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San Diego County Cache Critters


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Announcing the launch of a new Forum topic to share photos and stories relating to sightings of wild (or domestic) critters encountered while searching for caches in San Diego County. Include the cache name, GC number, and an account of your wild kingdom experience. Preference is to post your photo to the associated cache page and include that image on this thread.

 

Please, no Photoshop fantasy creatures or surroundings. Those are better shared on the Banter thread.

 

Here is an example to kick things off:

 

San Diego Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum blainvillii)

 

Hi Point Lookout Tower (GC631)

12 June 2004

 

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I met this little guy and spent about 15 minutes on my belly face-to-face with him on a small side trail leading up to the lookout tower. This was back when GC631 was the only cache up here and seldom visited. After a few minutes he became very relaxed and moved out of some nearby shade to bask on this west-facing rock.

 

The San Diego Horned Lizard has been considered one of six subspecies of the Coast Horned Lizard. The Coast Horned Lizard ranges from northern California to the tip of Baja. It is designated a the Federal Concern Species and a California Concern Species and they are protected from being collected. A unique defense mechanism of horned lizards is their ability to eject a tiny stream of blood from blood vessels around their eyes.

 

Here is another photo from a more recent hike to Three Sisters Falls. This micro-sized guy was seen near Rusty's Cache (GCPWBD) on 5 August 2005.

 

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It is always a personal treat to come across one of these while hiking or caching.

-Gecko Dad

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As long as this is the critter site I have a critter question..... What is an easy way to tell the difference between a raven and a crow?

I could be wrong, but I think a Raven throws a football and a Crow throws a telephone.

I thought that was a Falcon that threw the football well.... :)

 

It is easy to tell that we all are stuck inside today!

I did do one cache in Poway to make my time in the forums legit.

 

Rain, rain, go away...

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As long as this is the critter site I have a critter question..... What is an easy way to tell the difference between a raven and a crow?

I could be wrong, but I think a Raven throws a football and a Crow throws a telephone.

I thought that was a Falcon that threw the football well.... :)

 

It is easy to tell that we all are stuck inside today!

I did do one cache in Poway to make my time in the forums legit.

 

Rain, rain, go away...

rain days make for good park and grab days. I think we got over 20. My legs could use the break from hiking.

 

to keep this a little on topic. I ran into a bunch of ducks today at a cache called Duck Pond (still need to find the GC number). Will upload the picture later if it came out ok.

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I saw this large lizard at Rocket Man's Coolswag@ViewJunction cache back on 3/30/03.

I remember at my first glance I thought it was a snake! Any idea what it is?

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Pat-

You encountered a San Diego Alligator Lizard, Elgaria multicarinata webbii, a subspecies of Southern Alligator Lizard. They are pretty common throughout the San Diego coastal area. We have a couple in our yard in Scripps Ranch. One of them got into our dining room once. Definitely got Gecko Mom a little excited so it was quickly escorted out. We also had a young one living in our garage for awhile before it moved back out into the yard. They aren't particularly friendly but not a danger either. They are often mistaken initially as snakes and do seem to slither around, especially when surprised. Nice photo.

-GD

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What is an easy way to tell the difference between a raven and a crow?

 

Surefire Method. Ask somebody that knows.

 

Backup Method. Read and remember the following -

 

1. Size - A raven weighs about four times that of a crow and has a a wing-span of about 3.5-4 ft. whereas a crow wingspan is about 2.5 ft. Well, you know, except for juvenile ravens.

 

2. In flight a raven's wing sometimes makes a prominent "swish, swish" sound whereas a crow's wing-beat is mostly silent.

 

3. Ravens have pointed wings where as crow wings are more blunt with a splayed wing tip. Good for in-flight recognition.

 

4. A crow has a blunt, squared-off tail whereas the tail of a raven is long and wedge-shaped. Good for in-flight recognition.

 

5. A raven has a larger, more powerful bill that is Romanesque, being curved along the top with a small patch of hair-like feathers near the base. The bill of a crow is more-or-less straight along the top and not hairy.

 

6. If you shout "Shoo crows!" and the birds don't fly away then they are ravens.

 

And do remember that in groups it is a "murder of crows" and an "unkindness of ravens."

 

You're welcome,

Harmon

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Edited by SD Rowdies
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Pat-You encountered a San Diego Alligator Lizard, Elgaria multicarinata webbii, a subspecies of Southern Alligator Lizard.  They are pretty common throughout the San Diego coastal area.  We have a couple in our yard in Scripps Ranch.  One of them got into our dining room once.  Definitely got Gecko Mom a little excited so it was quickly escorted out.  We also had a young one living in our garage for awhile before it moved back out into the yard.  They aren't particularly friendly but not a danger either.  They are often mistaken initially as snakes and do seem to slither around, especially when surprised.  Nice photo.

-GD

Thanks Don!

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Well Don, I think your effort at a serious San Diego critter site is failing.....I went back and updated my previous posts with actual critters but there are just too many other jokers around here.....

 

Guys and gal, the Banter thread would love to host the goofy critters! :lol:

Edited by TrailGators
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Well Don, I think your effort at a serious San Diego critter site is failing.....I went back and updated my previous posts with actual critters but there are just too many other jokers around here.....

