Nymphalis californica       Nymphalidae

I saw more California Tortoiseshells this day than I ever have before. The biggest numbers were flying down Little Sulphur Creek at the bridge. I did a count and estimated that at least 170 were passing near the bridge every minute. The flow was steady during the half hour that I was there (approximately 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.). This amounts to over 5000 California Tortoiseshells during my half hour stay alone.

California Sister       Adelpha bredowii       Nymphalidae

California Buckeyes were in full bloom at many points along Geysers Road and attracted many butterflies.

California Tortoiseshell       Nymphalis californica       Nymphalidae

Rural Skipper       Ochlodes agricola       Hesperiidae

Woolly Sunflower       Eriophyllum lanatum       Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Mount St. Helena Morning-Glory       Calystegia collina       Convolvulaceae (Morning-Glory Family)

Big Sulphur Creek

This was an excellent spot for dragonflies and damselflies. Also present were two American Dippers (one adult and one immature), one or more Spotted Sandpipers, and a Common Merganser with seven small ducklings.

Gray Hairstreak       Strymon melinus       Lycaenidae

Exuvia       Big Sulphur Creek

California Hairstreak       Satyrium californica       Lycaenidae

Western River Cruiser       Macromia magnifica       Macromiidae

I netted this individual to take some photos and then released her.

Western River Cruiser       Macromia magnifica       Macromiidae

Same individual as above.

American Rubyspot       Hetaerina americana       Calopterygidae

American Rubyspots were common along Big Sulphur Creek near the bridge.

I started at the Alexander Valley end of Geysers Road and ended at the Cloverdale end. The road crosses Little Sulphur Creek one time and Big Sulphur Creek one time. I observed the following:

Birds (60 species):  Mallard, Common Merganser, Wild Turkey, Mountain Quail, California Quail, Turkey Vulture, Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Mourning Dove, Anna's Hummingbird, Acorn Woodpecker, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Western Wood-Pewee, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Cassin's Vireo, Hutton's Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Steller's Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Common Raven, Purple Martin, Violet-green Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Oak Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Bewick's Wren, House Wren, American Dipper, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Wrentit, California Thrasher, European Starling, Orange-crowned Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Western Tanager, Spotted Towhee, California Towhee, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Sage Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Western Meadowlark, Bullock's Oriole, Purple Finch, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch.

Mammals:  Gray Squirrel

Reptiles and Amphibians:  Western Whiptail, Western Fence Lizard, Western Skink, Foothill Yellow-legged Frog.

Butterflies (28 species):  Northern Cloudywing, Propertius Duskywing, Rural Skipper, Umber Skipper, Anise Swallowtail, Western Tiger Swallowtail, Pale Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Pacific Orangetip, Orange Sulphur, Gorgon Copper, California Hairstreak, Sylvan Hairstreak (sylvinus), Gray Hairstreak, Spring Azure, Acmon Blue, California Tortoiseshell, Mourning Cloak, American Lady, Red Admiral, Mylitta Crescent, Northern Checkerspot, Leanira Checkerspot, Variable Checkerspot, Lorquin's Admiral, California Sister, Common Ringlet, Common Wood-Nymph. Plus probable Common Roadside-Skipper and Edith's Checkerspot.

Dragonflies and Damselflies (15 species):  American Rubyspot, Emma's Dancer, Sooty Dancer, Vivid Dancer, Bluet sp., Western Forktail, Western Pondhawk, Widow Skimmer, Common Whitetail, Flame Skimmer, Darner sp., Pacific Clubtail, Bison Snaketail, Beaverpond Baskettail, Western River Cruiser.

Alan Wight
Sonoma County, California

All Photos © 2007 Alan Wight