Deer Creek Bridges – Elevations & History

From the highest elevation to lowest, here are views of bridges crossing Deer Creek along with some history.

Boulder Street Bridge, Nevada City – Elevation 2,512′ 

(Near Lefty’s Grill & the Stone House)

Pine Street Bridge, Nevada City – Elevation 2,445′

 

Tribute Trail  – Angkula Seo  Suspension Bridge – Elevation 2,400′

(built by Seattle Bridge LLC)

Tribute Trail – Chinese Tribute Bridge  – Stocking Flat (Champion Mine) – Elevation 2,247′

Bitney Springs – Cotton Brothers Bridge – Elevation 2,010′

 

“NEVADA CITY, CAL –  Cotton Bros. & Co, Oakland, CAL were awarded a contract April 14 by the county supervisors for constructing the following bridges; steel bridge over Deer Creek, $2,248.” – Engineering News and American Railway Journal, Volume 39, April 28, 1898, pg. 145

“The Cotton Brothers and Company was an important California based bridge builder of metal truss bridges in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. They built several bridges in Nevada County during the 1890’s, including the Purdon Bridge.” – Historic American Building Survey, National Park Service – Wolf Creek Bridge PDF

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Resources:

American Bridge Building Companies PDF

Bridgehunter.com – Cotton Brothers Bridges

Bear Yuba Land Trust – Deer Creek Environs Trail

Historic American Building Survey, National Park Service – Wolf Creek Bridge PDF

Installation of Chinese Tribute Bridge (Champion Mine area).

The Sierra Fund – Deer Creek Tribute Trail

South Yuba River State Park – California Bridges – Purdon Bridge

Titus Davis, Loadstone Drone

Tribute Trail Building

The Union – Through the years: Deer Creek’s many bridges

Technology Practice before the Multimedia Story Show in March

From March 4th through April 15th, the South Pine Cafe (in Grass Valley) will host a Following Deer Creek Multimedia Story Show.

What is a Multimedia Story Show?

It’s a display of traditional art pieces, and digital designs printed on clothing and housewares accompanied by QR codes linking to web pages for each subject.

When planning for a multimedia show, the producer must ensure visitors understand how to use technology to get the most out of it.

In this case, QR codes are posted along with each type of media on display. To read a QR code, a smartphone camera optically analyzes the black and white square shape, then directly links to the web page where additional information, along with curated documentaries await the curious.

A variety of phone apps will accomplish similar things, for example, QR Readers, and Bar Code Scanners both use the phone camera to analyze a QR (Quick Response) and bar codes. Because Google Lens performs those functions AND identifies plants and animals, translates foreign languages, serves up book information, and a variety of other services, it’s Lisa’s top choice for scanning apps.

By expanding capabilities of devices we already use on a daily basis (the phone camera), Google is soft teaching us to use artificial intelligence (machine learning) and augmented reality.

“It’s quite fun!” says Redfern. “It’s not always exact, but it’s close enough to be interesting.”

Practice Using New Technology Before the Show

As Lisa was testing the user instructions she plans to display at the show, several test subjects requested that she post tutorials on the blog so new users have time to practice before March 4th.

Click here to visit the YouTube How-To playlist

 

Resources:

Android Guys – Ten awesome things you can do with Google Lens

c|net – Google Lens is turning into what Google Glass never was

Google Lens

Deer Tick, a Questing Bloodsucker

Even if bloodsucking arachnids make you scratch, it’s worth spending a few minutes learning about the behaviors of this tiny creature who survives by hitching rides and drinking blood. While ticks have the potential to spread serious disease, if you know where they hang-out, how do inspections, and how to properly remove them, you can minimize the danger to yourself, your family, and your pets.

Where Ticks Hang-out

Deer ticks are found in places near potential hosts. In Nevada County, those include; deer, squirrel, mice, rabbits, birds, lizards, woodrats, bobcats, skunks, gophers, dogs, cats, humans and other animals with blood.

Blood meals are required for growth. Black-legged ticks (aka Deer Ticks) are hard-bodied and require a host to progress through each life stage. Between meals, they wait, often going into diapause, a state of suspended development.

When not connected to a host, ticks require cool moist places like;

  • leaf litter
  • overgrown shrubs
  • high grass
  • wooded areas
  • woodpiles
  • low branches
  • logs
  • bird feeders
  • moisture-retaining garden features such as mulch or stone walls

Myths

Ticks  do not;

  •  jump
  • drop from trees
  • fly 

They only crawl and climb. To move long distances, ticks must do so while attached to a host.

