Saturday, May 06, 2006

Old Bobcat at Wilder State Park

Originally uploaded by Henrik Kibæk.

This old bobcat that hangs out near the bridge by the corral at Wilder State Park is my favorite. It's also the only one of my bobcat friends that is photographically cooperative. Wilder is a great California State Park on the coast at the northern end of the Monterey Bay and an example of a new trend in park management in the western US (The BLM spearheaded this approach in the 1970's in the California Mojave Desert led by Senator Alan Cranston). Instead of trying to make all types of visitors happy everywhere in the park (and failing to make anyone happy), they try to accomodate specific activities at specific locations or even at specific parks. Wilder State Park is part Childrens Petting Zoo, Historical Park, Horse Ranch, and Mountain Biker Paradise. While some impressive distance runners train there in the hills most of the trail occupants are bicyclists. Horses have the right of way, and bikers must yield and pass sensitively, but there are relatively few horses to cope with. Hikers are few and far between. And there is lots of wildlife. Coyotes, bobcats, and lots of mule deer. Once I almost collided with a six point buck bounding across the trail. There are even rattlesnakes. My son and I spotted a 15 cm rattler a couple of weeks ago that was less than a year old.

I have been meaning to put together a decent website on Wilder for years, but have only managed to assemble a time-lapse photo tour of one of the main bike routes I follow. The first photos are climbing the hill at UCSC as the map indicates.
It's also interesting to view this ride as a quick slideshow at October May

The photos were taken at 3 minute intervals, so setting the slide show speed to 1.8 seconds will give you a 1:100 time compression.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Many animals remain in place most of the year and then suddenly get up and move around in mini-migrations. Today it was the harvestmen... The bike trail up through the Great Meadow at UCSC is where I notice the "migrations," mostly because I am moving so slowly that I actually see things. Along some segments of the trail there was one of these Opiliones stumbling across the path every meter or so. In the Fall I have noticed Thysanurids (Silverfish) on the trail in large numbers around sunset on warm days and Jerusalem Crickets after the first rains. And last summer I counted seven Alligator Lizards on one bike ride... when usually I see none.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Fort Ord Ticks

Originally uploaded by Henrik Kibæk.

I've been thinking of photographing lurking (a.k.a. "questing") ticks for a while now, and today I finally got around to it. As far as I can tell, they love dead Lotus. I think these four are all Pacific Coast Ticks (Dermacentor occidentalis), three females and a male (without the pale shield). While the Western Black Legged Tick (Ixodes pacificus) is the main vector here of the Lyme Disease spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi), 3 percent of Pacific Coast Ticks at Camp Pendelton (San Diego County) tested positive for spirochete! This is the most abundant and common tick in the Monterey Bay area in my experience. These photos were taken between the CSUMB campus and Marina on the blocked off part of 6th Avenue between the 8th street cutoff and Imjin Road. In 2004 I shared blood with a tick for the better part of a day... see,-121.792417&spn=0.016766,0.028925&om=1

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Dead Young Gray Whale

Originally uploaded by Henrik Kibæk.

This young Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus) washed ashore March 15, 2006, at the Salinas River State Beach near the Monterey Dunes Colony.

Although my first thought was that it had been raked by a propeller, the whale was also disemboweled... which pointed to Orcas. As you can see from the photos, it would have had to be a very slow moving propeller... Just curious why the Orcas did not eat more of the whale.,-121.795464&spn=0.066961,0.1157

Later I found this video coverage of orcas feeding on grey whales in the Monterey Bay.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The web as personal archival tool... Part II

The concept of taking notes from anywhere and accessing them again from anywhere was an early internet concept. Telnet, unix, and vi or emacs has allowed me to do that since 1984. But adding photos and using same tool to upload and view came about ten years later.

I wrote my first web log in January 1996... only sporadic blogging since then. Why? Here are my thoughts.

