Title Image

Title Image


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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Arabian Leopards

Friend of the Blog, Sebastian Kennerknecht, is doing a fundraiser over at kickstarter for a camera-trapping and wildlife photography project on the endangered Arabian Leopard.  Check out the pumapix blog for more details. Sebastian is offering 40% discounts on his work for anyone making a donation of $50 or more, on top of the other goodies you receive for your donation. The project is spear-headed by David B. Stanton who has a very ambitious goal of raising $15000 in the next month. $15000, will fund the project for an entire year. As readers of this blog know, camera traps of endangered animals is a great way to bring publicity to the cause via the Main-Stream Media. Seabass will be headed to Yemen to work on this project in the coming months.

I have donated through kickstarter before and it is a great way to fund small projects.  In my experience project leaders are very good at regularly updating their donors on the progression of the project. The way kickstarter works is that you pledge a donation.  When, (if) the goal is reached you are charged for your donation.  If the project falls short of its donation goal, all pledges are canceled and you are not charged.  This method insures that projects are fully funded or not funded at all.

I know times are tough economically but funding small projects ensure you get way more bang for your buck than traditional non-profits.

CTC is in for $50 $100

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Going In

image from www.sierraclub.org

"I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in."
John Muir

Growing up in the Bay Area, John Muir was a constant presence. Whether it was exploring the coast redwood forest in Marin named for him, visiting his home in Martinez on family day trips, or reminders of his passion and adventure every summer from teachings of the greatly missed Mrs. Terwilliger, his name and life continued to present itself; for his impact on our world and especially for that of Californians, cannot be undervalued.

Thankfully, the Oakland Museum of California has put on an exhibition celebrating his wild adventures, scientific contributions and ardent spirit that is well worth a visit. Each section of the exhibit provides interactive elements that appeal to both kids and the older folk. It also introduces modern day followers that carry the torch for preserving, appreciating and interacting with the natural world.

Highlights include animal dioramas connected to his behavioral observations, multi-sensory interactive explorations of some of his favorite lands (the vivid panoramic photos of Yosemite alone caused drooling from this particular nut) and selections from his journals and plant pressings.

The lone disappointment was the attempt to recreate some of his hairier adventures. These included sitting inside a tree during a wildfire and climbing to a ledge behind Yosemite Falls to view the moon. For such surely awe-inspiring events, the payoff was quite low.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Link Dump

Black Sand Beach
Lost Coast. Photo by Christian

A new species of bird discovered as a museum specimen by Peter Pyle of Devil's Teeth fame.

Will the Tea Party fight the protection of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake that adorns their adopted flag?

A sea lion found on the Santa Cruz Pier with gunshot wounds is recovering at the Marine Mammal Center in Marin. UPDATE: Bad news. The sea lion was euthanized.

As the Codger promised we will have a couple of posts from the High Sierras coming in soon.

Needed steroids to beat the ol' Oak and I am finally starting to win.  No more coastal camera trapping in shorts.  Yes, yes I knew better, but it was such a glorious day and we may have not been in our right mind after a day of beer brewing the day before.

Speaking of beer, check out my friend Kate's beer blog, Brew in Review.  She drinks beer, visits breweries, and brews her own beer.  She is also a herper.  Sorry guys but John already put a ring on it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Link Dump

CA Poppies

CA Poppies

Bad news for the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog.

IR camera trap images from the tropics.

Viviparous dinosaurs (Plesiosaurs)

Good news for the Lake Erie Water Snake.

Bird Evolution may have begun with the legs rather than the wings.  Also of interest, this seems to suggest that reptiles may have been warm-blooded and lost this feature as a common ancestor of reptiles and birds had and lost a protein used in endothermic metabolism.

Who lost their capybara?  I have always dreamed of owning one to live in a little pond in my backyard. Paris Hilton better not get one before me.

Clapper Rails nesting in SF.

Living with coyotes workshop in SF.

Also, poison oak sucks.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Beach Trapping Part II

Bringing you Part II of the beach set.  Again, I am leaving out a good chunk of images of researchers including some good action shots of what appears to be pitfall trap building. We did not get any new mammal species but got some fun new birds.

First up is another killdeer, this one looks like a juvenile under stormy skies.  Can you even find it in the image? Killdeer reside in Santa Cruz County year round.

Young killdeer

This time a bobcat actually looks in the direction of the camera instead just giving us a look at its tail.  Still not the glamor shot I am aiming for though.  I need it to get closer to the camera as the little dune is hiding the full animal a bit.


This was just going to be a stormy sky shot but then I found the little bird that set off the camera.
Stormy skies


A couple of Canada Geese in the background.  Bummed to have missed the Cackling Goose that was hanging out with these two for a couple of weeks.  In the fore-front is a Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus.  The Wimbrel is one of the most common of the curlews and migrates through the Monterey Bay Area as well as resides here.  Be sure to check the link for some ebird.org data. The Whimbrel only showed up on the camera one day, but there is a pretty steady stream of sighting at YLR with a slight peak in April when these pictures were captured.
Canada geese with Whimbrel

Three Whimbrel

A young killdeer standing atop the dead seagull.
Young killdeer standing on dead gull
And finally a sunrise image of some Brewer's blackbirds, Euphagus cyanocephalus.
Brewer's Blackbirds

Friday, August 12, 2011

Camera Trapping on the Beach

I made this set back in the Spring on the beach dunes pointing North away from the Ocean.  Yes I said North.  In most of Santa Cruz County the ocean, more properly Monterey Bay is South rather than West.  Believe me it is quite confusing to the internal compass.  I have to constantly remind myself, so that is South not West.  I happened to find a freshly dead seagull and moved it a few feet in front of the camera to see if something would come by and dine on it.  There were bobcat prints around the seagull, so I was obviously hoping I had scared it off and it would be back.

View of the set, looking into the beach dunes
The first things to come by were about 90 images of a field biology class.  I did not want to go through the trouble of getting their permission to post their images so you will have to take me at my word.

Next was a bobcat that came by during the night and sniffed around for a minute or two.  Unfortunately all I got were butt shots as it placed itself between the camera and the dead bird. This is not either mum or kit that we have seen so often before.

The bobcat did nothing more than sniff.  I guess it was not hungry enough to eat a three day dead bird.  Or maybe they don't care for greasy seagulls.

Charadrius vociferus
A killdeer checking the area out.  These may have one of the better latin names in all of the bird world. Charadrius vociferus. Vociferus indeed.

A ground squirrel.  Gotta say his real estate is much better than all the ground squirrels we see in the meadows of campus.  I am sure he has a bit of a collapsing tunnel issue though.

A raccoon stops by in the rain.

Spermophilus beecheyi
Beecheyi on guard once again.

Batteries only lasted 6 days due to the large number of human triggers and yielded mostly butt shots, but the killdeer and ground squirrel were new photographed species.

I reset the batteries and gave it another shot with only slightly better results that I will share next time.