About Me

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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fred in a Jonah log

T'is the season to hunt for nest holes and dens, and today we found a doozy.

Fred, who stands 24" at the shoulder gives you an idea of this Jonah log's capacity.

I don't think it could accommodate even a puny yearling bear, but gray fox and bobcat would find it commodious.

I'm optimistic. No spider webs, and the bedding is compacted.

We'll find out.

I took the picture from an opening on the top, but I don't think the extra opening should detract from its suitability as a den.

A back door is an asset when there are unwanted guests at the front door.

And as you can see, there's more resting space beyond the second opening.

(Thanks to neighbor Bea for the photo of me scoping it out.)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mystery of the Night Flies

When I finally figured out that fast flying bats were causing blank video clips, I started to pay more attention to the insects in my videos.

Soon I noticed that swarms of small flies often showed up when an animal passed the camera.

I wondered if the hungry swarms ever give the critters any peace.

On the other hand, maybe the swarms aren't parasitic insects.

Maybe animals just stir resting flies into motion when they walk by.

I compiled some clips to show you what I mean.

And since I couldn't make any sense of it, I wrote to entomologist Bunyipco (an old friend) for an answer.

He didn't have an answer, and responded as expected of a taxonomist -- "Catch some specimens for identification".

"And how do I do that, may I ask?"

"Simple, hang some fly paper where you see the swarms".

If I post any pictures of bears donning fly paper next year, you'll know what happened.