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San Diego County Cache Critters


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Thursday, 8/2/2007

Here is another Yellow-bellied Marmot (Marmota flaviventris) to add to the Cache Critter annals. It and a couple of companions were hanging out at Squaw Valley just below the ridgeline of Emigrant Peak (8700'). I was out and about hiking after a DNF - due to muggling - at Valentine's Day Cache while Gecko Mom was relaxing at the High Camp swimming pool. Some might say she and the marmot had made better choices.

-GD

 

Marmot reclinatus :(

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Fat and sassy

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Friday, 8/3/2007

We lodged in Truckee for our last night in the Lake Tahoe area. I had never been to Donner Lake before and got up early the next morning to hike out to a high point on the north side of the lake to watch sunrise. This area is known as Tahoe Donner and features a very nice trail system that is used for hiking in the summer and Nordic skiing in the winter. As I was approaching Donner Lake View, six mule deer (four bucks, two doe) crossed in front of me about 100-125 yards off and almost on top of the cache. The early light, dramatic clouds, and deer-in-motion all made for a memorable encounter, not to mention a photographic challenge contending with difficult and changing exposures. Here are a few of the shots. Others can be seen on my cache post.

-GD

 

The setting (two bucks are just left of center frame, cache is in rocks right of center)

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Mulie on left was the largest

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This doe went the other way

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A mad scramble ensued after I eased over the ridge following their path

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A very confused packrat in "Indiana Ed's Subterranean Cache." He is also very acrobatic.

 

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:D

Very cute photo, Karen. I've encountered quite a few Woodrats over the years (including a family that took up residence in our backyard when we lived in Serra Mesa) but this is the first I've seen inverted and folded up. Nicely done.

-GD

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Saturday, 9/2/2007

Western Scrub-Jay, one of a pair who were perched and jabbering away as I walked down an old mine road a few hundred yards from San Diego County "Historic" Cache Adventure. They sure are talkers.

 

Here is a little tidbit I discovered on the cornell.edu website that suggests this species can legitimately lay claim to being a true "cache critter". :anicute:

 

"The Western Scrub-Jay has been used in laboratory studies of its ability to hide (cache) and remember seeds. Jays that had stolen the caches of other jays noticed if other jays were watching them hide food. If they had been observed, they would dig up and hide their food again. Jays that had never stolen food did not pay any attention to whether other jays were watching them hide their food."

-Gecko Dad

 

Aphelocoma californica

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On our way back down from "Laura's Memorial Cache" yesterday, Chuy! somehow managed to spot this very well-cammoed snake. :)

 

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Wow! That snake really does blend in well. :)

A nice shot of a Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus). I've encountered several in Borrego Palm Canyon, often near or on the trail, and not one of them made any noise.

-GD

This one looks very much like a snake I saw at Lawson 4 -- except he did rattle me quite vociferously...

Edited by FlagMan
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I'm not sure who was more surprised to have company, us or these masked bandits! We had Thunder (Thunder-4's dog) with us and you should've seen this little guy shoot up the tree!

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This (not so) little guy probably didn't appreciate us interrupting his dinner...or maybe he was looking for a micro there...? B)

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Thanks for the great pics, Randy - and kudos on being FTF! :P

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I'm not sure who was more surprised to have company, us or these masked bandits! We had Thunder (Thunder-4's dog) with us and you should've seen this little guy shoot up the tree!

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This (not so) little guy probably didn't appreciate us interrupting his dinner...or maybe he was looking for a micro there...? B)

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Thanks for the great pics, Randy - and kudos on being FTF! :P

 

I love those pictures, the eyes look great! The Raccoon has always been one of my favorite animals.

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Friday, 8/17/2007

I had a lucky encounter with this juvenile Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) while hiking up to the summit of Mount San Gorgonio on the Vivian Creek Trail with Ruscal.

 

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There are no physical caches allowed in the San Gorgonio Wilderness but there are notable offset waypoint "hides" for physical caches placed outside the boundaries. One of today's destinations was Old Greyback.

 

I came upon the hawk while ascending the switchbacks above High Creek Camp through open lodgepole forest. The hawk was preoccupied with observing a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel in a potentially deadly game of hide-and-seek on a dead stump. The squirrel was quicker than the bird when the ground swoop finally took place.

-GD

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Yes, it is just a deer. The amazing part is WHERE I found it today.

 

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Found this morning at A - Line Cache in San Marcos. Just 200 feet away from the cache and less than 500 feet from suburbia! See another photo on my cache log. I also spotted 3 deer near BACK to SCHOOL cache on 9/10, but I did not have my camera at the time.

