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Archive for May, 2012

Skunk in the swimming pool!

Skunk in the pool! Photo by Loretta Masnada, Concord, CA
1skunk loretta masnada concord

It was a hot day, but no one else wanted to go in the pool!
Loretta Masnada, Concord, California

Gee, I can’t imagine why. Was it something in the air? /Gary

Posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2012
Under: Skunks | 2 Comments »

Operation Rescue Paws by C.C. Animal Services, C.C. Humane Society & S. Oregon Humane Society

Contra Costa Humane Society photo

There is an exciting undertaking between Contra Costa Animal Services, Contra Costa Humane Society, and Southern Oregon Humane Society. On Thursday (March 31) at 9:30 a.m., volunteers from Contra Costa Animal Services will load up 15-20 of our shelter dogs to drive them in caravan to Oregon, where they are in need of small & medium sized dogs to adopt (imagine!). This effort, dubbed “Operation Rescue Paws” started with a small plane flight of 4 dogs to Oregon earlier this month and will continue with this road trip. Contra Costa Animal Services will perform the spays & neuters while CC Humane Society is raising funds to pay for them. Volunteers will provide temporary foster homes to the dogs until Thursday while they recover from surgery.

This collaborative effort is focusing on dogs that have been at the shelter a long time who need a second chance at finding their forever homes.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
Under: Contra Costa Animal Services, Contra Costa Humane Society | No Comments »

Bobcat peeking from behind tree in backyard, “I see you!”

Bobcat behind tree in backyard: “I see you!” Photo by Bonnie Smith, Livermore, CA
1bobcat bonnie smith livermore

A few weeks ago my husband and I were eating dinner, and a small bobcat walked by, about 10 feet from the window.  He jumped the fence, but I managed to snap his photo as he looked back at us from some trees, his face spotlighted by the setting sun.

A very special moment.
Bonnie Smith, Livermore, California

I like a yard where bobcats feel it’s OK to drop by from time to time! My kind of place. /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Under: Bobcats | 2 Comments »

Cat & wild fawn playing together!

Cat playing with wild fawn. Photo by Kim Andrews, Forest Ranch, CA
1catfawn kim andrews forest ranch ca

I just got this e-mail and photos from my daughter-in-law, Kim Andrews,  in Forest Ranch, CA, (about 30 miles north of Chico).  She does cat rescue and just loves doing it.  Tommy is one of her rescues she just couldn’t part with.

NOTE FROM KIM: Attached is a photo of our cat, Tommy T. (which stands for trouble), playing with a wild fawn that comes on our property on occasion.  He is a bold kitty!  He just turned 1 last week.  That means that he is 15 in human years and he is a typical teenager.  He gives lots of  ‘tude’. It is a beautiful spring day in Forest Ranch. /KIM
Anna Andrews, Walnut Creek, California

Great photos! They remind me of my days, many years ago, in the wildlife rescue business. I had a couple of orphan fawns I was raising in my backyard. My house cat, John, used to stalk the fawns and then they’d romp together around the yard, playing and chasing each other, then they’d rest and take naps together. Go figure. /Gary

Cat stalking and playing with wild fawn. Photo by Kim Andrews, Forest Ranch, CA
1catfawn2 kim andrews forest ranch ca

Posted on Friday, May 25th, 2012
Under: Cats, deer | 1 Comment »

Screech owl family – the ‘Owlbamas’ – nesting in Walnut Creek backyard

Fledgling “brancher” screech owl chicks. Photo by Marilyn Trabert, Walnut Creek, CA.
1a0wl marilyn trabert wc

We have had Western Screech Owls nesting in our backyard for seven years now, and every year is exciting.  The past three years we’ve had four owlets fledge successfully. Before that it was three each year, except for the second year when they abandoned two eggs.  We live in a townhouse in the Rudgear area, so our yard is pretty small.  Yet the nest box is only about 15 feet from the house in a redwood tree.
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Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Under: Screech owls | 1 Comment »

Gopher snake hidden in the grass

Gopher snake’s head, hidden in the grass. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
1snake id brian murphy wc

Found the snake in the above photo at Bayberry Pond (Lime Ridge Open Space, Walnut Creek), stretched out enjoying the morning sun.  Always a hesitation to try and figure out what it was, the pointy tail eventually gave it a way. A nice well-fed, 4 foot gopher snake.