 

Guys and gal, the Banter thread would love to host the goofy critters! :lol:

I can see the day coming when we start trying to figure out how to reunite the growing number of San Diego threads.

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Well Don, I think your effort at a serious San Diego critter site is failing.....I went back and updated my previous posts with actual critters but there are just too many other jokers around here.....

 

Guys and gal, the Banter thread would love to host the goofy critters! :lol:

I endorse Pat's suggestion. Thanks for the offer.

-GD

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On the way to After this... I'll need a bath!

245729dd-6adc-4e8e-a66e-12b12c2a0047.jpgBecca and an Alligator Lizard

 

On the way back from attending Cedar Creek Falls CITO

a6c0786d-79c4-4cb4-88de-ac89fbd01cff.jpgWild turkeys!

 

At ToolTime

d1d653dc-5235-48f7-aee3-de82c9f2a641.jpgA humming bird watching John (top right)

 

Saw this fella eating a rat or mouse at A Cache A Day...

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Can you see it? (at Lost World II) b0f3219e-1139-4cf8-ac56-e1d0f4848c25.jpg

 

Great thread!! More to come...

~Jess

Edited by John&Jess
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We saw this guy on the trail at "Discovery This" last summer.

 

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Miragee-

Looks like a Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis), a member of the spiny lizards family. They are the most commonly seen of all lizards in our coastal area. Kids often refer to them as "Blue Bellies" as you can see in this photo I took at the nscaler's archived Field of Dreams at the top of one of the Tecolote Canyon spurs in Clairemont.

 

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Here is another photo showing a sleepy one in Kit Carson Park near the Nikki Saint Phalle sculpture garden while I was searching for The Queen's Remarque.

 

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Snake (sp. ?)

Black Canyon CITO Event (GCR1Z0)

11/11/05

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Caching Widow-

That is a California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae), a regional variant of the Common Kingsnake. Although non-venomous and harmless to humans, they are noteworthy for their appetitite for other snakes, including rattlesnakes, copperheads, and coral snakes.

 

Here is a desert specimen I saw while driving down the Montezuma Grade for a first attempt at Marble Mountain Madness.

 

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It has certainly been entertaining to see all of the animal encounters being posted to this new thread. Keep them coming.

 

Yesterday, I was treated to an exceptional aerial display by a pair of Red-tailed Hawks as I returned from climbing to The Thimble Cache and beyond to Ysidro Peak. This is an extraordinary area for hiking and photography, especially on a crystal clear Santa Ana day. No big kitties this time, either.

-GD

 

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We were out hiking, not really geocaching... however there is a great cache we have found before that was right nearby: Mule Hill

Anyway, there are murders of crows landing this time of night. Really spectacular! There must have been thousands upon thousands of them swirling above our heads

 

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And, Harmon can you help us out with photo image enhancement on this one? It was really getting dark...THANKS!

 

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~Jess

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Anyway, there are murders of crows landing this time of night.  Really spectacular!  There must have been thousands upon thousands of them swirling above our heads.

 

8e0779ff-1bbf-462b-8eb8-fce93777664c.jpg

Very cool photos! :D Reminds me a little of the million bats that come out every night from under the Congress Street bridge in Austin.

 

Anyhow, I was curious how a group of crows ever got called a "murder." Here is a quote I found explaining the etymology: “A ‘murder’ of crows is based on the persistent but fallacious folk tale that crows form tribunals to judge and punish the bad behavior of a member of the flock. If the verdict goes against the defendant, that bird is killed (murdered) by the flock. The basis in fact is probably that occasionally crows will kill a dying crow who doesn’t belong in their territory or much more commonly feed on carcasses of dead crows. Also, both crows and ravens are associated with battlefields, medieval hospitals, execution sites and cemeteries (because they scavenged on human remains). In England, a tombstone is sometimes called a ravenstone.”

 

Edit: Harmon will need you to send him the high-res version of that one photo otherwise it will come out grainy when he lightens it. :D

Edited by TrailGators
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Harmon can you help us out with photo image enhancement on this one?  It was really getting dark...THANKS!

 

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Jess,

 

As Trailgators said a lot of grain is expected when a really dark shot is enhanced. Still there was a good deal of information in the image. One can see the crows but it helps to know that they are there in the first place.

 

The green channel offered the best image of the three RGB color channels. With such a grainy image it isn't likely that missing details of such a scene can be reconstructed.

 

Thanks for asking,

Harmon

Edited by SD Rowdies
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We saw this unknown bird up on Eagle Peak today. I really need a better camera but I'm pretty sure it was some kind of hawk but it wasn't a red-tailed hawk because we saw some of those too. This bird had very distinct black tipped wings that were very cool looking!

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Pat-

The dark leading edge to the shoulders suggest it is probably a Red-tailed Hawk, a species that shows amazing color variations. Immature birds and light phase females can be pretty light underneath, similar to your photo. At first I thought you might have seen an osprey (although Eagle Peak is mighty far from El Cap Reservoir for a "Fish Eagle"). Ospry wings are narrower, though, and they don't have black at the shoulder or black on their throats.

-GD

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