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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.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bobcat Sighting

No pretty pictures, but saw a bobcat this morning in the field across from the West Entrance to campus.  It was just to the west of the "High St" (no jokes) label.  See where the tree line goes north-south then jogs west-east quick before going back north-south?  Saw it in the open field heading towards the east end of that west-east treeline if those directions make any sense.

View UCSC in a larger map

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Conference of the Birds

John Burgess / PD

Attn. Bird Mavens!

After a few years of buzz about the (potential and then final) acquisition of the Jenner Headlands by the Sonoma Land Trust, few reports have emerged -- even among the devoted folk that frequent birder lists.

This weekend we have a wonderful reminder from the Press Democrat. A Hawk Hill Jr. welcoming migrants such as the Ferruginous Hawk? Yes, please.

Public access is limited, so check out the preserve site for info.

h/t: my pops

A Cackler and a Cooper's

A Cackler Goose from Antonelli Pond in Santa Cruz, CA.  A fairly rare migrant in this area.  Notice the much smaller size and shorter bill in comparison to the Canada geese in the photo.

A first year Cooper's Hawk also from Antonelli Pond in Santa Cruz, CA.  It only perched in the tree for 20 seconds or so before flying off to hunt coots.
Obviously not camera trap photos. Taken with a Canon DSLR and a Tamron 18-250mm walking lens which is not the sharpest lens in the world, but is very versatile.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

From The Morning

Hello and thanks to Jake for the warm welcome.

As mentioned on here in previous posts, I am working on a project in Marin. In tandem with the Camera Trap Codger, some chums, my 6th grade class and little bit on my own, the search has been for smaller mammals at springs and middens. At the other end of the spectrum, Puma concolor is also on our wishlist.

In coming months I will post the adventures and misadventures of this project and with the possibility of non-trap topics such as street art and urban exploration.

I'll start off with a sweet profile shot of a Western Gray Squirrel taken from a small spring set in the shadows of late morning light.

Nearby, a tree that perhaps our friend has been stripping for nest materials:

Black Bear in West Marin

There have been several reported sightings of a Black Bear in West Marin County.  While black bears are seen from time to time in West Marin and Southern Sonoma Counties it is a rare sighting.
Point Reyes National Seashore staff has received a half-dozen reports in recent weeks from visitors and local residents about an unusual visitor roaming the area -- a black bear.
"Although none of these reports have been confirmed by staff, it seems likely that at least one black bear is visiting the seashore and surrounding lands," said John Dell'Osso, chief of interpretation at the seashore.
The bear was last spotted a week ago about 1.5 miles from the aptly named Bear Valley Trail trailhead near seashore headquarters. It also has been spotted at Tomales Bay State Park, Tomales Point and there has been evidence -- a torn-up trash can -- that it has been at Heart's Desire Beach.
Dell'Osso said there shouldn't be any cause for alarm.
Maybe we need to think about bear proofing our Marin County cameras!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Introducing Christian

Haskell Peak view
I am happy to announce that my good friend and fellow camera trapper, Christian, AKA ecov ottos, has joined Camera Trapping Campus and will hopefully be posting from his projects in Marin County with the Codger as well as other topics. Beyond wildlife photography, Christian has a great eye for urban photography and fun Holga shots. He was into Holgas before it became the thing all the cool kids wanted to do and continues with it even after the fad has ended and everyone uses their hipstamatic app instead.  The above picture is a Christian Holga from the Camera Trap Codger's Camera Trap Workshop in the Northern Sierra's that we both attended last year.

Bad Aim

One of the benefits of the cheaper off-the-shelf trailcams like the Scoutguard is its quick trigger speed.  The major downside is that it does not have an LCD display. You have to plug in a remote control with a postage stamp LCD screen which works fine for aiming the camera as long as you remember to bring it with you.  Alas, I forgot it when I set up this set on the UCSC Upper Campus Reserve.  I placed the camera in a thicket of brush that had a little canopy with a game trail going through it.  This lead to a well hidden camera but a very short distance between the camera and the trail.  As you can see, even though I thought I had the camera low enough on the tree it was a bit still high.  However, I was barely able to get shots of animals no more than 18" from the camera crossing directly in front of it.  Homebrews may have missed these shots.  Curve was used as scent for this set.  I don't think I will forget the LCD remote next time and hopefully get critters in frame.  FAIL



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wilder Bobcats

My colleague and fellow grad student Esteban likes to ride his bike up to campus through Wilder Ranch State Park once a week or so.  Although it takes longer than the traditional routes it is a beautiful ride and has the potential for wildlife sightings.  He has been seeing bobcats, Lynx rufus, nearly every ride up for the past month now.  I gotta get out on that trail with my DSLR as soon as I can.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Midden and a Carcass

I set-up a camera this morning at the new location here in Santa Cruz.  It is a very interesting mix of habitat which should yield some good results.  Habitats includes salt marsh, riparian and chaparral.

On the hike I ran across a dusky-footed woodrat, Neotoma fuscipes, midden made of willow, cat-tail and what I think was dried hemlock stems.
I also found a dead raccoon, Procyon lotor, that was in the middle stages of decay.  Most of the fur was still left on the body, but the skull had been almost completely cleaned.  The carcass did not appear to be disturbed by scavengers.

I set the camera up about 20 meters from the dead raccoon on a game trail that looked to get moderate use.  There were also beds, probably deer, nearby along the trail and predator scat in the immediate area.  Here's hoping for some pictures of the wild cats and dogs.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Urban Coyotes

The City of Chicago has released GPS fitted coyotes into the city to help with the rat and mouse problem in what they are calling their Urban Coyote Program. This may be the greatest thing I have ever heard of.
A coyote loping along the South Loop streets this morning was probably at his job searching out rodents, according to city animal welfare officials.

A video shot overnight shows the coyote running down State Street as cars and a moving truck pass by. Brad Block, a supervisor for the Chicago Commission on Animal Care and Control, said the animal has the run of the Loop to help deal with rats and mice. He said no one has called today to complain.

"He's not a threat...He's not going to pick up your children," Block said. "His job is to deal with all of the nuisance problems, like mice, rats and rabbits."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Locations

sweet fog at Audubon Canyon
Heading to Marin tomorrow to check some cams with some friends.

Today, I also met with some folks about a new location here in Santa Cruz. Hopefully I will be trapping there by next week and have some good pictures soon.  I am really excited about this new project and will say more when it is up and running.

Photo by ecov ottos.