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Archive for June, 2011

Gary’s off to see the Wizard!

Panamanian rain forest from a dugout canoe (Bogue).
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I’m “Off to See The Wizard!”

Taking a break to go down to Panama with my wife to visit my son and his wife and the two darling granddaughters.  My son always has a big surprise where they plan to take us. One time we paddled by dugout canoe deep into the Panamanian rain forest (see above photo I took from the canoe).

I’ll be back here on July 12 (unless we get lucky and get lost in the rain forest!). I’ll bring plenty of photographs to share with you and many a tale of adventure.

See ya! /Gary

Posted on Monday, June 27th, 2011
Under: Panama, Panama rainforest | 1 Comment »

Bird nest found hidden in backyard BBQ

Bird nest  in BBQ. Photo by Roger Stone (shared by Judy Wobleski), Walnut Creek
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We’ve been a little late getting started on our summer barbecuing this year, but decided to fire it up last night.  Fortunately, we opened it up to clean it first, and lo and behold – there was a bird’s nest sitting right there to the side of the grill.  We never noticed any activity during the spring, but then we weren’t looking for it by our BBQ.  Even our 3 indoor cats didn’t seem to notice.  Do you have any idea what kind of nest it is? One of your loyal readers,
Judy Wobleski, Walnut Creek, California

Looks like it might be a brown towhee nest, although I could be wrong. Clever to use the BBQ as a nest site, don’t you think? Nice little armor-plated hiding place to keep the cats and jays away … ahem … until it’s time to fire up the old BBQ!

Anyone else out there discover clever, unique or weird bird nest locations? Send them in! /Gary

Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2011
Under: Bird nests, Birds | No Comments »

Community Concern for Cats rescues kittens caught in rat traps

Feral kitten rescued by Community Concern for Cats. Photo by Adelei Warachowski, Martinez, CA
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My friend Gemma from Community Concern for Cats (CC4C) in Pleasant Hill, CA, called me earlier this week to tell me about a feral cat rescue she’d just made. Seems a guy had a problem with rats under his house, so he put a bunch of rat traps down there to trap them. What he didn’t know was a feral cat family, mom and kittens, were also living under his house. Oops. And of course some of those rat traps started catching little kitten paws.

Fortunately, we have a wonderful nonprofit feral cat rescue group in the area called CC4C, that responded when the owner of the house called for help.You can find out more about CC4C at their website:

The kitten pictured here is the last one they caught. Here’s what Gemma had to say about it:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Under: Cats, Community Concern for Cats, Feral cats | No Comments »

Scrub jays duke it out to see who’s the toughest jay

Scrub jays fighting. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
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Here is a view from a fight as scrub jays have a knock down drag out battle …
Dave Harper, Oakley, California

Great photo! Male scrub jays are VERY territorial and I suspect that’s what’s going on. One male jay is trying to get the other male jay to move on and move on get off his turf. Of course jays never ask anything nicely. They just dive right into it. They’re pretty pushy. /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
Under: Jays, scrub jay | 5 Comments »

Got bees? Here’s who to call for help.

Honey bees in a kestrel nest box. Photo by Marina Chainey, Richmond, CA
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A swarm of honey bees moved into one of my kestrel boxes today.  I’ve heard their numbers are down.  Should I contact someone to come and get them, since they are nicely contained?
Marina Chainey, Richmond, California
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Posted on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
Under: beekeeper, bees | 2 Comments »

Ticks: Anyone seeing a lot of ticks in the Bay Area this year?

Tick crawling on arm. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
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While watering oaks on North Lime Ridge — our resident ‘wood tick magnet’ attracted some new friends. He picked up 12 wood ticks. The one I photographed on his shirt he missed, but after the photo it was released.

He always picks up ticks when we’re on our trips to maintain and plant habitats on the open space slopes of Mount Diablo around Walnut Creek. Hope these photos work for you.
Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, California
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Posted on Monday, June 20th, 2011
Under: Ticks | 10 Comments »

A doe and two fawns: HOT IN WALNUT CREEK

Doe and fawns cooling in shade. Photo by Mike Gordon, Walnut Creek, CA
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This doe and her two fawns found some shade!
Mike Gordon, Walnut Creek, California

Leave it to the wild creatures to figure out how to deal with a hot day. Go lie in the shade until it cools down!

Unlike us humans who go for walks in the sun, or drive around town running errands in the hot confines of our cars. Chill out, people. And while you’re at it, please make sure your pets have PLENTY of cool water to drink when they need it and some cool spots to get out of the heat! When it’s a hot day, do you know where your pets are? /Gary

Posted on Friday, June 17th, 2011
Under: deer, Hot Weather | 1 Comment »

Last baby to leave the nest, mouth wide open, waiting to be fed

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Last baby to leave nest.

I took this today in my backyard.
Margaret Robideaux, San Leandro, California

Classic baby bird … its mouth wide open, waiting to be fed! /Gary

Posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2011
Under: Babies, Bird nests, Birds | No Comments »

That’s one VERY frustrated wild turkey!

“Hey! How come that dumb squirrel gets all the peanuts?!” Photo by Jeanne Thomas, Walnut Creek, CA
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I raised the peanut feeder 12 inches because the wild turkeys were eating me out of house and home.  It didn’t deter the squirrels from climbing up to get some peanuts, but you can tell the turkey is visibly disturbed.
Jeanne Thomas, Rossmoor, Walnut Creek, California

You can see it in the turkey’s eyes … “Hey! How come that dumb squirrel gets to eat the peanuts and I don’t?!” /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
Under: fox squirrel, wild turkeys | 2 Comments »

Cool cat likes to dip his tail in the creek on hot days

Jack the cat chilling out in the creek. Photo by Robert Bedard, Scotts Valley, CA
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My sister  Karen adopted a very cool cat named Jack. He has only one eye.

Karen lives down in Scott’s Valley by Santa Cruz, California. Anyway she has a creek running through her property, and Jack loves sitting on a certain rock in the middle of the creek, letting his tail float on the water.
Karen Marie Keary, San Francisco Bay Area

Ah, nothing like a cool (tail) dip in the creek on a hot summer day … Jack is definitely a “cool” cat. /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
Under: Cats | 2 Comments »