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San Diego County Cache Critters


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I took a walk today to Marsh Madness. Who would have thought there'd be so many critters to see!

 

This rabbit was doing its best not to be seen. (Maybe it was a "Marsh Hare"! :ph34r: )

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Some coots that were swimming...

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A coot that was running...

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A lizard...

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Some mallards...

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A seagull...

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And that doesn't even count the snake that didn't stick around long enough to get his picture taken...

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I took a walk today to Marsh Madness. Who would have thought there'd be so many critters to see!

 

This rabbit was doing its best not to be seen. (Maybe it was a "Marsh Hare"! :ph34r: )

eb19dbab-5ef4-40ba-96c4-c1b8939649de.jpg

 

Some coots that were swimming...

4edb25bc-38f0-4dbf-aa54-700051426af6.jpg

 

A coot that was running...

b63ae189-237b-40c9-b5ef-e421f719ca0c.jpg

 

A lizard...

2ef5a4b7-188b-4316-aa0b-058a07f970d4.jpg

 

Some mallards...

82b1508a-6132-4e44-967e-b83f82060163.jpg

 

A seagull...

1c9e382f-01d9-492a-b121-bf01a5f0fd6b.jpg

 

And that doesn't even count the snake that didn't stick around long enough to get his picture taken...

 

 

I'm surprised you found time to grab the cache, James :ph34r:

 

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A coot that was running...

When I saw this text while the pictures were loading...somehow I was expecting to see a picture of Harmon...

:laughing:

Why I oughta .... the distinction being "an old coot."

 

On the other hand, great job on the cache-critter photography.

 

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Aha! ... the Marsh Hare.

Edited by SD Rowdies
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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

Definitely a special moment, Harmon. As you know, gopher snakes (Pituophis melanocleus) are constrictors and you have captured their specialty. Rodents are their main fare, as this poor individual discovered too late. Thanks for sharing.

-GD

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Happened upon this encounter today while hiking near Loveland Reservoir.

 

9bcb16a5-0855-443b-bc67-1209c05e936b.jpg

 

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

Definitely a special moment, Harmon. As you know, gopher snakes (Pituophis melanocleus) are constrictors and you have captured their specialty. Rodents are their main fare, as this poor individual discovered too late. Thanks for sharing.

-GD

Don, your critters thread sure has turned out to be special. Thinking back on my gopher-snake moment I realized that had I been two or three steps further along the trail that afternoon my footfall might have caused the rodent to scurry away just before being attacked by the snake. From that realization I conclude that the extra time I spent looking for the toughest cache hide that day was the cause of death for the poor rodent.

 

I suppose I shouldn't mention the Geocacher's name that owned the challenging hide that lead to my delay along the trail that lead to the gruesome death of a defenseless and now deceased rodent ... but his initials are FisnJack, the heartless rodent-killer that we all know and love.

 

Hi FisnJack, just kidding of course ... probably was a mother rodent with a nest of cute little babies to raise, all now starved to death. So sad you cad.

Edited by SD Rowdies
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After seeing Harmon's gopher snake/woodrat encounter and Miragee's fine shots of the horned lizard, I realized I have fallen way behind in posting shots from cache critter encounters locally and afar. No excuses other than seeming lack of time to write up my cache logs. For starters, I will try to make amends with a series on birds I saw while caching during evenings and over a weekend while on a two-week trip to North Island, New Zealand on Navy business last month.

-GD

 

Saturday, 10 March 2007

While on a hike/run on Rangitoto Island, I followed an infrequently taken side route called "Wilsons Park" to reach the summit crater. Along the way, I visited Island Rock hidden in the lava. A few hundred yards farther up the "track" as they call hiking trails, this small North Island Fantail (also known as Piwikawaka) found me and fluttered all around me, within inches at times. It was quite a challenge to trick my pocket camera into autofocusing correctly as it went to and fro from branches to the ground to other branches to right behind my shoulder to right in front of my face, sometimes bumping me with its wing tips. Apparently these prolific insect catchers take advantage of any disturbance that brings the bugs into the air.

 

North Island Fantail (Rhipidura fujliginosa pacabilis)

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After a half hour of experiencing this behavior, I continued up the trail, a pair of fantails again found me and repeated the same behaviors. Here is one of them who momentarily paused on a branch.

 

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Edited by Team Gecko
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Saturday, 10 March 2007

Here is another native New Zealand bird called the Tui that I saw a short distance up the Wilsons Park track after Island Rock and before encountering the first Fantail. Along the way I heard other Tuis calling from trees but I was only able to spot this one. It was perched about 30 feet off the ground in a tree. The sun was behind it but fortunately clouds were passing over, allowing this shot.

