The recess -- a predators lair with cattle bones.
We weren't ready to quit this place, so we piled rocks around another camera (the one at the top of the page).
Three of the four camera traps we had set at Chimineas had no sign of ringtail.
I've talked about two of the sets already, and I won't bore you with the deermice and woodrats that visited the third set -- a low hillside of weathered boulders.
Of more interest was the secret petroglyph, but like the ringtail, it couldn't be found.
Our fading hope was the final location -- a v-shaped outcrop with a horizontal recess.
It was near a dry wash at the convergence of several routes including a dirt road and something had dragged cattle and deer bones into the recess.
Topographically it was one of those places that makes you want to climb around and explore.
Two months ago we decided the recess was the place to set the camera.
The problem had been anchoring the mounting post between the floor and ceiling.
I had jammed it here and there with a vague sense of self-loathing for failing to make an expandable post required by this situation.
After wedging some rocks under the post I was satisfied it would hold as long as nothing bumped into it.
So here we were two months later.
We looked into the recess and . . . "Noooo, tell me its not true" -- the camera was lying face down on the bedrock.
That might not be a bad thing.
We opened the cam and looked at the pictures -- there were 138 of them taken over five days.
As you might have guessed ringtail was missing, but . . . .
there were several pictures of a ringtail imitator.
A wood rat had chimney-stemmed the crevice at the back of the recess.
A male bobcat had also visited to explore the scents we had planted.
He didn't show his face, but he made a departing gesture 11 seconds after this photo.
He sprayed urine on the left side of the wall.
A fence lizard passed through, and one morning Lincoln's sparrow scratched about.
Correct my id if I am wrong.
One evening a kangaroo rat (probably Dipodomys heermanni) showed up.
A nice surprise.
A wood rat in the background and a kangaroo rat up front.
Craig checked it last week.
There was plenty of animal sign, and maybe ringtail had been there.
But I had set it for 24 hr pictures, a mistake.
Hot air movement triggered the camera continuously.
The card was filled with pictures of hot rocks.