Monday, October 7, 2013

Waiting for Windfalls

Autumn in California.

Harvest time.

The native cornucopia starts, literally, bearing fruit.

(and acorns, of course)

Bay, buckeye and madrone, hollyleaf cherry and berry, as well as those of coffee, honeysuckle, toyon, snow and p.o., all hit ripe and become a major focus of seasonal foraging.

ripe prunus ilicifolia hollyleaf redberry berries mmmm coffeeberries

toyon ripe snowberries

mmmmm madrone berries honeysuckle berries cal buckeye fruit

Thus offering interesting opportunities for creative camera trapping.

So, under a berry-laden madrone tree, where the bare ground and a few freshly dropped fruits belied heavy activity, I set a cam.

And then created a windfall.

under the madrone

the windfall
Windfall of berries I "stormed" off the madrone tree above

4 nights and 460 photos later the cam's batteries were spent, and the berries quite gone.

Seems the locals were more than happy to perform a little dinner theater.

Our theater - their dinner.

Here's a selection of 80 still photos put together into a quick 14 second video:

The Windfallers - a 14 second feast of 4 night's foraging

And the players:

Hopping Hoover the brush rabbit

brush rabbits
The Scurry Furies, Hoover's backup bunnies

brush mouse
Boyle the brush mouse as Hoover's small sidekick

dusky-footed woodrat
DF Woodie as the woodrat too-late

With special cameos by:

spotted towhee
Ted Towhee

Cal Thrasher

bt jack
And BT Jack, the only daytime actor

Play notes...

It actually took the bunnies and mice only 5 hours to clean up the windfall. The following 3 nights of heavy activity were double, triple and quadruple-checks.

The most brush rabbits caught at once was 5 in a photo. 3-4 were not uncommon.

Cool how the brush mouse forages side-by-side with the rabbits.

The woodrat can easily climb trees and get berries itself, so - windfalls, smindfalls.

Check out BT Jack's backlit ear veins. Obviously optimized for heat dissipation.

No fox or coyotes. They too like madrone berries. Guess 4 days wasn't enough time.



  1. Good thing they can differentiate a madrone berry from a "rabbit berry" even in the dark.

  2. I had no idea that Cal Thrashers would forage at night. Huh.

    1. Dawn in a dark gully - the thrasher showed at 6:40am.

    2. Ok. That's more in line with what I was thinking.


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