-GD

 

Tui (Prosthermadera novaeseelandiae)

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Saturday, 10 March 2007

This Pied Shag or Krauhiruhi was sighted near Issy Bay Crossroads, the third Rangitoto Island cache I visited while running the eastern tracks of the island.

 

Pied Shag

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There are only three caches on the island and I fortunate to be able to log each of them over the span of a 10-mile trek. The second is perched right inside the rim of Rangitoto Crater. The Issy Bay cache is typically visited by boaters who spend a night or two in beautiful Islington Bay.

 

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The Pied Shag is one of four endemic cormorant species in New Zealand. This one was seen along my run on the Coastal Track, a shoe shredding trail if there ever was one. The eastern end of the track is only a couple of feet wide of A'a lava that went up and down and slaloms as it passes through alternating jungle-like rain forest (with occassional tree roots to jump over) and open lava fields featuring views across the aquamarine waters of the Motokorea Channel.

 

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This stretch took over an hour of running and led me back to the Rangitoto Ferry wharf with 30 minutes to spare for catching the last ferry of the day back to Auckland. Since there is no lodging or even drinking water on the island, it would have been a long, dry night.

-GD

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Sunday, 11 March 2007

I had two off days during the New Zealand trip. On Sunday, I talked fellow Navy traveler Terry into using his rental car to do some hiking and exploring of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park on the coast just west of Auckland. I found a round about way to hike to KatiCache via a track that passes below lovely Kitekite Falls and then, for the adventurous, offers an alternate route that climbs up and around the falls. Along the way we heard but did not see cicadas, except for this one hanging on the side of a creekside sapling under the tree fern canopy.

 

Cicada (Amphibsalta zelandica)

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Tree ferns galore

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Upper Kitekite Falls

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Don,

 

Youda man, you sure get around. New Zealand could take forever to see all the natural sights.

 

Turns out that I'm very familiar with the Tui bird ...

 

99524f88-7533-4dca-b681-fbe46ee404b5.jpg

 

... it's call is "P-Tui! P-Tui!" and it spits a lot.

 

But seriously ... wonderful nature shots as usual. Where-to next?

 

Harmon

Edited by SD Rowdies
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I thought we had posted it before,but I didn't see it.

 

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Order: Squamata

Family: Colubridae

Genus: Lampropeltis

Species: Getulus Californiae

 

Driscption The skin has various patterns (bands, stripes, speckles) and colors, (black and white, brown and yellow etc.) Adults are usually about 3 feet long rarely reaching four feet.

 

Geographical Range and Habitat.

 

Western U.S, From Baja California, North to Oregon and Southern Utah and East to Weastern Arizona. Lives in rock outcrops, semi desert, brushy hillsides or pine forests.

 

Diet.

 

Mice,lizards, small birds, other snakes.

Cretuscular, but nocturnal during hot summer months

 

Life Cycle/Social Structure:

 

Oviparous. Lays around two dozen eggs . Young hatch in about 2 months, and are about a foot long.

 

Special Adaptations.

 

King snakes are wholly or Partially immune to the venum of rattlesnakes, and will kill and eat them. This Behaviour gives them a good reputation with humans in rural areas.

 

Status in the Wild

 

Not considered Endangered

 

I found this little guy starting across a driveway while on my way to a cache I couldn't resist getting a few shots of him and the gps.

Coords are N33°03.415 W117°12.140

 

7/9/2002

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Sunday, 11 March 2007

Here's another installment of NZ cache critters spotted along the lovely multi-cache Karekare Carry on, a nice walking tour on a particularly scenic black sand beach that is occasionally featured in New Zealand touring guides.

 

Canis lupus familiaris (and friends)

58805e4d-e612-4952-8261-ab3eaeef7cbd.jpg

 

Variable oystercatchers (Haematopus unicolor)

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Black-backed gull (Larus dominicanus)

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My log entry includes a few additional photos from this hike.

-GD

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Ran into this guy {litteraly} on the way up out of Horse-thief Canyon today. As we were walking up the trail, Piglit9 didn't even notice him he was sitting so still and stepped near him, it triggered his defensive move of squirting blood out his eyes! Luckily Piglit wasn't really all that interested in him and we all went about our seperate trails, no harm no foul!

