|Top (l to r): Mick Bondello, Lisa Close, Arvid Ekenberg, Thea Cooper, John Adragna, Antony Shadbolt;
Sitting: Kolby Olson, Cindy Roessler, the Codger, Bill Wilson (photo by Mick Bondello)
The Codger delivered the 5th camera trapping workshop in mid-July to an assemblage of eight curious naturalists.
Most were Californians, but two came from New York, and one Kiwi attended from far-away New Zealand.
This was the 5th workshop I have given at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus, and the days rolled by quickly.
The resident colony of mountain beaver continues to be a red-letter attraction, and most everyone was game to climb Deadman Scree for bushy-tailed wood rats.
To our ever-growing species list we added two new species.
|The elusive yellow-bellied marmot.
Participant John Adragna gave us an image of a montane vole on the second morning.
The class probably thought my enthusiasm overdone, but new species records energize the codger like a triple espresso.
Until now, we've only gotten long-tailed voles; so now we know the two species coexist right on campus.
|Pouring through hundred of images.
Indeed, the chipmunks paused briefly to gape at their images, but it didn't stop them from stuffing sunflower seeds.
But now I want to send you to Cindy Roessler's Dipper Ranch Blog for another view of the workshop.
It features a metaphysical trilogy on previsualizing camera trap sets.
"Set theory" is of course a topic I touch upon, but her treatment will give you a first hand perspective.
Start with "Thinking backwards, the camera", and then read "Thinking backwards, the animal". She informs me that the third and final piece is on its way.
Last but not least was the hands-on workshop for local Sierra County school kids.
It happened on the last day (after the camtrapping class dispersed) and started with Bill's slide show, which thoroughly engaged the kids -- who piped out the names of the critters.
Then it was snack time (graham crackers and milk are now passe).
While the kids stoked calories we instructed the parents on how to set the cameras on stumps around camp.
When kids and parents had set their cameras we sent them all off to play in the Yuba River.
By now (5 days into the bargain) Bill and I were dragging butt, but the kids were even more fired up to view the video clips.
Its nice to see such rousing enthusiasm over chipmunks.
Finally a postscript: The class always gives me new ideas, and this time I learned the secret of finding the furtive but charismatic mountain king snake.
My teacher prefers to remain anonymous, but while walking Fred this week I put her counsel to practice.
Obviously you've got to be in the right place at the right time, but the mantra seemed to help.
Thanks guys . . .
I am grateful to "alumni" Ken, Jake, Sean, and Bill who set cameras in our old camtrapping haunts in June in preparation for the workshop.
RandomTruth's camera magic, from that log set he made in June will inspire you. Be sure to check it out.
And many thanks to Bill who stayed on to assist the full week, which was a great help.