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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of four. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Taking a chance at Poison Water

The finished camera trap set at Poison Water

It looks like a flooded mine shaft dug by Lilliputians.

Ranchers around here excavated many of the springs, perhaps to increase flow or to make a pool.   

That's what they did at Poison Water Spring, and then they boarded it up.

The story has it that a disgruntled cattleman poisoned the spring to even the score with a competitor.

Boards truss the ceiling and keep the cattle from using it as a toilet, but perhaps the original reason was to make it off limits. 

Craig had already camera trapped here, and found the usual cast of characters.


This time we decided to put the camera inside the spring to get a bartender's view of the drinkers. 

Since daytime visitors, like lots of quail filled his camera's memory, we set the cam for night pictures only. 

It took some time to find a crack in the bedrock, but we finally managed to drive in a cut off t-post.

We were taking a chance, but it didn't look like anything as dumb as a camera trapper would venture into the deeper water. 


brdpics said...

I love places like that! I've watered up a couple of times in Canyonlands at a blasted-out pool set up in a cliff alcove. The old ranchers had a pipe system so they didn't have to climb up all the time for water but it has long since fallen into disrepair. Despite filering &/or boiling I still think about all of the bats, etc. that may be leaving "offerings" in the water but oh, well- I've never been the worse for the wear after getting refreshment there. Can't wait to see what comes to your set!

Camera Trap Codger said...

I met an old timer in the Santa Cruz Mountains many years ago, who got all of his water from a spring in a redwood grove. When he showed us the spring there was a dead wood rat floating in it. He said it didn't affect the flavor at all.

Bruce Mohn said...

Is the water potable now?

Camera Trap Codger said...

As far as I know, yes, because it is heavily used. I wouldn't want to drink it. You'd have to be really thirsty to drink from a spring used by livestock.