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Archive for January, 2011

Cats & Squirrels: Whose tree is it?

Whose tree is it? Photo by B. Keeble, Concord, CA
whos tree b keeble concord


What fun this was to watch! Three of our 4 feral/tame kittens (year and a half old; born under the shed; all neutered) and two of the extended squirrel family we have been feeding (note squirrel feeder box) for years, all “playing” in this picture taken through the bedroom window.

The confrontation happened when squirrel on the right came down the branch, with all  three cats and the other squirrel watching. Buster was closer to the feeding box when the squirrel jumped from the roof to the tree and came down branch for some sunflower seeds. Squirrel stopped about where he is and Buster rushed up to …

The squirrel simply jumped down and found sunflower seeds to eat on the ground. LOL!! All the cats sat where they are wondering what to do next. The squirrel in the background didn’t stop eating until the pic was snapped, then went right back to finish it’s breakfast.
B. Keeble, Concord

Whose tree is it? Seems kind of obvious. /Gary

Posted on Monday, January 31st, 2011
Under: fox squirrel, Squirrels | 1 Comment »

A foggy winter day on Mount Diablo. Burr!

Foggy day on Mount Diablo. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
diablo1 brian murphy wc

Foggy winter day on Mount Diablo, Contra Costa County, California.

Burrr! /Gary

Foggy day on Mount Diablo. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
diablo3 brian murphy wc

Posted on Friday, January 28th, 2011
Under: Mount Diablo | No Comments »

Lindsay Wildlife Museum’s Wildlife Exclusion Service

Raccoon in the house. Photo by Maureen Wright, Pittsburg, CA
coon in house


Wildlife exclusion is a service offered by Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, Calif.,  to ensure the harmless eviction of wild animals from areas where they are not wanted such as attics, crawl spaces and garages. Humane techniques are used to evict wildlife and proven methods are used to prevent re-entry. Proceeds from this service go directly towards funding the museums wildlife rehabilitation hospital.

If you need this service, please call the museum at 925-627-2943

Common problems:
*** Raccoons, opossums, skunks nesting in crawlspace
*** Squirrels in attic
*** Snakes in garage

Typical solution:
*** Identify the entrance
*** Humanely evict the animal
*** Clean or sanitize the area
*** Repair and prevention measures
*** Close the opening
*** Follow up call or inspection
*** Habitat and conservation education

The Lindsay Wildlife Museum is at 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek. Find out more about this wonderful place at /Gary

Mama opossum and babies by Andy & Peggy Mosko, Fremont, CA.
andy & peggy mosko, fremont2

Posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Under: Opossums, Raccoons, Skunks, Snakes | No Comments »

Martinez beavers take center stage

Baby Martinez beaver. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds, Walnut Creek, CA
2010 mtz baby, cheryl reynolds

The controversy, compromises and conservation efforts that helped save the Martinez Beavers will be featured at this year’s State of the Beaver conference in Canyonville, Oregon, February 2-4. Top national and international minds will gather to discuss beaver management and the important benefits of beaver-created wetlands.

Heidi Perryman, Ph.D., founder of Worth A Dam and long time supporter of the Martinez Beavers will discuss the steps taken by the city to safely keep the animals, and the subsequent restorative effect their dams have had on Alhambra creek.

“Experts from all over will be at the conference presenting research on how beaver dams improve fish, bird and wildlife populations,” Perryman noted. “Martinez has had the opportunity to watch these effects first hand.”

The conference is jointly hosted by the Beaver Advocacy committee of SURCP and the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Indian Tribe. If you can’t make the Oregon presentation, Perryman will repeat her talk at the Valley of the Moon lecture series in Sonoma later in February and at the Annual CA State Parks Conference in Yosemite in March.

For more information on these talks, plus lots of other interesting beaver stuff, you can check the group’s website at GO BEAVERS! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
Under: Beavers, Martinez Beavers | 3 Comments »

How did those river otters get into Lafayette Reservoir?

River otters in Lafayette Reservoir, CA. Photo by John Eaton, Lafayette, CA.
otters laf res john eaton

We saw four river otters at Lafayette Reservoir today (Jan. 23). We stopped at the Ranger Station and were told that these otters showed up last year — possibly from the creek below the reservoir. They also said that they understood there were otters in the reservoir in the 1950s. Perhaps you could tell us more?
John Eaton & Beth Ferree

John & Beth:
Those river otters initially started out in the Sacramento (CA) River Delta, where there are LOTS of otters. They swam down the Sacramento River to where Pacheco Creek empties into the river at the base of the Benicia Bridge by Martinez, turned up Pacheco Creek and swam to where it turns into Walnut Creek. They continued on to where the creek branches into a multitude of little creeks that head off in all directions. These otters obviously followed the little creeks that eventually passed close by Lafayette Reservoir, where they crossed over to the reservoir.

