Readers’ wildlife photos

June 30, 2021 • 8:00 am

Today’s photos come from Charles Schwing, whose captions and IDs are indented. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Here are some game camera pictures of the larger predators photographed at the Archer Taylor Preserve in the western hills above the city of Napa, CA. The picture below shows most of the approximately 400 acres in the Preserve. Caretakers live in the residences at the bottom left and to the right of center.

Above is before the 2017 fires, below is afterward.

The largest predator we’ve caught on camera is an American black bear (Ursus americanus). We suspect the bear is not resident. We get photos only occasionally – once or twice a year.

Not far behind the black bear in size and seen much more frequently (on camera, virtually never in person) is Puma concolor, locally called mountain lion or puma and panther or catamount in other parts of the country.

In the last year or so we have found pictures of two different families. The collared puma (Puma concolor, also called a “cougar”) is P4 (see this very informative site). The uncollared female and her offspring have been showing up frequently enough that we suspect their territories overlap in the vicinity of the Preserve.

The charred trees in the background are what much of the Preserve looks like 3.5 years after the Nuns fire swept through in October 2017.

None of the other predators are nearly as large. Shown are coyote (Canis latrans), bobcat (Lynx rufus), and gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus).

6 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Excellent photos. I particularly like the shot of the coyote, who appears almost to be posing.

    The Nuns fire sounds like yet another scandal for which the Catholic Church will need to be held accountable.

  2. Thanks for the great pics. I had not seen a good view of how devastating those fires were tothe full hillsides and mountains. We visited Napa and Sonoma valleys several times before the big fires and were really impressed by how forested many areas were. The reach of the nuns fire is shocking.

  3. Thank you, Charles, for this inside view of a preserve!
    AFAIK, preserves where natural fires can be safely left burning don’t exist where I live (Germany) due to higher population density. Still, since the 1980s, it has become environmental protection doctrine in Germany to leave dead wood where it falls in protected wooded areas or those that are not in commercial use. Historically, dead wood would have been taken out by people who used it for fuel, more recently by forestry workers to keep wood eating insects from proliferating. One wooded area I know in Frankfurt looks like a conflagration waiting to happen. I’d be interested to hear about fire management or risk management (if any) in the Archer Taylor Preserve.

  4. It’s good to see predators are still in the area, meaning their food is also around. There seems to be no solution for the Western wildfires augmented by climate change. Bill Maher had a bit about how it takes 9 lbs. of water to grow 1 lb. of strawberries, but 1,900 lbs. of water to grow 1 lb. of almonds. California is the world’s #1 almond producer, and with the advent of “almond milk” almond growing has only intensified. But by growing them, ground water is being diminished at an alarming rate. Not that stopping almond farming would alleviate the problems of climate change associated with draught and little rainfall. Just another “unsolvable” problem that will continue to get worse and worse until? I don’t know the consensus on whether or not we’ve hit the “tipping point”, but all indicators say if we’re not there, we inevitably will be. I see a bleak future for most life on earth, including humans.

    I didn’t mean for the climate change downer on a RWP post, but living through the “heat dome” in the NW this last week was an eye-opener (not that my eyes weren’t already open).

    1. I’m in the middle of CA central valley almond country (I’d say literally, but it’s about half almonds, half walnuts surrounding us, for now, although the neighbors say the walnuts will be taken out this year and replaced by almonds). There is (relatively cheap) flood irrigation from reservoirs, but many farmers aren’t taking chances and are putting in deep wells, which are lowering the ground water tables (we’re in fear that our well won’t be deep enough at some time in the near future), and risking subsidence of the ground surface.
      Even more remarkable to me is how much of the nearby lower, rolling foothill land to the east has been converted from dry pasture for cattle to almond orchards, using well-water. It must be worth it to pay PG&E to power their deep well pumps to grow almonds, but it adds to my fears of future environmental emergencies.
      Meanwhile, I still see foxes and coyotes skulking through the orchards from time to time, so it appears they can adapt to the changes.

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