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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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Triumphant Return of Don Coyote

To withdraw is not to run away, and to stay is no wise action when there is more reason to fear than to hope. 'Tis the part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not venture all his eggs in one basket.

I was getting worried that our old friend Don Coyote was no longer with us at Younger Lagoon.  He was in pretty bad shape with mange the last time we saw him eight months ago.




It seems, though, that he has returned.  Maybe he never went that far and we just kept missing him or maybe he has returned to the lagoon after a foray out of La Mancha. Or maybe this is his squire Sancho Panza who also suffers from the mange, but I like to think it is our old friend Don.


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Is Don recovering from the mange and growing some of his tail hair back?  This coyote looks a little smaller and younger than the Don we saw months ago. However it is too hard to tell with certainty whether or not it is the same individual with such a gap in the time between sightings.

What do you think?  Is this old Don or is it Sancho?  All our old pictures of Don Coyote for comparison.  Either way he moves along, showing his tail for only a single visit in the two week set.

Stay tuned for a few more photos from this set.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Link Dump

 Red-breasted Sapsucker, Terra Linda

Impact of mice on the Farallones may result in the use of brodifacoum.

Prehistoric KRAKEN?

Javan Rhino now extinct in Vietnam.

White-nose syndrome currently ravaging bat populations confirmed as caused by fungus.

Fascinating read on an adventure to find the thought-to-be extinct Imperial Woodpecker.

A Great White spotted a few miles from JK's house.

Monterey Bay Aquarium releases their White Shark.

Pika Pika Pika.

Turtle Roadway Mortality Study in the Northeast US.

Bigfoot walking on the sun! (please click through on this one)

Drawings of Australian Lepidoptera from the 19th century.

I am so jealous of these Santa Cruz Kayakers.  (Again must click through for this one)

UPDATE:  One more shark link as a surfer was attacked off Monterey County this morning.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The White Whale (Black Bear slight return)

"Aye, aye! and I'll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition's flames before I give him up."

For the past two years, the infamous Black Bear of Marin has haunted this particular camera trapper, playing the role of Moby Dick to my Ahab.
Several reports have emerged from Point Reyes, across the county border in Petaluma and most recently at Kent Lake.
To capture images of a bear would be truly incredible -- for the species has been missing from Marin/Southern Sonoma for over 100 years!

On the heels of the latest report, I resumed the quest and headed out to Kent Lake.
Two cams were deployed, one focused on a set of boulders, the second in a circle of burned redwoods.

The anticipation was excruciating, but I somehow managed to hold off a check-in visit for 3 weeks...

The Results:
Redwood Cam

This was simply a horribly designed set. No bear and I deserve the results. Just going to walk away from this one.

Boulder Cam

I danced with the devil here, placing an unlocked cam in a location not terribly far from a trail. Perhaps, there is even more Ahab in me than I care to admit...


set view from behind boulder


  video
10.13  10:22 PM


10.20  3:42 PM


I dig the gray foxes and to get an afternoon capture with them just chillaxing on a rock is a treat. Even without the bear, a feeling of success was attained.

However, the quest will continue...




Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another Big Buck

Not sure if this is the same guy I photographed two years ago (probably not), but he is a big one.  He was standing by the side of the road on campus as I was heading into lab this past Saturday, but I only got the images on my computer tonight.


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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Young Bobcat is All Grown Up(?)

I think these images are all of the same bobcat. I also believe this is the young bobcat we photographed last Spring with its mom.

If so it appears to be on its own now as we only photographed it by itself, but it is also possible that it is the redder male we have also photographed and saw stalking through the mustard grass last spring.


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 What we do know though is it is a male. 


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 I e-mailed the Codger for confirmation that I was looking at what I thought I was looking at.


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"High and tight, but still in sight"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rat Tales

Christian had promised that I would post more pictures from the marsh at YLR.

I am usually running behind, but those of you that know me personally, have seen that I have been extra bad and behind this past month.  The start of the quarter, taking a class for the first time in two years, on something I know almost nothing about (RNA bioinformatics), and trying to wrap up the last figure and a half for a manuscript has left little time for more fun pursuits.