Otters have used the same technique to get to Heather Pond in Walnut Creek, and Hidden Lakes in Martinez. A few beavers have also made that trip to the Walnut Creek area, where I know they cut down at least one little tree in the backyard of a very surprised homeowner. Clever creatures. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were otters in the reservoir in the 1950s. The river was there and the creeks were there, so the otters could have used them back then and probably even earlier. It should have been an easier trip back then because the area wasn’t nearly as urbanized as it is now. /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
Under: Creeks, River otters | 2 Comments »

Acorn woodpeckers: keepers of acorns.

Acorn woodpecker by Joanne Smith, Union City, CA
acorn2 joanne smith union city

Acorn woodpeckers are interesting birds. They feed on insects, fruit, seeds and sap. They are noted for drilling holes in trees and using the holes to stash acorns.

I got an e-mail a couple of years ago from a man who had a  cabin in the Sierra that he stayed in during summer months. Behind the cabin was a small wooden tool shed. Arriving one summer, he noticed a small hole in the front of the shed. Opening the shed he found it knee-deep in acorns. Acorn woodpeckers had been shoving the acorns into the small hole, much as they would into holes they drilled in tree branches.

Given enough time, I wonder if they would have filled up the shed with acorns? /Gary

Acorn woodpecker by Joanne Smith, Union City, CA
acorn joanne smith union city

Posted on Monday, January 24th, 2011
Under: Acorn woodpeckers, Acorns | No Comments »

Coyote-killing program stopped by public outcry

Coyote photo by Camilla Fox, Project Coyote, Larkspur, CA

Coalition of Wildlife Conservation Organizations Praise Arcadia, Calif.,  City Council’s Unanimous Decision to End $30,000 Annual Contract to Snare & Kill Resident Coyotes

I just received the following information from my friend Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote in Larkspur, Calif. Please read it carefully. If you think you have a similar program where you live, get in touch with Camilla ( so she can advise you on how to put an end to it. Thanks for caring. /Gary

Arcadia, California — A coalition of national and local organizations including Project Coyote, the San Gabriel Friends of Wildlife, the Animal Welfare Institute, and the Angeles Chapter of Sierra Club, praised the Arcadia, Calif.,  City Council for their unanimous vote Tuesday night, Jan. 18, to end the city’s coyote trapping program by the end of the month.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, January 21st, 2011
Under: Animal welfare, coyotes, Project Coyote | 1 Comment »

“Hi there, pleased to meet you, big guy!”

Photo by Inger Thomas, Bethel island, CA
cat vs dog inger thomas bethel island

My friend’s dog met my cat for the first time the other day.
Inger Thomas, Bethel Island, California

It was obviously love at first sight. /Gary

Posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2011
Under: Cats, dogs | No Comments »

Fox squirrel: ‘Hello? Is anybody in there? Where are my peanuts?’

Hello? Anybody in there? Photo by Darlene DeLeon, Pleasanton, CA
squirrel Darlene DeLeon Pleasanton

“Hello? Is anybody in there? Where are my peanuts?!”

Derlene DeLeon of Pleasanton, California, feeds peanuts to the fox squirrels in her backyard. Her daughter says this is what happens if she doesn’t get to the back door fast enough to give them their morning peanut feeding.

“Hello? is anybody in there?

Sound familiar? /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
Under: fox squirrel, Squirrels | No Comments »

This great egret is looking for fish in a local swimming pool

Great egret by backyard pool. Photo by Norma Lent, Lafayette, CA.
great egret1 norma lent laf

This beautiful bird was sitting on my patio a few feet from my back door this afternoon. He stayed for several minutes. What is it, and why would he pick a spot so near my house to take a rest?
Norma Lent, Lafayette, California

It’s a great egret … a large white heron. It is actually pretty common to find them resting in backyards that have swimming pools. These birds hunt for fish, amphibians, etc., in our local creeks and ponds. As far as they are concerned a swimming pool is a natural pond, so this one is checking your pool out to see if there’s anything to eat. From the looks of your photos, your pool is located in a pretty wild, natural area. It should eventually realize there’s nothing edible in those greenish depths and fly off to look for other places to hunt. Nice photos. /Gary

Egret flies away. Photo by Norma Lent, Lafayette, CA
great egret2 norma lent laf

Posted on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
Under: Great egret, heron | 1 Comment »