Species Parade, Episode 21

When is a not-with-your-own-eyes-sighting a sighting?

Mountain lion, as seen on game camera

For several days and nights this summer, I’ve been ponying the horses down to a small parcel of Bureau of Land Management land for some grazing while I camp overnight. Years ago, the parcel had a grazing allotment which meant that sheep grazed there for months at a time. The shepherd was not a terribly good steward and that the allotment went away, according to a BLM official.

In any case, it has been a fun place to camp with the horses, who are bound to a few hundred acres by virtue of the steep canyon walls and barbed wire fencing of private land to the south.

But it all came to an abrupt end this month. At about midnight one night, I heard a bit of a crash, then nothing more. I decided against investigating, erring on the side of sleepiness (Later, I would thank myself for this digression.)

In the morning, I inspected the horses. My big mare, Shea, had a bad scratch on one hind leg and lesser scratches on her chest. Nothing of terrible concern.

Cat scratches on our burro, Wallace

But Wallace, the burro, had scratches that clearly, obviously, frighteningly, indicated he’d been attacked by a mountain lion. They were three parallel scratches on each side of his tail.

I talked to several locals about what happened, including a game warden. They speculate that the lion was either quite young or quite old and trying to see what it could manage with this attack. Thankfully, not much. Wallace needed only minor medical care. I swabbed his superficial scratches with diluted iodine.

I’m not one to tempt fate, though, especially when it comes to the welfare of our animals. We’re done with BLM overnights.

Perhaps not coincidentally, I caught this big fella on the game camera. (photo at right)

Read about a dog’s death in the rural West.

Mammals:

Coyote

Elk

Mule Deer

Cottontail Rabbit

Bears are hungry and more visible due to lack of acorns (because of a late frost)

Brush Mouse

Rock Squirrel

Golden Mantled Squirrel

Chipmunk

Pocket Gopher

Skunk

Raccoon

Abert’s Squirrel

Muskrat

Marmot

Bobcat

Mountain Lion

Black Bear

Spotted Sandpiper

Birds:

Golden Eagle

Bald Eagle

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Nuthatch

House Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Red-Winged Black Bird

Canada Goose

Mallard

Gadwall

Great Blue Heron

Townsend’s Solitaire

Mountain Bluebird

Western Bluebird

Kingfisher

Red Shafted Flicker

Red-winged Blackbird

Steller’s Jay

Black Capped Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco (and its many varieties)

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Spotted Sandpiper

Lesser Goldfinch

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Western Screech Owl

Rufous Hummingbird

American Coot

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Common Poor Will

Nighthawk

 

Species Parade, Episode 20

Lazuli Bunting

There’s a case to be made against dog companions. They warn and ward off animals you might otherwise be privileged to see. Then again, if you pay attention to what dogs notice and if you keep them obedient, you can reduce disturbing wildlife and benefit from dogs’ observations.

Thanks to dogs, I’d like to think I’m more in touch with my place in the country and more aware of our impact. Particularly, I’m keenly aware of how much we humans impact wildlife survival. Even good intentions have negative consequences: a tub of fresh water drowns a baby bird.

I practice Leave No Trace but when you think about it, Leave No Trace is an practical and existential onion with multiple layers. There’s so much impact we aren’t aware of or don’t acknowledge.

56 species for this episode. (And likely another 50 that I did not see.)

Mammals:

Coyote

Elk

Turkey displays, in hopes of saving chick (which coyote is eating)

Mule Deer

Cottontail Rabbit

Brush Mouse

Rock Squirrel

Golden Mantled Squirrel

Chipmunk

Pocket Gopher

Skunk

Raccoon

Abert’s Squirrel

Muskrat

Marmot

Bobcat

Birds:

Adolescent bear and chipping sparrow

Golden Eagle

Bald Eagle

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Nuthatch

House Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow

Red-Winged Black Bird

Canada Goose

Mallard

Gadwall

Great Blue Heron

Townsend’s Solitaire

Mountain Bluebird

Western Bluebird

Kingfisher

Red Shafted Flicker

Red-winged Blackbird

Steller’s Jay

Black Capped Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco (and its many varieties)

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Western Screech Owl

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Common Poor Will

Nighthawk

Indigo Bunting

Lazuli Bunting

Species Parade, Episode 19

The snow is mostly gone. Migrating birds are mostly back. It is a noisy place around here and I find myself scrambling to identify birds by call. Why do the need for a refresher course every year? And did you know that Steller’s Jays sometimes mimic Red-tailed Hawks?