 

How Ticks Sense Hosts and Know When to Ready Their Grappling Hooks

  • body odor
  • vibration
  • heat
  • breath
  • moisture

questing tick larvae

Questing Behavior

Questing is when a tick prepares to latch onto a host. Like a pirate with a grappling hook, a tick perches at the end of grass blades or branches, waiting with outstretched front legs.  After hooking onto hair or clothing, the tick begins to ascend. They travel up, looking for locations with thinner skin and for places where hosts cannot reach.

Questing Black-legged (Deer) tick. Photo Credit: National Park Service

Newtown Rd. bobcat with an engorged tick. Photo Credit: Terry & Anita Hansen

 Life Span

In warm climates, a tick’s life span may only last a year. In Nevada County, where it’s cold, a tick has a three-year life span. 

Fall through Winter

Tick life starts out as an egg.

Larvae hatch with six legs. *They go into diapause, suspended development, whenever weather conditions are not ideal.

Spring

 The larva attaches to a host – usually a small animal –  for its first blood meal – which can last from days to weeks – then drops off.

Summer through Winter

After molting, a larva becomes a nymph, gains two additional legs, and overwinters in this stage.

2nd Spring

Nymphs seek out a host for a second blood meal – which can last from days to weeks – then drops off.

2nd Summer through Winter

Nymphs molt into adults and overwinter in this stage.

3rd Spring

Adults seek out a third blood meal – usually on a large animal – where they feed and mate through the summer.  Males die after mating.

3rd Fall

Females drop off the host to lay eggs on the ground. She’ll lay about twenty eggs a day and can lay over a thousand in a month-and-a-half. At this life stage, most of her body weight is comprised of the eggs. When she’s finished laying, her body collapses.

*Engorged females, ready to lay eggs will look for soil as a first choice, but if she drops off inside a house, she will seek places like hampers, bathroom rugs, or a pile of damp laundry.

 

Life stages: larvae, nymph, adult male and female.

Hardiness

Using diapause, ticks can survive long periods of drought. They can also survive underwater for two to three days and can last for two years without a blood meal.

Most Active

Adult black-legged ticks (aka Deer Ticks) are most active after the first frost in fall and again in spring.

Squirrels Carry Bacteria

In California, the Western gray squirrel is known to harbor the bacterium –Borrelia burgdorferi– that causes Lyme Disease. Ticks pick this up during their first or second blood meal.

Lizards – Western Lyme Heros

 

Western Fence Lizard with tick Photo Credit Jerry Kirkhart

While in the larva or nymph stage, ticks frequently find lizard hosts. 

Alligator lizard with ticks. Photo Credit Steve Jervetson

A protein in lizard blood kills the Lyme disease causing bacteria.

 

Lizards may be the reason Lyme Disease is not as prevalent in the western states as it is in the east.

Once a tick is finished with its lizard liquid, the bacteria won’t be transmitted to the next host.

 Predators

Ants, frogs, lizards, poultry, and opossums.

Tick Inspection & Bite Prevention

  • Wear light-colored clothes – long pants + long-sleeved shirts.
  • Apply bug spray with at least 20% Deet. (Permethrin on clothes only.)
  • Keep to the middle of the trail and try not to brush against branches or grass.
  • Frequently stop to check pant legs for ticks.
  • Check companions for ticks in places they can’t see. 
  • Also do periodic checks on animals, focusing on head, ears, and neck.
  • If possible, shower within two hours of spending time in a tick zones.

Tick Removal 

Because ticks have numbing agents in their saliva, you won’t feel it when mouthparts penetrate.

With tweezers, grab the tick close to the skin and pull straight out.

Ticks & Disease

“Ticks transmit the widest variety of pathogens of any blood-sucking arthropod, including bacteria, rickettsiae, protozoa, and viruses,” comments Larisa Vredevoe, Ph.D, Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis

**It’s important to remove ticks as soon as possible. It takes between 36 to 48 hours for a Borrelia burgdorferi carrier tick to transmit the bacteria from the gut to the salivary glands.

Interactive Lyme Disease and Tick Survey

From the data on the Interactive Lyme Disease and Tick Survey,

the majority of Lyme disease causing ticks in Nevada County come from the South Yuba River watershed.

Nevada County Cases of Lyme Disease

Between 2000 and 2016, Nevada County reported 48 cases of Lyme Disease

Nevada County, incidence per 100,000 person-years = 2.73

The highest risk counties in California are; Trinity, Humboldt, and Mendocino.

Seek Medical Attention

If a rash or skin irritation occurs after a tick bite, promptly seek medical attention.

Lyme Rash

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If you’re not too ‘bugged’ by this post, you might also like Fleas and Disease in the California Gold Rush 

Resources:

Bay Area Lyme Foundation – Are Deer to Blame?

