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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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Catching Up

Approaching the Sierra Nevada at +20,000 feet.

Mono Lake was a welcome sight yesterday as we returned from a few days in northern Virginia.

It was a mixed family-and-business visit, the latter being time spent at the Smithsonian Archives researching the history of camera trapping.

Catching the metro to D.C. reminded me of my old days of gainful employment, with one notable exception. Nowadays few commuters read the paper.

I noted that the mental exercise of texting and other forms of cell phone amusement is not the same as reading the morning paper.

You just don't see the limp lower lip in people reading the paper.

But I digress.

Reading the old files of predator man Stanley P. Young once again carried me away to the American southwest of the early 1900s.

But there's just never enough time. You want to stay on track, but there are always these distractions and you don't want to pass up an important lead.

I was searching very specifically for Young's correspondence with a Chicago lawyer named Tappan Gregory who became an avid and highly successful camera trapper, but I was led astray.

There was Young's letter to "Old Wash the Dog" -- a colorful collection of shared memories. . .

"... do you recall the night club you dragged me into whence we witnessed all the possible gyrations of the human anatomy as the dancers danced (or did they?) and, when the music stopped to let the dancers 'cool off a bit', the pause was exemplified by beating the hell out of your table top with a one by six board..."

And in a letter to District Agent Everett Mercer there was this:

"You will recall too that Pancho Villa had me as a prisoner for some time after I was picked up by his outposts while following a wolf dragline mark across the border into Sonora."

Despite these sidetracks and many others I got what I was after, and I was sufficiently jazzed to outline a chapter on the flight home.

We touched down in SF and after a quick midday meal boarded the plane to Chico.

Winter may still have its grip on the Sierra, but spring had arrived in the Sacramento Valley.

A warm wind blew across the Chico airport when we crossed the tarmac.

The first order of business at home was to get Fred, who had been lovingly cared for by the owners of his border collie mother, Roxie.

A dog sure can make you feel good; our reunion was the usual waggle dance with yodeling.

The second order of business was to check up on Screech.

I turned on the TV and the owl is still there, but when it jumped up to the opening at 7:15 yesterday evening no eggs were visible on the floor of the box.

I have been hoping that Screech is a she-bird.

She's very preeny.

I'll just have to keep watching.

And oh yes, I re-posted that photo of the Chukar partridges.


Rolandisimo said...

I think I missed you at the Smithsonian by a few hours, DC trips are always too short and crazy.

owlman said...

Chris your mention of "chapter' once again made me anxious to see your book in print. Soon I hope?
Interesting post.

Camera Trap Codger said...

Sorry to miss you Roland -- Don and I had lunch in the cafeteria. Next time.

It's slow going Terry, but I'm pecking away at it.