Thursday, December 9, 2010

Poison Oak Passage

On a late-October walk around the family property in Mariposa, I saw a coyote dart off-trail, into a thicket, and toward the fence.

Since I'm always trying to figure out the paths the critters take to come and go, I investigated.

The thicket turned out to be mostly poison oak. Wily coyote.

But there was a small path there too - an animal track that led through the now-leafless p.o., down into a gully, and up to a rickety section of fence.

Hmmmm, thought I.

Best put the Reconyx on the job. Very carefully.

Over the next 35 days it took 560 photos. About 450 of a foraging woodrat, 50 of a gray squirrel, and a handful of passable pics of a few of our larger forest friends.

Conclusion: don't pet the coyotes, or hug any bears. Unless you're immune, of course.

The big-eared woodrat spent a lot of time in the poison oak. It might have been foraging berries, which would explain why woodrat nests often have Toxicodendron diversilobum growing around them. Unfortunately, the Reconyx doesn't have the quality needed to see that kinda detail, so the question will have to be answered later.


That wily coyote popped up a couple of times. Here with a nice pose.


Black bears seem to know the passage well. Two different Ursus came through before the first snows dropped. They were likely bulking up on acorns - this was a mast year for many of the black oaks and canyon oaks around the lodge, and the acorns were abundant.


Same bear again a week later? Looks like it to me.



bear nose

This mid-morning cutie has quite the distinctive marking - a white chest. I've never seen that badge around before, so perhaps he/she is a new or infrequent visitor.





The roving banditos scampered by. One of the young-uns must have heard the camera, and stopped to give it a look-see.



Finally, a few mulie bucks also tip-toed the poison oak passage.


Might have to try that spot again in the spring, and with a better camera.




  1. These are great!!! Those bear shots are fantastic! The coyote and raccoon are perfect poses! :)

  2. Nice series. Looks like that would be a good place to set up in again. Would love to see the bear with the white patch in color.

  3. Almost looks like a Sun bear. Handsome little girl//guy. Would love to see some color photos of it. Nice coyote shot too.

  4. Yes, that's a good spot. Awesome bear photos.


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