Sutro Forest Visit: Hawk and Butterflies

It was a beautiful day up in the forest, bright and breezy.  We took the trail from Christopher to the South Ridge trail, then up the South Ridge Trail to the Native Garden.

Mowed down wide

The connector trail had been aggressively groomed, with the blackberry cut back in a wide swathe. It looks like preparation for the new trail they are planning to build. At least the vegetation along the actual South Ridge trail — which had been mowed down a few months ago — is growing back. Only a few wild trails exist now, and the habitat is being shorn of dense cover. [ETA: Read here for Six Reasons Not to Destroy Sutro Forest’s Understory.]

Wild Trail

The Native Garden is almost completely dry, except for some bushes and the patches fog-watered by the few remaining eucalyptus trees.


Red shouldered hawk in Sutro Forest

A hawk flew across and landed in a tree on the edge of the garden, then perched low enough to allow us to take some (blurry) pictures.

Red Admiral on a bush

West Coast Painted Lady

Butterflies chased each other, including trio of West Coast Painted Lady Butterflies and a couple of Red Admiral butterflies. Deeper in the forest, Red Admirals alighted on the path and the bushes allowing for better photographs.
All the paths are dry now, especially where they’ve been opened up and the bushes on either side mowed down. But there are still damp areas – on the West Ridge trail, and the Mystery Trail, anywhere where the understory is dense and the canopy hasn’t been opened.
That evening, the weather forecast was for fine weather overnight, and a Red Flag Fire Warning. Not in the Fog Belt, though. By sunset, the fog had started to drift in, and by midnight, covered Sutro Forest and Twin Peaks.


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