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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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Beware of the Mountain Lions

We have had two different Mt. Lion warnings on the UCSC campus in the last couple of weeks.  When I got the text message for the second warning last week I decided to walk out to the area of the sighting and see if I could see myself a cat.  Alas, I was not attacked nor did I see a Mt. Lion. For that matter I could not even find any sign of Mt. Lions. No footprints, no scat.  I did not really expect to find much, but was still a bit disappointed. I have been busy finishing the last few experiments and getting figures and a manuscript ready for publication so I have not gotten outside much at all in January.  Hopefully February will be better and you will be seeing more frequent posts on CTC again.

I will have to just leave you with a couple of Mt. Lion footprints from 2011.

The first I found in the Yuba Gap placing cams ahead of the Codger's workshop.


The second was found a few days later at the Chimineas Ranch while exploring a canyon with Randomtruth.


Lastly an out of focus image of Mt. Lion scat. I can now proudly make bets in a bar that I could distinguish Mt. Lion poop from the other large American carnivores with my eyes closed and my nosed turned up. Just leave out the Southern 40 Miles of Arizona and New Mexico, Jaguars, Ocelots and Jaguarundis; my scent palate is not that refined yet.


On another note, what is the currently excepted binomial nomenclature for the mountain lion?  I see it as both Panthera concolor and Puma concolor in fairly recent guides and sources.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Link Dump

Male Western snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus)
Male Western Snowy Plover. (Photo by Lisa Cox/USFWS)

Javan Rhinos camera trapped (h/t Chris Hartzell).

City bird versus country bird accents (h/t Bay Laurel).

What American in their right mind would not want David Attenborough narrating their nature specials?

How Belgium came to dominate the world of beer brewing (via Ezra Klein).

I am not a huge fan of the end of the year lists, but Randomtruth's favorite flora of 2011 is an exception.

Cal scientists design a robot after lizards.

The CA wolf is caught by a camera trap outside of Butte Falls, OR before it crosses the border.

Cal Academy is having a photo contest.

Monterey Bay marine biologist indited for feeding whales while running her whale watching business.

Australian researchers discover the first known wild hybrid shark.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cougar Comics

Go check out today's XKCD comic.  Its about Cougars, and the kind we are interested in, not the kind that patrol the Marina District at night.  Be sure to click through to the original and read the mouse-over.

UPDATE:  Just realized XKCD doesn't mind embedding his comics in posts so it is now embedded.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Guest Post: March of the Marten

This is a guest post by our friend Sean P.  who joins us on many an adventure, from camera trapping the Sierras to herping and BBQing our way through the Mojave Desert. Please feel free to leave comments here and he will be sure to see them.

This is my second year being fortunate enough to work with Chris Wemmer, aka the "Camera Trap Codger." This year I was able to help set traps for his annual camera trap workshop held at the incredible SFSU Sierra Nevada Field Campus. My prime objective, the American marten (Martes americana).

I used a home-brew camera trap with a Sony Cybershot s-600 and a 'Yeti' kit. Unfortunately, when setting up, I did not think to replace the battery powering the mother board/control. Set for night shots only, I started on 7/24/2011... the battery died on 7/31/2011. Four weeks later, I retrieved the camera and realized the error.

Seven shots in eight days. Three weeks of nothing.

Disappointed but, upon return home, I discovered my luck.

First shot a blank- bummer!

Then... shots two and three- my prime objective!




These amazing creatures were followed with four shots of a lovely fawn.


Not bad for what could have turned out to be the camera trap blues! (Although I wish I had the other three weeks of photos...)