 

Did you know there are 65 varieties of deer? This is one of those!

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For the last few days, I've been in Austin. While there, I was able to do some caching with my sister, Totavi. Last night, we took on a night cache named Roman Nights (GCZ1KY) (a very well done cache). As we were walking, I kept getting a glimpse of a reflector that was off the trail. I kept wondering how this reflector fit into the task at hand, and the I noticed that there was more than one reflector and that they had nothing to do with the cache. Here's a photo of what we saw...

 

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For the last few days, I've been in Austin. While there, I was able to do some caching with my sister, Totavi. Last night, we took on a night cache named Roman Nights (GCZ1KY) (a very well done cache). As we were walking, I kept getting a glimpse of a reflector that was off the trail. I kept wondering how this reflector fit into the task at hand, and the I noticed that there was more than one reflector and that they had nothing to do with the cache. Here's a photo of what we saw...

 

331b767a-bcef-48df-b350-f8e0e752aa93.jpg

 

Killer attack Llama?

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For the last few days, I've been in Austin. While there, I was able to do some caching with my sister, Totavi. Last night, we took on a night cache named Roman Nights (GCZ1KY) (a very well done cache). As we were walking, I kept getting a glimpse of a reflector that was off the trail. I kept wondering how this reflector fit into the task at hand, and the I noticed that there was more than one reflector and that they had nothing to do with the cache. Here's a photo of what we saw...

 

331b767a-bcef-48df-b350-f8e0e752aa93.jpg

Killer attack Llama?

Hard to say. In the dark, we couldn't see if it had fangs....

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Yes, it is just a deer. The amazing part is WHERE I found it today.

 

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Found this morning at A - Line Cache in San Marcos. Just 200 feet away from the cache and less than 500 feet from suburbia! See another photo on my cache log. I also spotted 3 deer near BACK to SCHOOL cache on 9/10, but I did not have my camera at the time.

 

Did you know there are 65 varieties of deer? This is one of those!

When we first moved from Serra Mesa to Scripps Ranch, there were quite a few deer in this area, too. For several years we would often see them at night but as more and more houses were built, they had a tougher time of it and it has been quite some time since any have been seen nearby. A memorable encounter back in the late 80s was when a startled homeowner just up the street heard a loud crash downstairs and rushed to their family room to find a deer had run through a sliding glass door and was in a panic running around in their family room. It finally founds its way back out and ran down into the canyon behind them.

-GD

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Sunday, 9/2/2007

I watched a pair of Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus), a common local native, rat-ta-tat-tatting in the top of a dead pine near Night Hunter a short walk off Kitchen Creek Road and Sunrise Highway. Their larder trees are found throughout Cuyamaca and the Lagunas.

-GD

 

Acorn Woodpecker

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It's companion

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Here is a typical larder tree seen earlier today near PCT kids cache

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Sunday, 9/16/2007

I came upon this diminutive San Diego Ring-Necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus similis) on a walk up Cottonwood Creek from Mrs. B's Day!!. Since it is a riparian creature, the prolonged drought may have led to its death by dehydration. There was no sign of major physical injury. It is the first of this species that I have encountered. Let's hope for winter storms to replenish our backcountry watersheds on which so many Cache Critters depend.

-GD

 

San Diego Ring-Necked Snake

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Underside coloration

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Palm-sized Diadophis punctatus

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Another view

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Seen these two near GCAFFA Over The Edge! First time seeing these in the wild for me and it was great, they stayed within about 50' of me as we all climbed up the side of the hill; but I think they had the definate advantage. Then in this little mini canyon on the side hill they stopped to watch me as intently as I was watching them for a good 5 mins not 50' away. Although I didn't make it to the cache today, I should have asked them to log me in as they went past as they were heading right along the ridgeline as they left in the direction of the cache.

 

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Just another "mountain" critter out there!

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Friday, 9/28/2007

Desert tadpoles sighted in the seasonal tenaja south of Indian Hill after visiting Blue Ridge BUBBLE GUM. I am not an amphibian expert so can not say for sure which of six species of amphibians known to inhabit Anza Borrego these might be. They are most likely Western Toads (Bufo boreas) or Red-spotted Toad (Bufo punctatus), the two toad species observed in the park.

 

Indian Hill was occupied for an estimated 5,000 years (250 generations) by the Kumeyaay and their predecessors and this basin provided the main water supply. In May, I found it completely dry. The monsoonal thunderstorms of August must have partially refilled it and the tadpoles emerged since then.

