CORRECTION: The little 8-legged red beasts are mites, not ticks. Brooke Fabricant: perhaps clover mites. Diane Renshaw: might be spider mites. Many others call them "red mites". Vegetarians! Thanks, everyone!
Serpentine grasslands covered in wildflowers, some rare; a nice day for a hike. What's not to like? On the edgier side: baby ticks massed inside poppy flowers and rare succulents! Tick fights!!
Rancho San Vicente sits between Calero and Almaden Quicksilver County Parks, almost connecting them. (There are private homes along a road bordering Almaden Quicksilver Park -- a small separation.) Almaden Quicksilver borders Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve -- then on to Highway 17 and the green open spaces along Skyline. So this is a great keystone property. It will be open to the public within a year.
I hope that some protection is put in place for the rare dudleya and bitter root (Lewisia) succulents -- they sit exposed on the serpentine rock. The dudleya is right at the summit, on serpentine outcroppings that just invite clambering and sitting.
In addition to these rare succulents, we saw California plantain, the principal food for the larvae of the rare bay checkerspot butterfly. (The butterflies are there, but we didn't notice them.) The rare succulents, as well as a California poppy flower, were swarming with tiny bright-red juvenile ticks. I watched two ticks on a dudleya leaf, wrestling.
Here are three collections. The first is an overview. The next shows some of the people along on the POST hike. The third shows rare succulents and ticks: beware, it might gross you out!