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San Diego County Cache Critters


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Borrego Buds

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Great shots Don, particularly this one. Thanks for sharing. Dave

 

Wow! Amazing pictures, Don! I don't know how you got them to stand so still and pose like that.

Thanks!

The Splashes

Don, you make us proud to know you. Outstanding observation and photography.

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Borrego Buds

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Great shots Don, particularly this one. Thanks for sharing. Dave

 

Wow! Amazing pictures, Don! I don't know how you got them to stand so still and pose like that.

Thanks!

The Splashes

Thanks for the nice comments. In the case of the two rams standing together, it took quite some time before they lined up their bodies and heads as seen in the photo. I did have one advantage - the rams were totally focused on the lady on the hill just across the way. It also helped that Russ and I were the only folks hiking beyond First Grove at the time.

-GD

 

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Thanks for the nice comments. In the case of the two rams standing together, it took quite some time before they lined up their bodies and heads as seen in the photo. I did have one advantage - the rams were totally focused on the lady on the hill just across the way. It also helped that Russ and I were the only folks hiking beyond First Grove at the time.

-GD

Don,

 

It surprises me that those two rams haven't been collared for tracking. My daughter Laurie has worked with the curators that handle the San Diego Zoo tracking operation. Interesting people.

 

It is clear to see that both rams are very focused on some object of interest. I'm glad that you mentioned what drew their attention.

 

When I study that image I can imagine the excitement you felt. Had to be one of those rare moments when your neck-hair stood up. How rare it is to experience a primordial awakening of that sort that's not due to a close encounter with a rattle snake.

 

I'm very happy for you Don. I know how hard you work for moments like that. Well done.

 

Harmon

 

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One December morning years ago while driving through the Canadian Rockies in order to plan a springtime bicycle tour I came upon a heard of big-homs gathered right on the icy roadway. They surrounded my rental car and started licking the road-salt off of the body work. I rolled the driver window down to improve my chances for photography. A huge ram stuck his horned head right through the window between me and the steering wheel. Must have been expecting a handout from a tourist ... scared me witless!

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Harmon-

I've seen collared bighorns but they've all been ewes, including one among the group of lambs playing king of the hill that I posted this past spring.

 

Yes, I certainly did recognize the moment when they finally lined up in that pose. They kept moving around on that big rock for 5 minutes or more and that is the only instant when everything came together.

 

I've been on the lookout for Peninsular bighorns going back to the mid-60s when my dad and I did water hole recovery projects out in the New York Mountains/Castle Mountains south of Ivanpah (off I10 before you drop down to State Line). Last Saturday was without a doubt the best lighting conditions for bighorn photography that I've been blessed with over all this time.

 

Your Canadian Rockies story sounds like something out of Prairie Home Companion (remember the story about the circus elephant sticking its trunk inside Garrison's car?) I've also encountered some of those Canadian bighorns in Banff. They seem pretty tame and regularly cause car jams. The Peninsulars seem to be a more wary lot. They are much more comfortable being above you.

 

I'm not quite as close as it appears in the photos. My little digital has a decent 5X optical zoom. We stayed generally 80-100 feet or more from them and were rewarded in that they never spooked, even while they were drinking (and more vulnerable to predators).

 

Here's a more complete photo sequence.

-Don

P.S. Enjoyed your B&W background treatment.

Edited by Team Gecko
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They surrounded my rental car and started licking the road-salt off of the body work.

This reminds me of a backpacking trip in the Pecos Wilderness in northern New Mexico when I was growing up. We fixed pasta for dinner and when we were done with the nice salty boiling water, we dumped it out on the ground near our camp. Big mistake! That night, just after we retired to our tent, the cows moved in. They were doing everything they could to get to that salt. Its rather interesting how sound gets amplified when you are lying in a dark tent. Every hoof set down, every blade of grass ripped up and every cowpie hitting the turf seems larger than life. It's hard to sleep when you imagine that, at any moment, a cow could step onto the edge of your your tent.

 

We tried to chasing them off but they kept coming back. We put rocks on the spot, but the cows just came back and knocked them aside. Finally we dug up the dirt and scattered it and then built a very large cairn on top of the "holy cow shrine". That seemed to work...