We thought about trying to catch it to see if we still had our 8 year old kid skills but decided to just leave it alone. The photo isn’t ‘good’ but it’s what things look like when you see them and it’s important to identify them before you make a bad decision.
Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, California

Important indeed! You definitely don’t want to grab a rattlesnake! Besides the pointy tail (instead of rattles), you should also note the round pupil in the snake’s eye. Gopher snakes have round pupils … and rattlesnakes have vertical pupils, like cats.

Of course, if you are close enough to get a good look at the snake’s eyes, that’s a whole other story … /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
Under: Gopher snake, Rattlesnake | 1 Comment »

Mama mourning dove and 2 babies, up close and personal

Mama mourning dove and two babies. Photo by Marcie Diffenderfer, Walnut Creek, CA
1dove babies marcie diffenderfer

Thought you might enjoy a picture of the dove that has nested in our atrium and her two babies who hatched yesterday.  It’s been amazing watching them through feedings and activity.  The mom and dad dove switch off taking care of them.  What a miracle to see so close up.
Marcie Diffenderfer, Walnut Creek, California

Mourning doves are truly special birds. Lousy nest builders, yes, but also very special birds. That’s why everyone works overtime to try and protect them when they find doves nesting in their yards. This is a beautiful picture. /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
Under: Mourning dove | 2 Comments »

Gopher snake spotted in Walnut Creek backyard

Pacific gopher snake. Photo by Janet Fournier, Walnut Creek, CA
1gopher snake janet fournier wc

This snake was in our backyard (upper Terrace Road area of Walnut Creek) yesterday afternoon.  It’s a gopher snake … isn’t it? It was approx. 4 1/2 feet long.  If it is a gopher snake I wish it would do a better job because we are inundated with gophers.  Thanks!
Janet Fournier, Walnut Creek, California

Yep, it’s a beautiful gopher snake. Hey, maybe it IS doing a better job. You might have twice as many gophers without it! Think about it. /Gary

Posted on Monday, May 21st, 2012
Under: Gopher snake | 3 Comments »

Looking for a free pet? Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon, June 9-10

Gus the gentle giant (Oakland Animal Services photo)
1a maddies gus

Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon is the weekend of June 9 and June 10

There will be thousands of FREE adoptable cats and dogs available to qualified adopters — from 62 different animal shelters and nonprofit animal rescue organizations at 80 different locations in Contra Costa, Alameda, and San Francisco Counties. For more details plus a list of participating organizations, adoption locations and times, and lots more information, visit

Here are just two of the pets you can adopt FREE on June 9-10:
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Posted on Friday, May 18th, 2012
Under: Cats, dogs, Maddie's Fund | No Comments »

Golden Gate Audubon has new blog

Male wood duck in Tice Creek, Walnut Creek. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA.
1tice creed woodduck brian wc

I have just launched a blog for Golden Gate Audubon — thought it might be of interest to your readers, even if they live outside the borders of our particular Audubon chapter.

The focus is on Bay Area birding news and inspiration — local bird and conservation news, reviews of birding books, sites and equipment, and personal reflections on birding and nature. The first few posts have included an update on the PG&E falcon fledglings in downtown SF, a guide to nest cams around the world (there are more than 50 white stork nest cams in Europe!! Who knew?), and thoughts on why some people consider themselves “birders” while others consider themselves “birdwatchers.”

Might you be able to mention the blog in your column? It would be really helpful in helping build a readership. Thanks so much.
Ilana DeBare, Communications Director, Golden Gate Audubon Society, 510-843-9374 or 510-301-5573 cell

My pleasure. You have an interesting and informative blog and bird-lovers throughout the Bay Area and beyond will enjoy it, I’m sure. /Gary

Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Under: Audubon Society, Wood Ducks | 1 Comment »