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This blog is predominately about camera trapping in California. We camera trap to save our souls and to teach primary school students about biology and conservation. We will also touch on other camera trapping news and musings, sets from afar, mediocre herpetology, sucky birding, and other natural history discussions.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Well, I am going to try and get back into this blogging thing in 2016. Lab work hasn't slowed down any, but time to stop using that as an excuse. I still have photos from Belize 2014 and some great herps from Okefenokee Swamp 2014, not to mention some camera trap stuff in the backlog.

So let's start emptying this backlog and hopefully people still have us in their RSS feed or like.

Last winter we set up on Deadman's Scree with the Codger and Carl. You can read the Codger's post. It wasn't a very successful trip from a camera trapping perspective. We hoped to get Pika or white weasels and got neither. So if Pika pictures are what you want make sure you saw Randomtruth's. Weirdo Scree Goose was found.

I set my cam under these rocks to protect it from what ended up being non-existent snow on November 10, 2014. It only ran for a little under a month because of the mice below. We picked the cams up in May with quite a bit of disappointment.

I think these are Peromyscus boylii because the ears don't look big enough for truei, but my mouse ID is quite rusty at this point, so feel free to chime in.

DSC01602 DSC01604 DSC01608 DSC01615 DSC01642 DSC01655

One visit by a Douglas Squirrel, with the ever frustrating foggy lensDSC01677

Back to the mouse DSC01683 DSC01709

My Chupacabra, Zoe, made the trip up and down the mountain with us. She was a trooper jumping over deep crevasses and holes in the scree pile big enough to swallow her. However, she would not cross the Yuba River as you can see in the last picture (Thanks Codge).

IMG_20150509_105649 IMG_20150509_122401 IMG_20150509_123325 JAKE & ZOE-30

Friday, July 10, 2015


I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago and saw this book in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Books with a Fennec Fox on the cover are always going to grab my attention.

As I flipped through it I enjoyed the photographic style

But then ....


Friday, June 19, 2015


Last year I put up a nesting box at school.

The past few weeks we have spotted a pair of Western Bluebirds coming out of the box and hanging out on the power line nearby.

Today, we confirmed our hopes!

School ends next week, but I hope to tell more of their story...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Finding the Freaks

Calochortus tiburonesis, or my white whale of the botany world

Many years ago, as a curious young person interested in the outdoors, I would spend hours researching locations in the Bay Area to explore through the site Bay Area Hiker.
It was here where I first learned of the Tiburon Mariposa Lily, while reading of hikes in Ring Mountain Open Space.

Along this wind-swept Tiburon ridge and its serpentine rocks, the freakish lily and several other rare plants have found a home in what would be a usually toxic soil.

For the lily, the ridge is its only home.

Many visits were made over the years and I never caught glimpse of the rare flower during its brief bloom -- either I was too early, too late or too poor of a observer.

Yesterday, I happened to be in Marin for CPR training and the thought randomly popped in my head to check on the lilies once more.

On what was a perfect CA spring afternoon, my partner and I ambled up the Phyllis Ellman trail along the dry grass landscape. Ithuriel's Spear were still out in strong numbers and provided a nice contrast to the yellow-brown background.

image Perhaps it was just my time, or my lady is a good luck charm -- immediately upon coming in sight of the 14 marker that is referenced as lily habitat, I spotted one right next to the trail, then another... they were all over the place!

about a half dozen in bloom

It reminded me of searching for owl pellets, how usually once you find that first one, then all the sudden it is like you can see the matrix, and the ground is actually covered in pellets.

so weird!

And then of course another great feature of Ring Mountain is that once you have brought your attention away from the ground, a few other things look pretty cool around you.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Why Hello There

Damn it has been forever since we posted. I don't have the time for a long eloquent post so this post-bath spotted towhee will have to suffice for now. Wish the flash had fired.

Camera trapped at non-natural puddle in the Sierras last weekend. Birds gotta drink and bathe somewhere during this epic drought. Many more birds at this same puddle to follow.