Category: Critters

The Eight-Spotted Skimmer Dragonfly

By Jim Moore, Entomologist Summertime is the season for tending all the vegetables and flowers in my gardens. I focus on those kind of flowers that attract flower-loving bugs; and I do get swarms of them: bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles, and other kinds of bugs. And then there are the predators: spiders, robber flies, damselflies, and dragonflies. This year the top predator was a dragonfly called the Eight-Spotted Skimmer, species Libellula forensis. Several of these dragonflies established their small territories by resting upon the tops of the rather tall stakes that I use to tie up the...

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Wolves Return To Northern California-Shasta & Lassen Packs Confirmed

By Eileen Majors Wolves have been discovered in California once again. Both the Shasta Pack and now the Lassen Pack have been officially identified by wildlife officials for inhabiting specific areas in NorCal. The Shasta Pack consisted of a breeding pair with five pups in 2015. While their whereabouts is unknown, one of the pups was detected in northwestern Nevada in 2016. The Lassen Pack consists of a male, a female and three pups, which have been photographed on remote trail cams in western Lassen County.  The adult female was collared and is being tracked.  The Lassen Pack regularly...

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Muskrat Love

Photos and Article by Jan Ramelli I don’t know anyone who can’t say “Muskrat” without remembering the 1976 hit song by Captain & Tennille peaking at number four on the Hot 100 chart! The Muskrat is usually active at night but can be seen at anytime of the day, especially in the spring. They eat aquatic vegetation, freshwater clams, crayfish, frogs and fish. September is their breeding season and the female can produce up to 5 litters per year, with up to 7 kits in each litter. After the young reach 2 weeks they can swim and dive, and the mother will often wean and drive them away at...

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I am not sure why I should change anything; everybody loves me around here. I am overzealous to say the least, or sleeping; that’s my average day. While I spend about 80% of the time snoozing, the other 20% is all about getting someone to throw me the ball. (Oh, I like eating too.) Recently my mom has been looking up information on pet obesity and now she’s talking about changing my diet. She is always running off on these tangents, and somehow I’m the one that pays the price. She has to get all involved just because October 11th is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. That’s all it took and...

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Bug Wild-The Cobalt Milkweed Beetle

Story & photos by Jim Moore A few years back I was hiking in the woods near  the town of Westwood. As always I was hoping to find some new exotic bug and then coming around a large manzanita shrub there it was!  I had read about these beetle gems of the Western States but had never found one. I was not quite sure it was one of them, because it was not on its namesake host plant. After roaming around a bit within the open woods nearby I finally did find a patch of Narrow-leaf Milkweed plants; and there I found a few more of these metallic blue beauties. The Cobalt Milkweed beetle, species...

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Tank- The Other Dog

Things have been rolling along pretty smoothly, I gotta say. My mom and dad have been taking me with them almost everywhere, even in the new car. I get treated pretty special,that’s for sure. What I love most is sitting out in the front yard while Dad throws me the ball. We do it all the time. Then one day for no reason at all, this other  dog comes strolling up on the porch like he owns the place. My dad gets real serious and puts me in the house. “Let me out!” I bark loudly, while I watch my dad pet him. “Are you kidding me? I’m trying to chase him out of here for ya!” “Maybe he’s a...

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Critters- The Great Horned Owl

Photos and Articles by Jan Ramelli This beautiful bird is more common in our area than one might think. Once you begin to look for the signs they will pop out at you often. A friend of mine, Paul Whitcome, told me about this particular nest and I began to photograph it at least weekly!  It has been a wonderful experience to get up before dawn so that I can be ready for them to return to their nest and watch the male and female raise their two owlets. In the winter and early spring, before the trees began to leaf out, look for large nests in trees.  The Great Horned Owl will lay their 2-3...

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Fishing Fun In and Around Lake Almanor

By Bob Kopernik, Lucky Grady Fishing Guide Service If you are new to this area and are interested in drowning a few worms or crickets in hopes of having Fish Tacos for dinner, do yourself a favor and purchase a detailed geographical map of the area. I like the Northern California DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer Map book because it shows most all of the lakes, streams, campgrounds and the roads to get you there.  Another good resource is the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website, to see where and when they last planted fish into the place that you are thinking about fishing.  You...

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Bark Beetles

By Melissa Wynn After years of drought in California, our forests became more and more stressed. The weakened condition of our beautiful trees have made them highly susceptible to bark beetle infestation. The bark beetles currently attacking our forests are all native. These species include the mountain pine beetle, fir engraver beetle, western pine beetle, Jeffrey pine beetle and pine engraver beetles. Under normal conditions healthy conifer (any tree that produces seeds in cones) trees are able to fend off the destructive beetles by producing enough resinous pitch to drown out the beetles...

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Three Local Hawks

What a rare find!  As we see many hawks in our area, we don’t see a Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) everyday! You will be able to identify this beautiful large hawk with their legs and feet feathered to their talons (also called chaps)!  They also have a distinct yellowish/orange marking around their beaks. They make their homes in open prairie areas; making their nests in a tree, bush, or even on the side of a hill.  The nest will often be made with roots, sticks, sagebrush, cattle dung and sometimes even cattle bones!  They will typically lay up to 5 eggs which are whitish in color....

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The Painted Lady Butterfly

Story and Photos by Jim Moore I do not often dream about bugs, but when I do it usually involves seeing an amazingly beautiful, never-before- seen butterfly, which of course I cannot ever catch. But recently I had an odd butterfly dream. In the dream I was the butterfly, and I was sunning myself on some lavender flowers in a park; and people kept pointing at me, and saying to each another, “Look, a Painted Lady Butterfly!”  But I wanted so very much to tell them, “No, no, I am a Painted Gentleman Butterfly!” But I could not, and it was very frustrating. About then, our cat stepped on my...

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