Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday's Track: South From Campbell Along the Creek

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We tracked again today, based on the last known sighting of Raven which was last Sunday morning at the Campbell Farmer's Market. Here is basically what we learned today.

- The track started with Raven heading up the hill on East Campbell Ave between 1st and 2nd street. She did a loop out to Winchester and then headed back into Campbell downtown.

- she then headed over to Railroad Avenue area and spent time at the city truck yard (at the end of Dillon), a neighboring junk yard there, and the "Avalon" apartment buildings down at the end of Railroad Ave. It appeared that she may have spent a fair amount of time in the Avalon Apartments. From there she found her way back to the creek trail.

After walking right through Campbell Park (checking garbage cans as she went), she went south down the creek trail right past the dog park (again checking garbage cans and walking into the ladies bathroom there) and then into the perk ponds where she went towards the Dell side and explored down the various pond lanes that run perpendicular to the main north south trail. She explored the perimeters of various commercial properties off of Dell, making sweeps past their dumpsters.

She then returned to the park, crossed a bridge over the creek and went over to the side closer to 17 (near Oka Lane) From there she found a pedestrian bridge and crossed over 17 into a neighborhood north of 85 and east of 17. She did a loop there out to Bascomb and then seemed to have doubled back across the pedestrian bridge back to the perk ponds. The excursion across the walkway had me going quietly nuts, because that seemed to mean that she was leaving the relative safety of the creek trail (with easy shelter and water) for an endless residential area without water or shelter, not to mention that it would also mean an entirely new area where we would have to poster and raise awareness. But she seems to have had the sense to turn around.

These photos show Dot and Dino, the tracking dogs, taking a well-deserved break. Dot is tiny and she loves sitting in our baby's car seat. It is very cute really.

We ended the day in the homes on and near Oka Lane where she had just successfully found a feral cat feeding station in someone's backyard. Dot and Dino were happy to have a break as you can see from the photo. We will pick up the track tomorrow (Friday). The general trend of the movement is south and is along the track she previously used to get to to Los Gatos the first time through. We don't know what moments in time she was on these parts of the track except that this general section of the track started on last Sunday morning. So it isn't clear how far behind her we are now. We may have stopped where she was on Wednesday or Monday - just not sure.

Other observations which are important:

- she is not hiding at all and neither is she secluded or slinking through the bushes while moving. She is walking right down main trails and side trails and streets and the perimeter of commercial buildings (looking for dumpsters). She is using the same paths that people would use. We are unlikely to find her looking in wooded areas (at least as far as today's track is concerned). When she moves, she is on the human pathways almost all the time.

- she is doing a lot of searching for food. At every opportunity, she was looking at dumpsters and garbage cans and feral cat feeding stations. She is hungry now and food search seems to have dominated her movements.

- She is not staying in one place, but rather continuing to move. Fortunately, at least she seems to have decided to stay within the general area of the creek during this section of the track, but she is not staying in Campbell or Los Gatos but rather moving between them constantly.

The big question now is - how do we move from this tracking to the next level which would be something along the lines of setting out food for her in a place where we know she will find it and then be motivated to return to again and again. From what we understand, Raven is quite unlikely to recognize us even if we meet her in the street. After being out so long she will likely be in a sort of survival trance and simply run away from anyone (including her people) who tries to get their hands on her. What typically needs to happen (so we understand) is to get the dog used to feeding at a particular place, and then you can either trap the dog or gradually introduce the dog's people to the feeding area so that they are less freaked out by their presence, and hopefully there are enough cues present that the survival trance breaks and she will recognize us. The problem we face now is that though she is seeming to be staying within a contained area (bounded by the creek and the cities of Los Gatos and Campbell) this is a still a large area of some 5 miles north to south and there is no way to know she will encounter any particular food we might put out. If anyone has any suggestions, our ears are wide open.


1 comment:

  1. Looks like she's gone past the dog park on the trail near Los Gatos Creek Park. Perhaps this could be a place to stage something she may recognize or return to. What about one of your shirts or her leash tied to the gate? In an attempt to see if she'll sniff it out...and with dog people around, if they spot her, they are more likely to try and coax her into the gated dog park.