Saturday, May 26, 2012

A New Tail at The Coyote Brush Highway

Who might this be - this newcomer to The Coyote Brush Highway? 
A new critter visited The Coyote Brush Highway.  Click "Read More" below to see the action caught by a wildlife camera.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Move the Rattlesnake First - an Ecliptic Experience

Solar eclipse 532 pm near La Honda, California. In central California, the eclipse was partial rather than annular. Captured by turning large end of binoculars towards the sun and projecting onto a white foamboard with focus short of infinity. Does anyone know what the green semi-circular ghost is in the lower left corner of this photo?  It shows up sometimes when I shoot the moon with my 200mm lens.
Originally, I was going to travel to Nevada to shoot the annular solar eclipse. It's how I approach photography - tag along with an expert and ask lots of questions. The Lion Hunter and I had such a fun time shooting the lunar eclipse in December 2011, I invited myself on a trip he was planning for the May 20, 2012 solar eclipse.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wildflower Hotspot #6 - Coyote Lake - Harvey Bear Ranch County Park

Go now. Go anywhere in the Santa Cruz Mountains now to hike in the fresh air and catch the spring wildflower bloom because it is moving fast. We had lower than average rainfall this winter, so the fields are not heavy with flowers.  Still, there is a good variety of colors and shapes to enjoy, just more widely spaced apart.

Go this weekend to Coyote Lake - Harvey Bear Ranch County Park because its serpentine meadows are entering their second phase of flowers. The cream cups and goldfields are starting to dry up and form seed but the poppies are coming on strong.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Cheerful Disposition

Another reason to love my Gitzo tripod - it's a great place to pose a snake.  Notice the incomplete triad - sixth band behind the head. By photographing distinct patterns, I can record and distinguish different kingsnakes on the Dipper Ranch and get a rough idea of population size.
What does it mean when people leave dead snakes on your desk? It was only a 4-inch long nightsnake, its death a mystery to the finder, but why leave it on my desk? There is no in-box in my cubicle that says, "Leave all manner of  crumbled flowers, mushy weeds, bugs and dead animals here."

Ok, I have eccentric friends and I share their nature geek reputation. Still, geek-to-geek, shouldn't one remember that fellow biologists are often out of the office for days at a time,  and even a small snake will get smelly after a few days when it is dead? I have forgiven the geek in question because she really wanted to confirm this was one of the rarely seen nightsnakes, and she has pulled me out of many a pickle. And the petri dish coffin was a nice touch. How does your nature geek club keep things interesting?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Flower Links

I found this minute flower on Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve last week.  I have never seen this flower before, so I was excited.  By using the wildflower ID tools on the Links page, can you discover the flower's name?  Educated and wild guesses welcomed in comments.  You can ask any questions about the plant that will help you identify it and I will respond in the comments.
I've updated the Links page (select Links tab at top of page) to add many resources about wildflower hikes and identification.  Because we live in an amazing biologically diverse area, there is no one site that will magically tell you the name of a flower you found.  Sometimes you have to hunt and peck around.  That is called discovery.