One of the biggest joys of working on campus is running “The Dish” at lunch. The Dish is a recreation and conservation area in the foothills above the university. It is also the home of an old radiotelescope (hence the “dish” name). On a clear day there are breathtaking views from San Francisco to the north, across the bay to Berkeley and Oakland and south to San Jose. E and I run the trails three to four times a week. It is a good workout of 4-5 miles on rolling hills.
Over the years I have seen quite a bit of wildlife. Here is a list of what I remember seeing while running the trails around The Dish and the campus:
Birds include: Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, Canada Goose, Mallard,
owls, hawks, falcons, Golden Eagle, Turkey Vulture,
Ring-necked Pheasant, California Quail, California Gull, Mourning Doves,
swifts, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, flycatchers, jays, crows, starlings, Red-winged Blackbirds, ravens, swallows, wrens, chickadees, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, American Goldfinch, California Towhee, warblers, sparrows and finches.
(Can you tell I use to be a bird watcher as a kid?)
- Black-tailed Deer
- Black-tailed Jackrabbits and Cottontail Rabbits
- Red Fox
- Striped Skunk
- California Ground Squirrels (On a one mile section of the trail, I counted 163 squirrels.)
- Voles and gophers
- Gopher snake, garter snake, and California king snake (I have not seen a rattlesnake in the area.)
- Western Fence Lizards
- Tarantula spider (I have seen a 4-inch tarantula crawling along the path several years in a row.)
- Painted Lady Butterfly migration in late March/early April
- Annual infestation of caterpillars (soon to be Tussock Moths)
There are two protected species in the Dish area. I have not seen either of them: the California Tiger Salamander and a mountain lion.