So here are a couple of quick pictures of a rat from Santa Cruz. I assume it is a dusky-footed woodrat, rather than an invasive rat, but it is hard to see a lot of fur on the tail in these images. The crop in image #2 does look a little hairy on the tail, a there are brief glimpses of a lighter under-belly.  Assuming my call is correct, these are our first N. fuscipes pictures on the homebrew. Rodents weren't really a target species on this set, but I will take them!  A bit of exploring led us to a much more accessible hemlock midden, so we will have to actually target woodrats in the preserve in the future.

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Posing on the branch in the rain/fog.
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Crop of above image. Looks like it may be a male with that bulge under the base of the tail.
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Hidden a bit behind the branch
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Crop of above image. That is a looooong tail.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Link Dump


Slender Salamander
Batrachoseps gavilanensis - Gabilan Mountains Slender Salamander



Nobel Prize Week was a little "meh" this year.  I am not super excited about the Physiology and Medicine or the Chemistry prizes.  Deserving for sure, but the winning topics are just not of much interest to me.  I am NOT a crystallographer. I can barely stay awake during their talks. Despite trying, I have very little appreciation for poetry, so it is tough to get excited about the Literature Prize.

However, my alma mater gets a share of the physics prize and the oldest joke in Berkeley continues. "Q: What is better than winning a Nobel Prize? A: The free lifetime parking pass." It does remind me of one of my first days at college when I saw two cars double parked in the NL spot east of Memorial Glade. It made me realize the bar was pretty damn high and scared the hell out of me.

Salmon vandals strike.  I was a part of the United Anglers program way back in the late '90s where CTC went to High School. At least the fish were unharmed, but it must have been emotionally devastating.  Releasing fish you had spent a year raising from egg was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had.

A study of 300 Sea otters tells us ...? Well, they are still trying to figure it out.

Rains are here already and it is predicted to be a cold wet winter.  Time to start thinking about getting out the rain gear and doing some salamander hunting. I need to get my flashes fixed.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Brewer's Corner - Gruit Ale

Hello folks. This is an installment of an occasional brew post series that will occur at Camera Trapping Campus.

As Jake mentioned, he focuses on the West Coast Ales with his UCSC lab chums, while I apparently dabble in the "hipster" side of brewing.

A mixture of herbs, Gruit Ale was a popular beverage in Europe until the 16th century (the theories behind its fading glory are rather interesting).  I was introduced to the drink at the great Workshop in San Francisco's Western Addition, which was offering classes in brewing Ginger Beer. These were led by a fellow named Scott Mansfield, who in addition to teaching us how to make the traditional, alcoholic Ginger Beer, brought along a baby keg of Gruit for us to sample. Also, as a class attendee, I walked home with a bag of herbs to make my own Gruit: yarrow, St. John's Wort, mugwort and a pinch of wormwood. These herbs are known for their psychoactive qualities and for you ladies out there --  regulating cycles.


It took several months, but an attempt at the Gruit finally occurred. Together with my brewing chum, M., this would be the first true brewing experience.

First the herb mixture sat steeping in a simmering pot.


Then poured into a gleaming new carboy, "Bubbles".


Yeast and malt syrup were added and Bubbles was locked up for about 7 days.


After a week of fermenting, a tablespoon of corn sugar was added to 12 oz. bottles, along with the Gruit and the ale was given time to carbonate and mellow out.

Served in a frosty glass, the ale proved to be exceedingly smooth and tasty. A great success for a first attempt at brewing!

the psycho-regulator


Sierra Valley Foxes Continued

About a month ago I posted about some gray foxes in the Sierra Valley.  We got pretty good shots of mom and pup.  Well, I had also set an IR camera up on video at the same set, that I only now downloaded.  I had forgotten it was set to video and thought it was on still image so I was not all that excited about looking at IR stills when I had the nice color homebrew pics.  See I have a ScoutGuard model that has the programmer and image viewer on a remote control.  I don't have a clue where my remote control is, hence how I did not know whether it was set to video or still.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I downloaded the files and realized they were videos.

But first a still shot from the next morning to set the scene a bit in your mind while you watch the videos.


These first couple of videos do a great job of showing just how little the gray foxes care about the homebrew white-flash.  The homebrew gives a couple of early flashes (red-eye reduction mode) and then gives the big flash and takes the image.







I thought we had a mom and her pup. But in this video (88) it appears there are three maybe four individuals.  You never see more than two at a time, but unless exits the scene at the bottom one circles back around and re-enters the scene from the top in a matter of seconds mom may have had more than one pup.




In this video one fox finds the camera and moves it around a bit.