Dusky-footed woodrat or pika??? Z and I were happily hiking along Fort Ord's trail #41 when she pointed out a small, grey-tannish animal off to the side of the trail, hunched in fear of being noticed. I looked back and took note of its round ears, short nose, plumpness, and furry cuteness while I was fumbling to get my camera out to take a pic of it. Z claims it had a long tail while it scurried away towards the brush. I never did see the tail, so I don't know. Unfortunately, Fort Ord Public Lands is lacking in its online public education of the animals that live there... we may never know what it really was.
ps 02/11/11 - Well, I'm always up for learning something new and proven wrong. Pikas are not found in our area. Z was the one who looked it up in her mammal field guide at home and claimed it must have been a dusky-footed woodrat. As I've been hiking, I've noticed more and more of the dusky-footed woodrat houses, but have yet to see the actual animal again.
I never really looked at the blooms up-close before. They're beautiful! My friend told me the California buckeye is poisonous to European honeybees (Apis mellifera), but not to our native bees. I was surprised to hear this. Has anyone else heard this?