Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Daily Deluge

Here's a little vignette from the Sierra Nevada Foothills for ya.

The cam trap was set on a small creek/pond that is currently getting a daily dose of water from a well to help keep it alive for wildlife during this drought.

I placed it where the creek trickles into the cattail-encrusted pond, and positioned it low - at about 14 inches off the ground - to target small mammals and birds.

And the cam caught 10 species in 3 days.

Purple Finches came in small groups. At least I think they're Purple. Could be Cassin's Finch, but the characteristics seem Purple to me, and the 3,000-foot elevation and oak-pine habitat is more typical for Purple. Whichever, the raspberry flush was a treat to see. Really beauty little birds.

purple finches
Purple Finches playing through with a male in the lead

purple finches

purple finches

purple finches

purple finches
Purple Finch female in front, male in middle, and tail of another male in back

House Finches also showed, their male's normally "wow red" looking a tad drab in comparison to the Purple Finches. Poor fellas.

house finch
Male House Finch

house finches
Male and female House Finches having a drink

Lesser Goldfinches also visited, but only females.

lesser goldfinch
Female Lesser Goldfinch

And I think this is a Song Sparrow:

song sparrow?
Song Sparrow?

A Lady Black-headed Grosbeak stopped in for a drink and bath:

black-headed grosbeak
Female Black-headed Grosbeak

And, as might be expected, both Spotted Towhee and California Towhee foraged through...

spotted towhee
Spotted Towhee in back

cal towhee
California Towhee at 6am - a true early bird

2 mammal species were caught by the cam trap. A mother Brush Mouse with a pup in her mouth:

mamma mouse
Mom Brush Mouse with pup in mouth for move or retrieval

mamma mouse
Too cute

And a vole, also called a meadow mouse, that is probably a California Vole:


California Vole

Last, Lord Vader came out to strut his stuff, while the Missus watched in the background:

red-winged blackbird
Male Red-winged Blackbird doing his dance with female in background

red-winged blackbird

red-winged blackbird

LV: "bum bum bum bum-bu-bum, bum-bu-bum" (Darth Vader theme)

Missus:  "Oh, sure! The nest is soggy, and the chicks are screeching at me, and here you are showing off your "Jedi tricks" to that dumb camera..."

Ah, yes - life on a 'crick.

Just add water.



  1. Really great. Thanks for the look. Let's hope the drought is not too severe.

  2. Wow: WHAT a sequence. The shots are SO SHARP!

    I think NOW I get why a birder I used to know said purple finches (v. house finches) look like their heads had been dipped in raspberry juice--looks like the color is more evenly distributed on the head than in house finches?

    SUCH great photos of the small mammals. When I think about mice I think about working w/them in the field & immediately worry about them dying, but then I SEE them, and every time "It's SO CUTE!" takes over. =) Fuzzy. And great shot of enorm ears & fuzzy BABY! =)

  3. That must have been a busy mum. You can really see the grey juvie versus brown adult color of the pelage in your sharp photos of brush mice. I moved a brush mouse on Monday 1/10th of a mile away and marked its tail. It was back in my garage today - 3 days later. Cute but trouble.

  4. Such great photos. I especially love the second RWBB photo.
    Right now, Alaska is also experiencing a drought. Big wildfires are threatening towns on the Kenai Peninsula. However I just love the warm weather. I might even get a suntan.

  5. What a lovely spot for a camera trap! I like how the plants "frame" the photos.
    Those shots of the mouse with the pup are amazing.

  6. just add important and beautiful when it is present to green the plants and wet the whistles of the creatures. Thank you!


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