From the perspective of someone who
lives outside the Bay Area, and particularly one living south of the
Bay Area, there are 3 Bay Area specialties that one "must get" there.
[This is not strictly true; see below.]
|These are: Swift Forktail Ischnura
erratica (right; male 31 Mar 2007 Monte Bello OSP, Santa Clara
Co.); San Francisco Forktail Ischnura gemina
(below left; male 4 July 2007 Stevens Creek, Santa Clara Co.); and Red-veined
Meadowhawk Sympetrum madidum (below right; male 2
June 2007 Monte Bello OSP, Santa Clara Co.).
The range of S.F. Forktail is contracting, and it no longer occurs
south of S.F. Bay, as it has been 'swamped out' by interbreeding with
Black-fronted Forktail. Swift Forktail and Red-veined Meadowhawk can be
found in the coast ranges north of the Bay Area, but sites are less
well-known. The meadowhawk is actually found throughout almost all of
northern California, but its occurrence is local and erratic. We
actually found it in Yolo County, during a lunch stop in 2007, but no
where else that year.
The Bay Area has many fine locales for
odes. Those that I highlight below are just those that we visited in
|Monte Bello Open Space
Preserve, along the ridge of the coast range west of Palo
Alto, Santa Clara County, has been a regular "home patch" for David
Edwards & John Hall, who have reported odes here from mid 2004 on.
Details to each spot within this Preserve, and adjacent Skyline Ridge
OSP in San Mateo County, are in the CalOdes archives. These sites
include a "seep" along a trail through the woods (below left) and an
open reed-lined pond (below right). The "seep," and a small shady pool
with lily pads just above it, are now a well-known locale for Swift
Forktail from late March to June. See my Swift
Forktail page for more details. The reedy pond can be very
good for variety from April through September. It has a relict
population of Northern Spreadwing (a species otherwise restricted to
higher montane areas in California), plus Black & Spotted
Spreadwings, and is a good locale for Eight-spotted & Red-veined
Meadowhawks, in season.
|Ft. Point in San
Francisco, essentially under the south end of Golden Gate
bridge, is both a National Historic Site and a known locale for the
rare and local San Francisco Forktail. Full directions are on Kathy Biggs's site.
In 2007, we missed it during visits on 8 Apr & 2 June but others
found it here in July. Our efforts were hampered by cool, foggy
conditions. Other Bay Area sites for San Francisco Forktail include a
ditch at the north end of Coyote Point park in San
Mateo County (but we missed it here in April), and the shallow,
weed-lined Stevens Creek along the La Avenida bikeway
in Mountain View, Santa Clara Co., were we found both Black-fronted
& San Francisco Forktails on 4 July 2007 (males of both in-hand).
|The Marin watershed lakes —
Lakes Lagunitas (shown left), Bon
Tempe, and Alpine, west of Fairfax — are
popular hiking areas and excellent for odes. A page on our visit on 7
Apr 2007 has many photos & details. The spring visit was for
Beaverpond Baskettail & Exclamation Damsel (success!), and we had
California Darner and teneral Grappletails.
On the other side of the Bay, east of Fremont in Alameda County, is Sunol Regional Wilderness.
Alameda Creek runs through the center of the park, set among oak-clad
hills, and the creek has fine stands of sycamores (right) and willows.
Our only visit in 2007 was in November, so odes were comparatively few,
but California Spreadwing (below) and Walker's Darner were present in
fair numbers. In summer this is a site for Bison Snaketail,
Grappletail, and other goodies. Reports of visits by Edwards & Hall
visits to the park throughout the years are found in CalOdes archives.
There is usually an entrance fee.
|Just a bit outside the Bay Area is Cold
Canyon, Solano Co. Here a rocky creek runs intermittently into
Putah Creek, entering just below Monticello Dam at the intersection of
Solano/Yolo/Napa counties. A trail climbs along the creek into Stebbins
Cold Canyon Ecological Reserve. When the creek is running in autumn,
this is a well known site for California & Great Spreadwing, Red
Rock Skimmer, and Walker's Darner. See my page on
successful Oct 2006 visit. However, 2007 was a very dry year and an
attempt on 10 Sep found the creek dry; the only ode was a single
There are many other good Bay Area
sites. For example, Pt. Reyes and coastal Marin County have several fine spots. I look forward to visiting some of these
in the future.