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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.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A good trail

Coyote came down the trail at 7:07AM on March 29

We're in Marin County, and this shady trail gave me a good feeling.

It follows the contours of a steep slope, winding around the bulges and into the drainages, and all the way it climbs gradually.

Here and there the chopped duff shows where animals arrive or leave it for a steeper route to some unknown destination.

There was animal scat too.

So, I set the camera in front of a Douglas fir looking up the path, and a month later the camera confirmed my hunch.

There were 96 pictures of mammals and birds on the memory stick.

Black-tailed deer accounted for 30% of the animal pictures.

The bucks were wearing velvet antlers that looked like fuzzy bratwursts.

Deer mice took second place among mammals (22%).

There was lots of bird activity .

Hermit thrushes were on the trail at dawn or late afternoon.

Together with varied thrushes they were the most frequent avian users (28%), but scrub and Steller jays, a robin and dark-eyed juncos also visited.

Only one raccoon made an appearance,

but bobcats showed up four times.

All were moving up the trail, meaning none faced the camera. (I put out a second camera for the next go-around, and aimed it down the trail.)

And here's the only other coyote picture -- following a shower at 5:15 in the morning.

I had great hope for a camera I set at a coyote latrine about a quarter mile away, but the camera had an electrical short.

After I left that evening, it took 400 photos in two and a half hours -- filling the memory stick. A couple of moths were the only animals photographed.


John W. Wall said...

Cool set from that trail. Those moths.... Hilarious and terrible all rolled into one. I hope that camera didn't sit out for a month with a full memory stick.

Camera Trap Codger said...

It did exactly that, John. All of that obsessing about the yodel dog pictures at the latrine were for naught.

cliff said...

Very good trail and it does look steep. Very nice bobcat photo.

Did you happen to notice if the same bobcat used the trail more than once? Most of the time they will make a large circle, but from the well used trail they might go both ways.

Camera Trap Codger said...

I couldn't tell if it was the same cat, Cliff. The other 3 tail shots were further away. Hopefully I'll have some head-on shots next time.

Bpaul said...

If I keep reading this blog I'm going to go out and spend money i don't have on a new hobby I just don't need LOL.

What an excellent trail.


Kathy said...

I love your blog (especially as I live in Marin and enjoy getting a close up view of some of the critters I don't normally encounter on a daily basis). I'm sure you've written about your equipment before, but I'm so inspired by your photos I'm also now contemplating setting up a backyard Camera Trap. Any advise you could provide an amateur would be welcomed.