Friday, September 28, 2012


These are all photos I took while camping in Yellowstone and Tetons National Parks in September. Wildlife abounds.
I took a journey to Yellowstone and Tetons National Parks a few weeks ago and I'm still feeling spellbound by the days of wildlife watching and grand landscapes that we saw. The muse has taken over my mind for nearly 12 hours a day since then and in the wee hours of the night, I have been trying to read and write simultaneously about the late summer changes of our local Santa Cruz Mountains and the ecological forces reshaping Yellowstone in response to the reintroduction of both wolves and fires. Although gray wolves and pronghorns are not part of our local natural history heritage, there's something there - I just can't quite get the words out yet. I am hoping by the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays that I will have the time and vocabulary to share some of these grand western experiences and photos with you. Or maybe that's just dreaming.

Today, while waiting for a budget meeting to start (yah, biologists gotta do that too), I learned the word zugunruhe - a fall nervousness as the tension to migrate builds up. I'm trying to behave, I'm trying to get along with people, but sometimes these human affairs are just soooo pedestrian in comparison to predators and the dissolution of rocks and I want to fly away. Now I am wondering if the swallows collecting by the thousands on the telephone wires on the Dipper Ranch ridgelines are making snotty little comments to each other and if that rattlesnake that buzzed me in the backyard two nights ago is just suffering from too much late summer fat accumulation. Hah, I trapped that rattlesnake in a bucket with a locking lid! It is not a monster like The Roper has in East Bay but the largest I have seen on the Dipper Ranch, so it may take a few days before I work up the courage to move it far away from the house. Rattle, rattle, write, read, write, please do not disturb me with your politics.


  1. That is a grand word, worthy of inclusion in a Favourite 26 words collection. My proto-list already has an entry for 'z', so now I have a bit of a quandary :o)

    I shall look forward to the rainstorm of your thoughts slowly filtering through the rocks, to produce the cool, clear springwater of another splendid blogpost. Some stuff just can't be hurried.

  2. Wait, why 26 words and not enough room for another Z word, indeed, a German Z word? I'm confused. Those darn words again. Is it easier to move rattlers or to understand words? I do very much like the rainstorm analogy, however.

  3. Yummy, perfect word. Thank you very much, it is now MINE! =) Moving rattlesnakes is easy if it's early (cold) and you have a long, suitably-fitted stick/pole. =)

  4. With you all the way, zugunruhe, all though I think my anxious behavior is a result of others in my own species not seasonal cycles.
    I very much look forward to your thoughts and images of Yellowstone as well as predators.
    There are some folks that have been doing some outstanding studies on the subject of top predators and the role they play in system function and health.
    Just in case you have not seen some of this work. DT

  5. I looked into getting a CA liscense plate - ZUGUNRUH, but it was already taken.

  6. Sinbad and Sinbaddad: now I am really wondering who has that license plate and why. For some reason I am imagining it is someone in Humboldt County.


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