California Department of Public Health – Lyme Disease

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Tick prevention, removal, symptoms, and data

Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology – Blocking pathogen transmission at the source: reservoir targeted OspA-based vaccines against Borrelia burgdorferi

John Hopkins Lyme Disease  Research Center – Preventing Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease Association – Tick Removal

Nevada County Tick ID & Testing & Q and A PDF’s

Nevada County Reports of Lyme disease by the year

New York Times – Lyme Diseases’s Worst Enemy? It Might be Foxes

SF Gate – Lizards Slow Lyme Disease in West / Ticks bite them – and leave with purified blood

San Mateo County Mosquito & Vector Control District – Lizards, Ticks and Lyme Disease

Smithsonian Magazine (VIDEO)Mother tick laying eggs

The Union (2008) Ticks that cause Lyme disease are prevalent in county

UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology – California Ticks  &  Tick Biology

University of California, Berkeley – Feeding on lizard blood strips ticks of dangerous Lyme disease bacterium

University of California San Francisco (2018) Lyme Disease is on the Rise – An Expert Explains Why

University of California San Francisco – Gene Signature Could Lead to a New Way of Diagnosing Lyme

WebMD – All about Ticks FAQ 2019

 

Saliva Studies

 
Mating & Egg Laying

University of California TV – Lyme Disease – History and Current Controversies (2013)

Bat – a Colonial Insectivore

Bats are the only flying mammals. Wing membranes are attached to their fingers. After rodents, they are the largest order of Earth animals. 

Microbats live in California. they are insectivores and can eat their weight in insects daily. (Large bats, such as the Fruit Bat, also known as a Flying Fox, live in tropical climates.)

Roost/Colony:

Roosts, which can contain up to thirty generations of family members, are used for protection, warmth, grooming, eating, resting, and mating. Roosting sites include caves, mines, bridges, buildings, crevices, and tree hollows. Bats are nocturnal. They leave their roosts at dusk to hunt and drink water at night.

Since roosts are where large numbers of bats congregate, it’s a system that provides fertile conditions for the spread of diseases such as, rabies, histoplasmosis, and other viruses. Roosts are where White-nose syndrome is spreading (see below).

The Mexican free-tailed bat or Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) is a migrating bat native to the Americas. Since it roosts in large numbers in few locations, it’s vulnerable to habitat destruction. This bat is considered a species of special concern in California because of declining populations.

Environmental Obstacles:

A keystone species, bats keep ecosystems healthy by controlling insect populations, but they’ve got obstacles. Habitat loss and destruction of roosting sites, wind farms on migratory pathways, and drought are a few.  White-nose syndrome, a muzzle and wing flesh-eating fungus, has decimated bat populations across North America.

Some good news for California bats may be forest lands opened up by wildfires.  UC Berkeley postdoctoral researcher Zachary Steel found that certain bat populations have increased in burned forests. The causes are still under study but causes may be increased food sources, roosting locations in dead trees, and/or more space for flight maneuverability 

Special Adaptations:

Bats hunt with echolocation, sounds out of human hearing range that help locate prey.

While bats can use their mouths to catch prey, most bugs are caught in their wing membranes and either eaten in the air or carried to a roosting spot.

Bats have bendy bones which makes them ultra maneuverable. Some say bats have the fastest horizontal flying speed of any animal, close to 99 miles per hour!

Among roosting bats that create large quantities of urine and guano, they’ve developed respiratory mucous Ph buffer. 

Torpor is an important adaptation for microbats. It can range from a partial state of heterothermic arousal to full hibernation. Lowing body temperature reduces the need for food and fat storage.

A new study by University of California, Berkeley, researchers shows that bats’ brain activity is literally in sync when bats engage in social behaviors like grooming, fighting or sniffing each other.

Using scent markers and sound, mothers can locate their own babies out of thousands.

Life Span

10-20 years

Diet:

  • mosquitos
  • moths
  • beetles
  • dragonflies
  • flies
  • wasps
  • ants
  • grasshoppers
  • termites

Breeding

Photo Credit: Mnolf

Females can breed after 9 months of age, they congregate in maternity roosts.
Males become sexually mature at two years.
Gestation is about three months.
Generally, one pup is born per year. 
Young suckle for between four to seven weeks.
Mother’s must eat their body weight in insects to keep up with nursing demands.


