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