I’m especially fond of raptors, even though I struggle with identification. Seeing two Golden Eagles hang out on BLM land (where I have camped) and these two Red-tailed Hawks together is a special treat.

Next month, the game camera goes up and I’ll hope to add bear and who-knows-what-else to the list. 45 species this time around.

Mammals:

Coyote

Elk

Mule Deer

Cottontail Rabbit

Brush Mouse

Rock Squirrel

Golden Mantled Squirrel

Pocket Gopher

Skunk

Raccoon

Birds:

Golden Eagle

Bald Eagle

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Nuthatch

House Sparrow

Red-Winged Black Bird

Canada Goose

Mallard

Gadwall

Great Blue Heron

Townsend’s Solitaire

Mountain Bluebird

Western Bluebird

Kingfisher

Red Shafted Flicker

Red-winged Blackbird

Steller’s Jay

Black Capped Chickadee

American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco (and its many varieties)

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Western Screech Owl

Hummingbird (un-id’ed)

Species Parade, Episode 18

Pardon my absence and that of the Species Parade. Between exciting holiday visits, a death in the family, and the development of the Best Horse Practices Summit, time got away from me.

Last month, we mourned the loss of Belle, our 12-year old Basset Hound mutt. From all indications, she met her end when confronting a mountain lion, about a half mile from home. Read more about it here.

Perhaps because of mourning or my growing distaste for really cold weather or the fact that animals after all tend to lay low in winter, I haven’t seen much.

At least one Golden Eagle has been dining regularly on the many, many turkeys in our canyon. I find feathers and feet. My neighbor caught on video an eagle shredding its prey under some junipers. I saw the ginormous raptor honing in on a flock of turkeys while I was skiing. It was like a Boeing/Airbus battle. All the turkeys got away, but I suspect their safety was only temporary.

Mammals:

Coyote

Elk

Mule Deer

Cottontail Rabbit

Brush Mouse

Rock Squirrel

Skunk

Western Screech Owl

Western Screech Owl

Mountain Lion

Birds:

Golden Eagle

Bald Eagle

Lewis’s Woodpecker

Clark’s Nutcracker

Downy Woodpecker

Nuthatch

House Sparrow

Red-Winged Black Bird

Canada Goose

Mallard

A cold Townsend's Solitaire

A cold Townsend’s Solitaire

Townsend’s Solitaire

Red Shafted Flicker

Steller’s Jay

Black Capped Chickadee

American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco (and its many varieties)

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Western Screech Owl

Species Parade, Episode 17

Apparently, I don’t get out much. Grey Foxes are nocturnal for the most part and I’d never ever seen one until driving home late one night. It jogged across the canyon road. I realized my nighttime activity is almost entirely done without headlights, headlamps, or flashlights. So, I do get out, but I don’t see animals like this small and delightful mammal. I’m sure it’s trotted out of sight, well away from the dogs and my unassisted human vision. Read the Case Against Dogs.

foxOn another late night drive, I saw another first: a Western Screech Owl (also small and delightful). Those two additional to the species parade hardly counter the sharp dip in numbers. Animals have burrowed deep for the winter or flown south. Just 42 species.

Mammals:

Coyote

Grey Fox

Mule Deer

Cottontail Rabbit

Brush Mouse

Rock Squirrel

Skunk

Western Screech Owl

Western Screech Owl

Raccoon

Porcupine

Elk

Abert’s Squirrel

Birds:

Brewer’s Blackbird

Chipping Sparrow

Downy Woodpecker

Nuthatch

House Sparrow

Red-Winged Black Bird

Canada Goose

Mallard

A cold Townsend's Solitaire

A cold Townsend’s Solitaire

Townsend’s Solitaire

Red Shafted Flicker

Steller’s Jay

Black Capped Chickadee

American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco (and its many varieties)

Ringed Turtle Dove

Junco

Junco

Rock Dove

Meadowlark

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Western Screech Owl

Rufous Sided Towhee

Species Parade, Episode 16

The death of a game camera is better than the death of a bear. No bear pictures in this episode. The ursine action is still happening, I think. Or, at least, something is drinking the water that’s left and refilled regularl in a quiet, green, and narrow draw not far from the house.

wIn most bird guides, there is a section devoted to “Confusing Fall Warblers.” I count the Yellow-Rumped Warbler as one of them. Recently, I’ve seen scores of them. This female (photo at left) crashed into a window and I set it on a branch to recover.