  • The three type of web logs I write are (1)to-do lists, (2)reference notes and ideas, (3)natural history with photos.
  • I don't want my web logs password protected but I also don't want them indexed by search engines. It's a hassle to code the nofollow each time you post a note.
  • I do want to be able to search within my blogs and I want them organized by year/month.
  • I want to be able to access and edit blog from anywhere using any platform.
  • I want to be able to back up the entire set of web logs and photos locally with one click of the mouse.
  • I want to keep on a server that is fast and always up. This morning I tried using blogspot and couldn't access it. I want my blogs to reside on my own account in a professional environment such as Web Hosting by ICDSoft.
  • I want to be able to easily upload photos and write about them. I would also like to be able to get hard copies of the photos and let others do the same (easily).
  • I want to be able to distinguish by media type.

The closest I can get to that ideal is to work from Flickr using the "Blog This" feature with photos archived on that site. The blogs are then automatically posted here with a small version of the photo.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Laboratory of David Epel in 1995

Originally uploaded by Henrik Kibæk.

The Epel Lab at Hopkins Marine Station in the Spring of 1995

From left David Epel, Barbara Toomey, Henrik Kibak, Beth Shomer, Melissa Kaufman, Yuzuru Ikeda, Barney Rees, and Chris Patton.

I loved working in this lab. Dave is a biologist's biologist. The range of projects was so exciting. I had come from the Taiz Lab at UC Santa Cruz, where I was practically the only US citizen, to this lab where only Yuzuru was from overseas. Yet one could not have assembled a more diverse group of people! No one had anything in common, except uniformly good humor and a love (tolerance?) of the same radio station - KPIG!

This photo was the one used on that first lab website, taken just outside the lab. Yes, that's the Monterey Bay in the background, and those are just clouds... not a chain of snowcapped volcanic peaks :-)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Bumble Bees and Lupines

Originally uploaded by Henrik Kibæk.

I am trying to put together a unit on pollination... and one "kernel object" will be insect transport.

Every April and May, Fort Ord is carpeted with these beautiful little sky lupines (Lupinus nanus)(1)(2)(3) and bicolor lupines (Lupinus bicolor). But by mid June there is often not even a trace of them... all withered in typical drought-avoider fashion.

Several Bumblebees (Bombus) (4pdf)(5)visit them and I should really take the time to get to know them. Because of the frequent cool sea breezes and abundant rodent burrows this is good bumblebee territory. This photo was taken about 2 miles inland from Marina State Beach.

Also thinking about possibly involving capstone students in this project (LeBuhn, San Francisco State University).

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ft. Ord Flowers & Animals April 16, 2005 - a photoset on Flickr

Originally uploaded by Henrik Kibæk.

Fort Ord used to be a military base until about 1994. Most of the developed acreage was then turned over to a variety of public agencies and municipalities, including California State University Monterey Bay. As the huge undeveloped portion, where generations of rapid response light infantry had trained, was cleared of unexploded ordnance, it was gradually turned over to the US Bureau of Land Management.

Former military bases turn out to be great botanical preserves, at least in California, where so many special plant communities have been decimated by suburban development. The approximately 10 x 10 kilometer "Fort Ord Public Lands" contains the largest remaining patch of Maritime Chaparral outside of Mexico, as well as many fine vernal pools.

Here is a photo journal of a 2005 botanical foray led by BLM Botanist Bruce Delgado:

Ft. Ord Flowers & Animals April 16, 2005 - a photoset on Flickr

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The web as a personal archival tool... Part I

I created my first website in March of 1995, unfortunately only began indexing pages in 1996, and I had left Stanford by then. They do have the old Epel Lab website I started from about 1998. By then they had updated the photo and moved me to the alumni list... However, the web page is essentially as I constructed it in May of 1995.

Interestingly got an odd hit for me in 1999 three years after I began working at CSU Monterey Bay. They also have one of my odd home pages from spring 1998.

Chris Patton and I also began the sea urchin education website when we were working in David Epel's Lab, which Chris and Pamela Miller then vastly expanded...