 

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Ran into this guy {litteraly} on the way up out of Horse-thief Canyon today. As we were walking up the trail, Piglit9 didn't even notice him he was sitting so still and stepped near him, it triggered his defensive move of squirting blood out his eyes! Luckily Piglit wasn't really all that interested in him and we all went about our seperate trails, no harm no foul!
Awesome photos! Thanks for sharing that CTYankee9. I didn't know that they did that. Very cool! :laughing: Edited by TrailGators
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Ran into this guy {litteraly} on the way up out of Horse-thief Canyon today. As we were walking up the trail, Piglit9 didn't even notice him he was sitting so still and stepped near him, it triggered his defensive move of squirting blood out his eyes! Luckily Piglit wasn't really all that interested in him and we all went about our seperate trails, no harm no foul!
Awesome photos! Thanks for sharing that CTYankee9. I didn't know that they did that. Very cool! :laughing:

Very nice photos, CTY.

 

Horned lizards have a number of defenses, including the blood squirting behavior you observed. I've seen it once - when Groovy, about 9 or 10 at the time, brought one home from a nearby canyon for a few hours. It was startled by his pet rat and whoosh, out came the blood.

 

Here are a few of many articles that describe the phenomenon. The video clip at the National Geographic site is fun to watch - unless you are a coyote.

 

San Diego Natural History Museum article

 

Wikipedia article

 

National Geographic video clip

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P4020059.jpg

 

P4020061.jpg

 

Was out on Lawson peak when this guy spotted me from a distance and felt he had to come over and check me out!

 

Was informed this was a vulture of some sort, that would explain his interest in me, considering my condition after making it to the top of Lawson peak ;) I guess he felt there might be an easy meal on that table-rock!

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Ran into this guy {litteraly} on the way up out of Horse-thief Canyon today. As we were walking up the trail, Piglit9 didn't even notice him he was sitting so still and stepped near him, it triggered his defensive move of squirting blood out his eyes! Luckily Piglit wasn't really all that interested in him and we all went about our seperate trails, no harm no foul!
Awesome photos! Thanks for sharing that CTYankee9. I didn't know that they did that. Very cool! ;)

Very nice photos, CTY.

 

Horned lizards have a number of defenses, including the blood squirting behavior you observed. I've seen it once - when Groovy, about 9 or 10 at the time, brought one home from a nearby canyon for a few hours. It was startled by his pet rat and whoosh, out came the blood.

 

Here are a few of many articles that describe the phenomenon. The video clip at the National Geographic site is fun to watch - unless you are a coyote.

 

San Diego Natural History Museum article

 

Wikipedia article

 

National Geographic video clip

 

Yeah, had to check when I got home on what it was, was a bit worried that the Piglit had done something to it {damaged}, but it seems was just a natural defensive action! Oh yeah, I didn't actually see it jet like in the video and there wasn't any blood on Piglit, but that would have been cool to capture on the camera.

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Thursday, 15 March 2007

Red-billed gulls viewed on my walk to the second waypoint and cache for There is no Mountain in the Devonport area north of Auckland City Center. Curiously, the cache owner goes by the handle "Navigull". He features a seagull icon on his calling card.

-GD

 

Red-billed gull beach party

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Red-billed gull (Larus novaehollandiae)

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Juvenile red-billed gull

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Black-backed gull (Larus dominicanus)

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The Devonport Ferry "Kea" - my daily post-workday, post-caching transport

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The Devonport Ferry "Kea" - my daily post-workday, post-caching transport

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Don,

 

Perfect ferry-shot as it is but, forgive me, I couldn't resist viewing it in earlier light. Ain't photography fun?

 

Must be a cache-critter somewhere in that shot.

 

Harmon

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Don,

 

Perfect ferry-shot as it is but, forgive me, I couldn't resist viewing it in earlier light. Ain't photography fun?

 

Must be a cache-critter somewhere in that shot.

 

Harmon

Harmon-

The gull photos were taken a couple of hundred yards to the left (east) of this shot. Earlier each day, they are often on this beach too. It turns out there is a cache almost under my feet at this location called The Write Stuff. Here is is how the Devonport Ferry Terminal really looks in daylight. There is a mystery critter in the water. Can you identify it?

-GD

 

Mystery critter

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Saturday, 17 March 2007

I encountered this unusual and colorful native bird called a Pukeko. Upon my arrival at the International Terminal for the return flight home, I learned my flight would be delayed a couple of hours. That left me enough time to go on a two-mile walkabout after I was all checked in. I managed to find a couple of caches, the second of which was Goodbye Land of the Long White Cloud.