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They surrounded my rental car and started licking the road-salt off of the body work.

This reminds me of a backpacking trip in the Pecos Wilderness in northern New Mexico when I was growing up. We fixed pasta for dinner and when we were done with the nice salty boiling water, we dumped it out on the ground near our camp. Big mistake! That night, just after we retired to our tent, the cows moved in. They were doing everything they could to get to that salt. Its rather interesting how sound gets amplified when you are lying in a dark tent. Every hoof set down, every blade of grass ripped up and every cowpie hitting the turf seems larger than life. It's hard to sleep when you imagine that, at any moment, a cow could step onto the edge of your your tent.

 

We tried to chasing them off but they kept coming back. We put rocks on the spot, but the cows just came back and knocked them aside. Finally we dug up the dirt and scattered it and then built a very large cairn on top of the "holy cow shrine". That seemed to work...

Say, maybe there's something to the old story about catching a bird by sprinkling salt on it's tail.

 

So the question remains, was it the taste of salt or the taste of your pasta that attracted cows? Maybe they were Italian cows, you know, the exhausted sort of cows from which milk for Gargonzola Cheese is milked.

 

Seriously though, lying in a dark tent with large animals stomping about had to be another primordial experience. The aforementioned springtime bicycle tour through the Canadian Rockies brought with it two nights in tents listening to bears flipping over nearby dumpsters.

 

What we can learn from this discussion must be that the LLOT pasta recipe is worth having. Well, you know, if you are a cow. :laughing:

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They surrounded my rental car and started licking the road-salt off of the body work.

This reminds me of a backpacking trip in the Pecos Wilderness in northern New Mexico when I was growing up. We fixed pasta for dinner and when we were done with the nice salty boiling water, we dumped it out on the ground near our camp. Big mistake! That night, just after we retired to our tent, the cows moved in. They were doing everything they could to get to that salt. Its rather interesting how sound gets amplified when you are lying in a dark tent. Every hoof set down, every blade of grass ripped up and every cowpie hitting the turf seems larger than life. It's hard to sleep when you imagine that, at any moment, a cow could step onto the edge of your your tent.

 

We tried to chasing them off but they kept coming back. We put rocks on the spot, but the cows just came back and knocked them aside. Finally we dug up the dirt and scattered it and then built a very large cairn on top of the "holy cow shrine". That seemed to work...

My big animal stories at night include a moose that wandered ashore on the edge of one of the Bowron Lakes (British Columbia) on the last night of an 8-day canoe trip back in early 70s. Across the lake, a sizable forest fire was burning so we had the benefit of the sounds of the moose emeging from water and a VERY LARGE shadow silhouette on the tent wall as it came right up to the tent to check us out. It browsed around us for awhile and then returned to the water.

 

Second story is a bear story that took place east on Sawtooth Pass (east of Mineral King) on a Sierra Club National Outing I was leading back in the late 80s. I did not have a tent and layed out my sleeping bag outside the perimeter of where my SC wards all sacked out as a sort of picket for any nighttime bear encounters since they are pretty common in this area. I made the mistake of hanging my toiletries in a small stuff sack on a sapling next to the head of my bag. Shortly after I crawled into bed, I hear a galloping sound approaching me and poked my head out just a large adult came crashing by, taking half of said sapling (and my toiletries with him) on a heading directly toward our commissary and the other trip members. I jumped out to grab a flashlight with intent to alert the others and chase him off. I spotted him quickly enough, one of those rather primordial looking ones with long snout and all black - nothing like a cuddly looking, young cinnamon colored one we had in camp a few nights earlier (that one was discovered up in a Foxtail pine when puffs of the contents of one of our deserts were seen coming from the upper branches of said pine). I made a racket to alert camp and fortunately the bear headed off another way. Can't say that I got a lot of sleep the rest of the night. And I did not get back my toiletries. :mad:

-GD

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Osprey and Mystery bird at Torrey Pines SR GCZ68Z

 

 

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D-

Nice photos. That looks like the same Osprey I saw on Saturday on a long run down to Black's Beach and north to Torrey. The one I saw was on the cliff top just south of Flat Rock. It flew from its roost as I was approaching the sandstone trail at the base of the point between Black's and Torrey. The second bird looks like it may be a juvenile Sanderling, depending on its size.