There’s a discussion of the changing nomenclature of the Yellow-Rumped here.

Check out this very cool map/video of the Yellow-Rumped’s migration in North America.

Mammals:

Black Bear (cinnamon & black)

Coyote

Mule Deer

DSC02142 copyCottontail Rabbit

Brush Mouse

Pocket Gopher

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel

Marmot

Rock Squirrel

Prairie Dog

Skunk

Raccoon

Porcupine

Elk

Chipmunk

Abert’s Squirrel

Birds:

Rufous Hummingbird

Broad Tailed HummingbirdDSC02047 copy

Hermit Thrush

House Wren

Brewer’s Blackbird

Black-headed Grosbeak

Chipping Sparrow

Say’s Phoebe

Downy Woodpecker

Nuthatch

House Sparrow

Red-Winged Black Bird

Canada Goose

Mallard

Townsend’s Solitaire

Red Shafted Flicker

Steller’s Jay

Black Capped Chickadee

DSC02199American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Great Blue Heron

Dark-Eyed Junco (and its many varieties)

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Meadowlark

Mountain Bluebird

Western Bluebird

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Rufous Sided Towhee

Audobon Warbler (or whatever)

 

Check out our facebook pages for more photos.

Species Parade, Episode 15

During the summer, cows move into the community. For a few months, their mooing and bellowing is about all you can hear unless you adjust your ears. The birds and mammals are still here, but they seem to step back, literally and figuratively.

The dogs, horses, and I got to help round up the cows. It was good fun and more than a bit challenging. Only Peeko, the rescued heeler mutt from the streets of Roosevelt, Utah, seemed natural to it. Peeko absolutely rocked.

At least one older coyote perished this summer. I saw its dead body near a culvert. With the cows gone, younger ‘yotes are out in force now. They’re mousing, eating grasshoppers, and learning the ropes of the community. There’s a ban on shooting and hunting in this neighborhood, so they start out nervous around vehicles and people, but become less so as they grow up.

Mammals:

Black Bear (cinnamon)

DSC01961Coyote

Woodchuck

Mule Deer

Cottontail Rabbit

Brush Mouse

Pocket Gopher

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel

Rock Squirrel

Prairie Dog

Skunk

Raccoon

Elk

Chipmunk

Abert’s Squirrel

Birds:

Rufous Hummingbird

DSC02050 copyBroad Tailed Hummingbird

Yellow Warbler

Indigo Bunting

Chipping Sparrow

Say’s Phoebe

Downy Woodpecker

Lewis Woodpecker

Nuthatch

House Sparrow

Red-Winged Black Bird

Canada Goose

Mallard

Townsend’s Solitaire

Red Shafted Flicker

Steller’s Jay

DSC02033Black Capped Chickadee

American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Great Blue Heron

Dark-Eyed Junco (and its many varieties)

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Mountain Bluebird

Western Bluebird

American Kestrel

Bald Eagle

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Rufous Sided Towhee

Nighthawk

Common Poor Will

Check out our facebook pages for more photos.

Species Parade, Episode 14

A month ago, I was too slow to capture a photo of a bear and her cub at the far end of our property. With two “huh! huh!” sounds, she took off up the draw. On that very day, I was not too slow to spot a bear skull further along in the hike. It was a heckuva day.

A newly installed game camera did capture the Black Bear (cinnamon subspecies) with TWO cubs in the same draw. Truth be CDY_0017told, I lured them with a tub of water (which I freshen every four days or so). I’m hoping to encourage them to stay off the ridge which climbs 700 feet directly behind us. There lives a less-than-bear-friendly home owner who probably shot the bear whose skull I discovered because it “threatened” his livestock. Shit happens. As with the human-to-human, human-to-wildlife interactions too often end with gunfire ’round here.

Here’s the Species Parade, 60 species, including my first sighting of a Greater Roadrunner. It was hanging out on the flat roof of an abandoned gas station, south of Moab, Utah. He considered me like its cartoon equivalent considered Wile E. Coyote: with interest, then peeling out.

