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Critter Cams Capture Four-Legged Lawn Mowers, Steely-Eyed Mice-Eaters

Patch shutterbugs Rob Blits and Thomas Black walk the wild side of Lamorinda, looking for worthy shots of the local wildlife. Amazing what you find staring back at you, sometimes.

Patch contributor Thomas Black reports that a hard-working goat herd are being paid "alternate worker" wages by the East Bay Municipal Utitlity District while trimming grass at the 925-acre Lafayette Reservoir so he took a few shots of the herd for posterity.

Tom captured these images with a Nikon D7000 and he said he wasn't the only shutterbug smitten by the herd. Dozens of other Rez visitors stood in a row along the rim, snapping away with smartphones.

Apparently the herd is surrounded by a mildly electrified fence, as one amateur photographer discovered when she strayed too close.

And then we have Lafayette resident Rob Blits, out and about south of Moraga when he got that "someone's watching me" feeling and looked up -- to find that someone was watching him.

"There is a pair of hawks apparently having hatched eggs in one of the two main trees...," Rob reported. "You can spot them bringing prey (mice mostly) to the nest to feed the young if one walks onto the grass area and look back at the tree near the top."

Aw, nothing like neatly rendered mice entrails for a bonding family meal -- but the Hawk Family is welcome at our house any time they want to break up their diet with a little gopher.

Bob isn't sure if his hawks are red-tails or Cooper's. Any help out there?

Thanks for the pictures, men!

c5 April 30, 2012 at 02:09 PM
hard to say which hawks those are given the small pix, but to me they look more like red tails given the coloration. the coopers has a banded tail and is more grey than red/brown, so my guess here is red tail (which are also more common around here, at least from what i see).
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop April 30, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Bob, Please keep the location of that nest close to the vest. The value of the chicks for "falconry" purposes is extremely high and those folks will stop at nothing to get hold of them. No joke, dead serious. Thanks, CDog
Robert Blits April 30, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Hi CDog, Did not know about the chick value for falconry so thanks for the warning. The value for me and I expect a great many others is seeing the wonders and order of the natural world at work in our own backyard, so to speak. Rob
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop April 30, 2012 at 11:01 PM
I am with you completely, Rob. But secrecy relative to location is mandatory. Years ago, early 1970s, I came across a golden eagle nest in Sibley Park and watched the pair in humbling astonishment and wonder for several years (as you likely know they pair for life and return to the same nest annually for breeding). One spring, as I approach my vantage spot, I was horrified to see the rope ladder dangling from a limb near the nest. These nest structures are not made of string and twigs, but sizable limbs which are roughly woven together to make the aerie about 6 feet or more in diameter. It was clear the two chicks had been stolen and the mature pair had abandoned the nest, never to return again. At the time the golden fledgling likely ended up in the hands some wealthy creep that bragged about the wonder of his birds! As they were protected even then, I reported the Federal crime and the FBI actually came to investigate and found evidence of a fight, blood (human) and scraps of clothing. The wondrous animals did not give up their young easily. The estimated bounty paid by some Saudi sheikh (who are avid falconers) or other wealthy miscreant is significant, but I will not advertise it for fear of encouraging other sick souls from committing this crime against nature. It made me physically ill for days in the wake of the felonious transgression.

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