Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I've been busy creating a plan, a worksheet, and a letter explaining who I am and why I want to take photos of dogs and measure their tracks. Today, I'll find out if it works.
My goal is to record measurements on 100 dogs before the project is due in May. If I could do it without taking any measurements at all, I would. But, as my friend Jonathan pointed out, it would be impossible to re-create the project later, so I may as well take all the measurements anyone will ever want to know.
Jim Halfpenny has set the standard for tracking dogs, and so I'm going to be taking 15 measurements on each set of tracks...times 3, and then getting an average value for each of the 15 measurements. And I'll be using the metric system instead of the more comfortable inches...
That's assuming I can actually talk people into going to the sandy beach area along the river. I'm not sure I'd have fallen for the "school project" story when I was walking my dog. It should be interesting to see what happens.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I had an unexpected day off on Saturday, and so took a walk along the path at McCormick park. I couldn't go far, as water was still up to the 2nd highest strand of wire at the low spot where the farm road crosses just north of the Safeway lot.
I didn't have to go any further - there was a fair bit of wildlife out enjoying the sunshine and mellow fall temperatures. I saw this pair of hunting coyotes - numbers 7 and 8 - on the backside of the open field just about 6 city blocks below my apartment. They knew I was on the bridge, and moved out of sight, but not before I got a dozen pictures! What a cool sight...even though there were a number of people and dogs out on the path, no one else noticed them.
The coyotes (Canis latrans) looked fat and in good conditon, probably since the small mammal population had been disrupted by the flooding. The vole was just a few hundred yards down the path. I still have to look up the species...I'm not so confident of my vole ID.
I saw several of them along the path. They would come out of the piles of dry leaves after someone had passed by. But, as soon as I moved in to get a photo, back in the leaf piles they would go. My shadow spooked a couple of them, and I only got photos of the spot where one had been just seconds before. Then, I got smart. I waited in one spot with camera ready as a jogger passed by. As soon as she was gone, this little critter came out into the sunshine and I got several pics of it as well. I expect that jumpiness pays off with the coyotes so near.
As I was leaving the park, one of the coyotes had retuned to the place I'd first seen them. I took a few more photos, then, one hunter to another, I wished it well and moved on.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Links to Cool Sites:
My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books
- Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
- Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
- Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
- Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
- Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries
My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books
- "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
- Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
- "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
- Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
- Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
- Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
- Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"