 

I first saw a trio of these funny looking critters at a distance foraging in an open field. They took off and flew, looking a bit like ungainly pheasants. Then I saw the same threesome later, closer to this cache, and saw their eclectic coloring. While I was seated making my logbook entry, this one approached and tried to sneak behind me without being noticed. Fortunately, I turned around just at the right moment and managed to catch this shot. Later, in the airport, I discovered Pukekos featured on a variety of souvenirs, including mugs, saucers, tiles, tote bags, etc. Apparently they are a particularly popular icon to New Zealanders.

-GD

 

Pukeko (Porphyrio porphyrio)

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Pukeko in the bush

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While placing a new cache "Artificially Stacked Stones" GC123V0; I noticed hundreds of these little guys walking the trail with me as I dropped further down into the Oasis area. At some points it was all I could do not to step on one or two. They all had the little horn at the back and orange heads, yet ranged in color from almost black to the larger ones with the yellow racing stripes. Anyone know what they will turn into?

 

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P4110052.jpg

Edited by CTYankee9
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The second picture looks like a Sphinx Moth caterpillar?

Maybe one of the many forms of Catalpa caterpillars as in Catalpa Sphinx. Not sure but the nearest I can find was at the following link.

 

Catalpa worms

 

So far can't find an exact match in the usual photo galleries but the link is pretty close. In the southeast Catalpa trees are called fishbait trees because of the readily available Catalpa caterpillars prized for lake and stream fishing. In the deep south one conserves syllables so pronunciation would become "'talpa tree."

 

Brings the question "Y'all want fries with tha-ut?"

 

If it is a Catalpa caterpillar it suggests that there are Catalpa trees in Horsethief Canyon. That needs to be looked into I should think. Sounds like a job for FisnJack.

 

Nice job on the macro-shot by the way. For photos of this sort it would be good to place a penny or other coin into the composition.

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Nice job on the macro-shot by the way. For photos of this sort it would be good to place a penny or other coin into the composition.

You can use the geocache that appears in the 2nd photo as a size reference. ( :D;):huh: )

 

Correct LLOT, you can somewhat clearly see that .50 cal sized ammo can that I had cammo'd :D to look somewhat like a rectangular black and white rock :D . Yes, just above and about a third of its body length back from the head! :D

 

The yellow striped one was about 4 1/2 inches long.

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Not sure about the identification of this bird: A white-crowned sparrow, perhaps? The cache was "Dirty Rock" (GC1025) in the Marin Headlands north of San Francisco...

a0c67942-f6c8-41e4-a6cd-b1c4fa9c56d1.jpg

Tough to say because the bird's coloration is so neutral; however, the White-Crown markings are clearly visible on my LCD monitor.

 

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Saturday, 4/15/2007

I encountered this Townsend's Warbler while hiking in lower Hornblend Canyon to reach Kumeyaay Kitchen.

 

Townsend's is categorized as a "Wood-warbler" and is more typically associated with coniferous forests rather than the desert. They are flying insect catchers and this one was actively doing just that. It seldom held still for more than a second or two.

-Gecko Dad

 

Townsend's warbler (Dedroica townsendi)

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Over-the-shoulder view

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What's up?

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Saturday, 4/15/2007

I encountered this Townsend's Warbler while hiking in lower Hornblend Canyon to reach Kumeyaay Kitchen.

 

Townsend's is categorized as a "Wood-warbler" and is more typically associated with coniferous forests rather than the desert. They are flying insect catchers and this one was actively doing just that. It seldom held still for more than a second or two.

-Gecko Dad

 

Townsend's warbler (Dedroica townsendi)

a12bd724-e53a-4991-9226-93dd2aa1bbbe.jpg

 

Over-the-shoulder view

7a242f84-017c-4c30-89e5-02834b6b05bf.jpg

 

What's up?

0b655e1c-278e-4f93-97cf-f3f982c3acf0.jpg

 

Don, these are great pictures of the same kind of bird we spotted on Friday while hiking up the Painted Canyon Ladder trail in the Mecca area! We stopped to watch it because of it's markings, and because we had never seen one in the desert before. Don't know how you took such good pics of it, it really did never stay still!

Thanks!

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Found her at the San Diego earthday CITO in some garbage I was about through away. You can see the can I cut open to get her out. There was about 1/4 pound of dead beetles in there with her.

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Found this pair getting ready for private time. :laughing: The male was doing his best dance, right before I took the picture.

e1d5169c-c86d-4754-8603-ad7f8382ca80.jpg

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