Predators

  • owls
  • hawks
  • falcons

Roosts may come under predation from:

  • climbing animals
  • cats
  • coyote
  • raccoon
  • some species of snakes

Bat Species in Nevada County

  • Big Brown Bat, EPTESICUS FUSCUS
  • California Myotis, MYOTIS CALIFORNICUS
  • Canyon Bat, WESTERN PIPISTRELLE
  • Fringed Myotis, MYOTIS THYSANODES
  • Hoary Bat, LASIURUS CINEREUS
  • Little Brown Myotis, MYOTIS LUCIFUGUS
  • L0ng-eared Myotis, MYOTIS EVOTIS
  • Long-legged Myotis, MYOTIS VOLANS
  • Mexican Free-tail, TADARIDA BRASILIENSIS (migratory)
  • Pallid Bat, ANTROZOUS PALLIDUS
  • Silver-Haired Bat, LASIONYCTERIS NOCTIVAGANS
  • Western Red Bat, LASIURUS BLOSSEVILLII
  • Yuma Myotis, MYOTIS YUMANENSIS

White-Nose Syndrome

“WNS is considered one of the deadliest wildlife diseases, having killed over six million North American bats since it was discovered,” said CDFW Wildlife Veterinarian and Epidemiologist Dr. Deana Clifford. “WNS doesn’t affect human health or pets, but the ecological impacts of bat die-offs may indirectly impact agricultural systems through loss of the natural pesticide effect and nutrient cycling of bats.”

As of spring 2019, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife detected white-nose syndrome in bats in Chester, Plumas County.

Californians Can Help By:

Cavers/Spelunkers Can:

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Resources:

California Department of  Fish and Wildlife – Deadly Bat Fungus Detected in California

Corkys Pest –Bat Identification 

Northern California Bats – Education, Lectures, Rescue & Resources

Sierra Club – A Song of Bats and Fire

Smithsonian Magazine – What is Killing the Bats?

UC, Berkeley – Bats Brains Sync when they Socialize

USGS – What is White-nose Syndrome?

Washington Post – The batty history of bats in the military and why this new idea just might work

White Nose Syndrom Response Team

Wikipedia – Bat

Wikipedia – Maternity colony

Wikipedia – Mexican Free-tail bat

 
 

AUSTIN, TX (May 8, 2019) – Bat Conservation International (BCI) announced today that early signs of the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) have been detected at one of the world’s premier bat conservation sites, Bracken Cave Preserve.

Owls of Nevada County

On silent wings these nocturnal hunters take prey by surprise. The only time you’ll hear an owl is if it’s hooting – calling to a mate, declaring territory of checking on young.

They range in size from the tiny six-inch Northern Pygmy-Owl to the twenty-six-inch Great Grey Owl.

Inviting them into your space (if you don’t have chickens or other small critters they’d consider eating) is an ideal way to naturally deal with rodents. *See Owl Box construction under Resources.

Great Grey Owl – Photo Credit – Arne List

There are over 200 owl species on Earth. Owls live on almost every continent.
Below is a list of owl species that can be found in Nevada County. (Each listing links to a species detail page.)

Barn Owl
Flammulated Owl (Rare in Nevada County)
Western Screech-Owl
Great Horned Owl
Northern Pygmy-Owl
Barred Owl
Burrowing Owl
California Spotted Owl
Great Gray Owl
Long-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl

Diet

Burrowing Owl – Photo Credit – Becky Matsubara

  • nocturnal insects
  • beetles
  • crickets
  • grasshoppers
  • small mammals
  • birds, amphibians
  • reptile
  • fish
  • other invertebrates

During the breeding season (March – August), a Barn Owl pair may catch up to seventy pounds of rodents!

Flammulated Owl chick – Photo Credit – Dave Menke, USFWS

Habitat

Adaptable to many types of habitats, owls live in forests, meadows, grasslands, in the ground and in man-made structures.

Stealthy Owl Adaptations

An owl’s head is its superpower. It’s designed like a satellite dish funneling sound toward the ears. Owl hearing is ten-times better than humans. 

Its eyes take up a large percentage of its body weight. Owl eyes have specialized rods that help them see in low-light conditions.

Although an owl can’t turn its head in a complete circle, with vertebrae and arteries designed for the motion, they can turn it almost all way backward in either direction.

Barn Owl Beauty Spots

Barn owl females with many spots attract more mates. The spots may represent good health in parasite and disease resistance. They may also inspire males to help more with nesting and feeding owlets.

 

Species Interaction – Spotted Owls breeding with Barred Owls

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Resources

Audubon – Owling California

Barn Owl Trust- Barn Owl Boxes for Trees

HGTV – How to Attract Owls to Your Yard

Place boxes in trees 10-12 feet from the ground on the property perimeter where leavings will not be a problem.

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The Monterey Regional Waste Management District Barn Owl Project

NPR – Scientists Study Barn Owls to Understand Why People with ADHD Struggle to Focus

“We think we have the beginnings of an answer,” says Shreesh Mysore, an assistant professor who oversees the owl lab at Hopkins. The answer, he says, appears to involve an ancient brain area with special cells that tell us what to ignore.”

Science Daily – Scientists explain how bird can rotate its head without cutting off blood supply to brain

Using Owls to Control Rodents (in Napa Valley)

Wikipedia – True Owl

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