-GD

 

Desert tadpoles

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The setting

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We ran into this amazing guy in the mountains south of Boulder City..west of the Colorado River. He was in the middle of the dirt road so MooseMob had to gently help him across...or we would have been there 2 weeks. B) He was awesome! ( don't worry...he didn't even flinch when the JEEP climbed up his back...no animal endangerment...and he wasn't even mad to get moved..he didn't even retreat so we got a great look.

 

 

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We ran into this amazing guy in the mountains south of Boulder City..west of the Colorado River. He was in the middle of the dirt road so MooseMob had to gently help him across...or we would have been there 2 weeks. B) He was awesome! ( don't worry...he didn't even flinch when the JEEP climbed up his back...no animal endangerment...and he wasn't even mad to get moved..he didn't even retreat so we got a great look.

 

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"...ran into..."???

 

Was John driving?

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Some critter photos from the area of sweetwater prior to the burn.

 

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A southern lizard that didn't even move before my dog ran by and then when he ran back to me. In fact it didn't move until he tried to lick it.

 

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a close up of the lizard

 

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a very good subject, never even flinched

 

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Can you spot the critter? I'll give you a hint it is about 4.5' long and rattles.

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For the last few days, I've been in Austin. While there, I was able to do some caching with my sister, Totavi. Last night, we took on a night cache named Roman Nights (GCZ1KY) (a very well done cache). As we were walking, I kept getting a glimpse of a reflector that was off the trail. I kept wondering how this reflector fit into the task at hand, and the I noticed that there was more than one reflector and that they had nothing to do with the cache. Here's a photo of what we saw...

 

331b767a-bcef-48df-b350-f8e0e752aa93.jpg

Gone five weeks ... and missed so much.

 

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Bwah-hah-hah! ... I've got broadband once again.

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Sunday, 14 October 2007

Went a bit afield on a father-son outing with Groovy in the San Bernardino Mountains as a "half-way" rendezvous point between his home in Pasadena and ours here in San Diego. We explored the Mill Creek drainage during the morning before heading higher up after a picnic lunch near Big Falls.

 

This Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) greeted us when we first arrived at Jenks Lake by diving for an attempted catch only yards in front of Groovy. It came up empty, as they often do. I'm still hoping to photograph a successful catch one of these days.

 

After our stroll around Jenks Lake, we stopped by and picked up Arachnids Rock.

-GD

 

In flight

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Fluff dry

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Roost and consider

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Edited by Team Gecko
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Saturday, 10/27/2007, 4:45 pm.

I encountered this juvenile Cooper's Hawk in Carrizo Canyon at twilight just after I descended the ridge from Grunt Benchmark. It was surprisingly comfortable on the ground and stayed put within 20 yards of me. I may have been the only person in the canyon and was not interpreted as a threat.

-GD

 

Carrizo Canyon on descent from Grunt Benchmark

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75% out left edge of Grunt ridge shadow indicates the hawk site

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First look

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Here's looking at you

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Time to go hunting

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I visited the Hollenbeck Canyon area yesterday, checking on my caches and others, including one of "lostguy"'s, which did not survive :D, and one of bradybunchboys, which did survive :rolleyes:, and a TC of 3cd's, which also survived. :rolleyes:

 

The only wildlife I saw during my tour were some ravens and this red-tail hawk.

 

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Saturday, 11/10/2007, 7:20 pm.

I encountered this sizable scorpion on the Moonlight Canyon Trail on my way back from hiding Inner Sanctum - View of Red Top . I had been out since early morning on a 15-mile out and back climb of Red Top. I saw no other people and only a few lizards, some airborne ravens, and a pair of Phainopeplas all day. Curiously, I "heard" this critter at about the same time the beam of my headlamp fell across it. It made a scratching sound in the coarse sand as it was shuffling along just in front of me shortly after I descended around the big dry fall leading back from Inner Pasture.

 

There are over 60 species of Order Scorpiones found in California and Arizona (over 1500 species world wide). Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is considered a "hot spot" for scorpion diversity in the U.S. Nine different species have been inventoried within a single square mile in the Park. Since scorpions are nocturnal hunters, many visitors never see them. They can live from 2 years to as long as 25 years in captivity. Fortunately, the sting of most scorpions is not serious and usually results in localized pain, some swelling, tenderness and some discoloration. It is still prudent to avoid handling them.

-Gecko Dad

 

Moonlight Canyon scorpion

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Full body portrait

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Formidable claws

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Business end

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Faceoff

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How big was it?

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