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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teton Tuesday: Trap-camera highlights, summer drought edition!

As July comes to a close, with the luxuriant bloom of spring a distant memory and the promise of Fall rain still too far off to provide any solace, the ranch and all its inhabitants are locked in the stranglehold of drought. Plants and animals alike have shed all excess, reducing energy expenditures to what is most critical for survival. This stress on the ecosystem does provide an opportunity, however, particularly for one tasked with observing and recording animal behavior. If there is a silver lining to the drought conditions afflicting the ranch this summer, it is the predictability of wildlife movements as a function of available groundwater. This week on the blog we have trap-camera highlights captured over the last month around the last remaining creeks and springs still producing despite the relentless heat. As these water sources continue to dwindle, the animal activity around those that subsist dramatically increases. The clips below are just a small sampling of the many animals trying to beat the heat this summer on Tejon.

These two beautiful young cougars (likely siblings) are utilizing one of the last remaining catchments of this size on Winter’s Ridge.
I noticed this downed cedar below Lopez Flat was perfectly situated as to create a bridge across the canyon. I set up a camera out of curiosity to see who was using the short-cut. Check out who showed up!
Relentless heat has a way of working everyone’s nerves. These two pigs are fed up with one another along El Paso Creek.
Even in the most extreme conditions, life somehow finds a way! Here a fawn on still shaky legs enjoys her first days of life under the watchful eye of mom.