Sunday, March 20, 2011

Path to the Sentinel Stones

The first of our next round of Tehachapi traps was along a main creek, on a game track that wanders up towards a striking cluster of big, jutting sentinel rocks - that don't look half bad in the long afternoon light of a late-Feb day...

evening view
Creek basin winding through the Tehachapi Mountains

sundown on the rocks
Sentinel outcrop above creek

We set the cam pointing along the subtle path, where it wraps around an old log, cuts through some tucker oaks and foothill pines, and drops down to the creek. The big rock formation is behind the camera, uphill and beyond a few more trees.

cam set 8
The set between the creek and the big rocks

Big bear was first to the scene. Think this is the 4th individual we've caught so far in the survey. The chocolate & sable siblings, the shaggy Ursine Orson Welles, and this broad-faced biggun. Wonder if this might be the mom of the 2 sibs? They were photographed not far away.

black bear
"Hmmm... smelly rock"

black bear
A 2nd drive by to check out the camera - that's a big bear

An unhappy-after-the-rain bobcat waddled through too:

"Hey man - can you help a cat out with a heater or blow dryer?"

The annoyed shaking-water-off-legs tip-toe through the wet grass

And a desert cottontail, Sylvilagus audubonii, popped up. The region is a crossover for it and the brush rabbit, Sylvilagus bachmani, so it'll be interesting to see if we get that species too. We'll definitely see many more as it warms up.

desert cottontail
Rounded ear tips, color, tail and size show this to be a desert cottontail rabbit

There's also this Peromyscus mouse out foraging (left side of frame) - perhaps looking for that millipede on the right side of the scene?

mouse and millipede
Based on ears, color and tail length, I'd say probably Pinyon, Peromyscus truei

And - oh my - were there foxes. Many and/or often. 14 of the 25 different animal visits (in 25 days), and 53 out of 74 photos were gray foxes. One character hung around for 11 shots!

Evidently, they are thick in the area (and loving the scent-mark). Makes sense - the place is prime habitat and chockers with berries and small rodents.

Here's 8 of the funner photos...

gray foxes
Gray fox standoff

gray fox
Dance around smelling it...

gray fox
Then go in for a nice long rub

gray fox
Guess it's rock-rolling good

gray fox
The full back roll

gray fox
Drunken sailor rub

gray fox
Swishy snake roll

gray fox

A fine start to our new round of Tehachapi sets. But, as we found out, getting to all of the cameras wouldn't prove to be as easy as it was when we set them weeks earlier...




  1. GREAT catches, as usual. Those fox photos are just so cute! Loved the cottontail too and that big bear.

  2. I love me some gray fox!

    Good stuff!

  3. What a gold mine of a property. Amazing how much is out there on less disturbed land. Those gray foxes are fantastic.

  4. Some great shots and I like the comments :)


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