-GD

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Osprey and Mystery bird at Torrey Pines SR GCZ68Z

 

D-

Nice photos. That looks like the same Osprey I saw on Saturday on a long run down to Black's Beach and north to Torrey. The one I saw was on the cliff top just south of Flat Rock. It flew from its roost as I was approaching the sandstone trail at the base of the point between Black's and Torrey. The second bird looks like it may be a juvenile Sanderling, depending on its size.

-GD

 

Thanks. That's the exact spot where I saw this one.

 

D!

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Nice shot. This location looks similar to where Russ and I saw the two rams (top of this forum page) on our climb of Indianhead in late October. Was this photo taken between First Grove and Second Grove?

-GD

Out in Borrego Palm Canyon today...very cool!!

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J&J

Edited by Team Gecko
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Nice shot. This location looks similar to where Russ and I saw the two rams (top of this forum page) on our climb of Indianhead in late October. Was this photo taken between First Grove and Second Grove?

-GD

 

It was taken before First Grove on our way up to the top, whew what a climb!!

 

~Jess

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Well this was a weird sight. These goats are behind some houses on the corner of Eclipse Rd and Eclipse Place in Rancho Penasquitos. Apparently they have been hired to clear brush. But this mom nearly drove off the road when she spotted them from afar!

We had them behind our houses for a couple months last year. They even inspired me to create a travel bug for them... Brian or Jim?!?

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Early riser? I discovered this little guy at the side of the very narrow trail along the bottom of Bridge Canyon off Arroyo Tapiado on 19 Feb. He was tightly coiled and partially buried in the typical "waiting for lunch" pose. He was very sluggish and not at all concerned that several people walked by without noticing him/her (didn't stop to count the ventral scales :blink:). Most likely a Colorado Desert Sidewinder because of habitat but I didn't see any dark area near the rattles. That time of the year again ....

 

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Saturday, 2/16/2007, 4:15 pm.

This coyote came cruising by while I was at the summit of Round Mountain, the old volcanic core just north of Jacumba. I think it was surprised as I was to see another creature up here late this afternoon. GCB3A9 is within a few yards of where this one looped around going west to east through the summit saddle. My camera took a little too long to boot up to catch a particularly nice, if brief, pose when it first noticed me.

 

Curiously, I saw another coyote out on the flats as I was leaving Mortero Palms/Dos Cabezas earlier today.

-Gecko Dad

 

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Edited by Team Gecko
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Happened upon this encounter today while hiking near Loveland Reservoir.

 

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As I passed a small bush at the left edge of the trail I heard a rustling noise and then two or three shrieking squeaks. I stopped and looked through the branches and leaves of the bush and saw coloration that made me think of a small hawk. Once I moved around the bush and poked the branches back I saw that a juvenile snake had grabbed a large woodrat or perhaps a gopher just as I passed by. The critter was still struggling to no avail.

 

The ruckus made by the critter made me think that it had been struck by a rattler. However, John of John & Jess points out that it was probably a gopher snake. Duh on me, but I wasn't about to stick my hand into that bush to check for markings. Photography is a wonderful thing.

 

Thanks John,

Harmon

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Tonight we stopped by 7 for 7 (GCJV2N) near Buckman Springs.

 

As jaredloser went for the grab, this litttle guy was guarding the cache. It was raining/hailing/snowing so we decided to leave him be, but claimed the cache. :):D

 

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Dang! At night too it seems.. I am not as careful at night time. I better be more careful. I uncovered a rattle snake on Jamul mountain wihle searching for a cache. Fortunately, I was more scared of it than it was of me. I think Miragee got a partial picture of it. It was a small 2-3 footer. [:lostsignal:] (I have been next to a bigger one!)

 

TA

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Found this Blue Belly sunning along the "Way Up" trail near the Harmony Grove Overlook spot at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. This is a great path with a wonderful view payoff at the top of the 1.5 mile trail. I was on my way back from Indecent Proposal cache GCZJE1. Sure, it is not a Bighorn, but I had fun taking pictures of it and trying to get an angle with the blue belly.

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