Mammals:

Black Bear (cinnamon)

Coyote

Mule Deer

Cottontail Rabbit

Brush Mouse

Pocket Gopher

CDY_0015Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel

Rock Squirrel

Prairie Dog

Skunk

Raccoon

Antelope

Elk

Chipmunk

Abert’s Squirrel

Birds:

Rufous Hummingbird

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Yellow Warbler

Indigo Bunting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cedar Waxwing

Hermit Thrush

House Wren

Kingfisher

Brewer’s Blackbird

Black-headed Grosbeak

Chipping Sparrow

Say’s Phoebe

Downy Woodpecker

Nuthatch

House Sparrow

Red-Winged Black Bird

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 10.17.10 AMCanada Goose

Mallard

Greater Roadrunner

Townsend’s Solitaire

Red Shafted Flicker

Steller’s Jay

Black Capped Chickadee

American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Great Blue Heron

Dark-Eyed Junco (and its many varieties)

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Meadowlark

Mountain Bluebird

Western Bluebird

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Rufous Sided Towhee

Western Tanager

Northern Oriole

Check out our facebook pages for more photos.

Special Crosscountry Species Parade, Episode 13

If Audubon and the University of California can collect census through roadkills, then I can, too.

IMG_1835Recently, I covered over 6,000 miles of highway and back roads, traveling to and from Utah (twice) and then Maine and back. I saw a lot of wildlife, including mountain goats as I was crossing over Wolf Creek Pass.

Unfortunately, most of the mammals I saw were dead. As I joined the vehicular masses, I couldn’t help feeling that people come to view road kill with the same disconnection or compartmentalization as supermarket meat. “Those fleshy packages were once animals!” was what I wished highway billboards would say.

Of course, many animals adapt. I watched as a red tailed hawk dove straight down from a 80-foot-high street light to grab a mouse. It then ascended straight back up, too. Quite a feat.

Here’s the Special Cross Country Species Parade, 69 species.

Mammals:

Coyote

Mule Deer

A robin at dusk

A robin at dusk

White Tailed Deer

Cottontail Rabbit

Badger

Armadillo

Brush Mouse

Pocket Gopher

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel

Rock Squirrel

Prairie Dog

Skunk

Raccoon

Woodchuck

Possum

Turkeys roosting WAY up in a pine tree. There are about eight in this photo.

Turkeys roosting WAY up in a pine tree. There are about eight in this photo.

Porcupine

Antelope

Elk

Chipmunk

Birds:

Brewer’s Blackbird

Black-headed Grosbeak

Bobolink

Dickcissel

Killdeer

Chipping Sparrow

Mute Swan

Cardinal

Say’s Phoebe

Hairy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Black headed grosbeak

Black headed grosbeak

Red-Naped Sapsucker

Nuthatch

House Sparrow

Red-Winged Black Bird

Purple Finch

Gadwall

Canada Goose

Mallard

Townsend’s Solitaire

Red Shafted Flicker

Steller’s Jay

Blue Jay

Black Capped Chickadee

American Crow

13254714_1438127316213503_3325963302394715181_oCommon Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Great Blue Heron

Dark-Eyed Junco (and its many varieties)

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Meadowlark

Mountain Bluebird

Western Bluebird

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Small-eared Owl

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Golden Eagle

Bald Eagle

Rufous Sided Towhee

Western Tanager

Audubon Warbler

Check out our facebook pages for more photos.

Species Parade, Episode Twelve

After several weeks of mild weather, this weekend turned back the days. We had snow, rain, and cold. Wildlife seemed to respond by turning down activity. The woods, ridges and draws were quiet and still.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Nonetheless, when it’s been warm, there’s been a whole lot of humping and bumping doing on ( ie, mating activity, as indicated by the photos).

46 species over the course of a few weeks, including the delightful Say’s Phoebe (like the Townsend’s Solitaire, yet another bird named after an 19th century male naturalist who died in his 40’s.).

Mammals:

Coyote

Mule Deer

Cottontail Rabbit

Brush Mouse

Pocket Gopher

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel

Rock Squirrel

Prairie Dog

Skunk

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels

Raccoon

Birds:

Say’s Phoebe

Hairy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Red-Naped Sapsucker

Nuthatch

House Sparrow

Red-Winged Black Bird

Purple Finch

Gadwall

Canada Goose

Mallard

DSC00628Townsend’s Solitaire

Red Shafted Flicker

Steller’s Jay

Black Capped Chickadee

American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Great Blue Heron

Dark-Eyed Junco (and its many varieties)

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Meadowlark

Mountain Bluebird

Western Bluebird

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Golden Eagle

Bald Eagle

Rufous Sided Towhee

Check out our facebook pages for more photos.

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