A white-headed woodpecker probing for insects in a sugar pine cone. Pen and ink.
After visiting a logging crew near Junction City I passed this old barn. It deserved a picture, don’t you think?
The Pacific fisher is a large member of the weasel family that makes its home on our California timberland.
The company I work for, Sierra Pacific Industries, has been involved in a fisher relocation project for a number of years. Our partners in the project include US Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and researchers from North Carolina State University. The purpose is to re-establish fisher into parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that used to be their historic range. The project has been highly successful. You can read more about the project here at the Fish and Wildlife Service website.
This is a mixed media illustration of a fisher with a radio collar that I did for the children’s book Timber!. The pen and ink version appeared in the young reader book Timber In The Working Forest. Both books were written by Mary A Livingston and illustrated by me. You can read her blog at Sneaking Bliss.com.
It’s been a quiet week around the osprey nest. They’re hunkered down and sitting on the eggs. It’s a good week to share another one of our locals. I ran into this youngster out behind the log decks. I can never guess what animals I may bump into around the mill. Wildlife will exploit habitat wherever they find it.
If you like opossums and you want a great children’s book about an opossum I highly recommend Oh No! Baby-O. Written and illustrated by Mary A Livingston.
A week after the male osprey arrived the female showed up. They’re together again for another breeding season. While waiting for her to arrive he kept busy doing guy stuff. Click on the galleries to enlarge the pictures.
Apparently, an incident was witnessed by several coworkers between an eagle and the osprey. On Monday, one of the eagles showed up and began circling the nest. The male osprey took off and began to circle up to the eagle. When the osprey reached the eagle he began diving on it. After multiple diving runs the eagle began turn belly up to give the osprey its talons. The aerial combat went on until the eagle moved off.
Incidentally, I discovered this on the neighboring property. You have to click on the gallery to see the bald eagle on the nest.
On Monday morning an osprey returned!
He came with no fireworks, no fanfare and no eagles.
The week prior the eagles were notably absent and the osprey hadn’t arrived. Last Monday when he did arrive the eagles had been gone for a week. They must have a nest elsewhere and were using the osprey nest as a private getaway. You can see the eagles here.
Now that he has arrived his vigil begins. The female is fashionably late every year. More osprey news to follow when she hits town.
Bliss and I were out marking trees a few weeks ago when we came upon several wood rats nests. They build these large stick pile akin to a beaver lodge on land. They are very industrious creatures. They are also an important prey species for forest predators.
Bliss was very impressed with this massive collection of sticks. So impressed that she claimed it for herself. Sadly for her it wasn’t going to fit in my vest and she could only carry one stick at a time.
This clever rat built its nest in the trees. No sticks for Bliss from this one.
Bliss found a deer skull under the nest. “No Bliss it’s not a rat skull and no you can’t eat it!”
This is week that the osprey customarily return to their nest in the electrical tower at the sawmill. I haven’t seen them yet. Usually the male shows up a week or two before the female. This year they will be in for a bit of a surprise. A little over a month ago a pair of eagles moved in. I’m not sure how this will go, but the eagle are a lot bigger than the osprey. I’d have to put my money on the eagles. Click on the gallery to enlarge to photos and get the dirt.
Below are a few of the osprey posts over the years.
I was in the Trinities this week and there was thick smoke everywhere. It’s burning season in Northern California. We had quite a lot of rain in late November. I assumed that some agency was doing a large burn project. However, I couldn’t see where the smoke was coming from. It appeared to be drift smoke.
During my drive down from the mountains I heard a news report. They reported that smoke from the Thomas Fire was drifting up the coast. I checked Google Earth that evening and the smoke had drifted nearly 500 miles from the Thomas Fire in Southern California to north of Redding. The residue of so many homes and so much wildland was adrift in this smoke.
I started this post last June, but never finished it. Better late that never. Here are just a few pictures of our birds that make their home at the Mill. It defies conventional wisdom that so much wildlife makes it home at an industrial complex and thrives. It’s all about the habitat.