Monday, October 22, 2007

Wildlife

I had a lot of opportunity to run across wild animals while growing up in the foothills outside the Valley. But that was 25 years ago, so I've always assumed that the wildlife would be on the decline in the area rather than on the rise. A few weeks ago the boys and Monica and I took a trip up to the foothills to go tarantula hunting. This time of year they're easily spotted walking across the road (males seeking mate). I was surprised at the abundance of wildlife. In particular I think the presence of predators is a good sign. I've seen an amazing variety of hawks in our trips up to the area. And talking to some of the locals there are are number of foxes, bobcats, coyotes, and the odd mountain lion, even today. I even had a chance to see an animal I never knew existed in the area (the Pine Marten) on our last camping trip.

These mountains are incredibly dry this year. I saw an article in New Scientist reporting on a study of mortality rates in trees in the Sierra Nevada that implies climate change is responsible for an increase. My wildlife surveys might be informal, but they seem to continue to flourish in the area.

1 Comments:

Blogger brent said...

I would really be impressed if you'd seen a pika or a water ouzel (http://www.yosemite.ca.us/john_muir_writings/the_mountains_of_california/chapter_13 :) OK, those are both usually at higher elevations than foothills. I agree with you about more wildlife, I've seen more bobcats in the last couple of years than in all my years previously. Many more birds of prey (even here in the backyard -- owls almost every night, and Coopers hawks going after pigeons in my palm trees ). Even a ring-tailed cat near Miramonte (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/habcon/cgi-bin/read_one.asp?specy=mammals&idNum=70 ).

9:32 PM  

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