And, as we've been learning the hard way in California, drought years can make even the smallest of perennial sources precious to locals.
Such as this mere puddle of a forest seep along a dry creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Foxy family - aka "3 shades of gray"
The first time I set the cam, the batteries lasted 2 weeks, took 900 photos, and caught 14 species.
When I refreshed the cam, it added 3 species, but only lasted a week and took 530 photos.
Band-tailed pigeon taking a bath
Why did the second round last 1/2 the time? And near 1/2 the shots?
Turns out the lower sun angle during the second round caused the forest to be just dark enough to trigger the flash for both night and day shots.
Causing the shorter battery life through more flash usage.
Northern flicker and western tanager
The camera shifted a little between rounds 1 and 2, but the distance and crops are the same.
Allowing size comparisons of the local squirrels, for example, which can be useful for species ID.
Western gray squirrel with that distinctive bushy & silvery tail
Eastern fox squirrel - an introduced non-native
Merriam's chipmunk blending into the bay leaves
Or to compare a western screech owl to those squirrels, and a passing mouse.
Western screech owl having a bath at 4am
Brush or California mouse passing through (upper right)
And do a head and nub count of the local ladies and their summer kids.
Doe and daughter
Different doe and nubby son
And appreciate the local skunks - remotely.
Striped skunk sans scent
But jokes about Pepe aside, it's mid-size mammals, with short legs and smaller home ranges (and no wings), such as skunks and foxes, that are most reliant on these local sources.
They can't easily "leg it" miles to the next nearest source, as might deer, lions and coyotes.
So, let's hope for enough rain to recharge our water tables, reservoirs, wells & springs eternal.
For the skunks. The ones in the wild - and the folks that had to give up their regular baths and smell like them.
- Bay Nature - Hung Out to Dry
- SFGate - Drought brings hard times to Coastal California
- Wikipedia - Hope Springs Eternal
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Exclusionary Principles
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Exclusionary Principles - Bird Edition
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - The Daily Deluge
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Too Cold, Too Hot, Just Right
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Tin Tub Rubber Ducks
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Guess Who's Coming to Water