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Tracking Animals for Photography: Research

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Now that you know your area pretty well it's time for you to do some research into what lives and grows in your Research area. This phase of the project can be done at home using books and the internet.

Some great books and reference material that you can purchase would be;

  • A Pocket Naturalist Guide: Animal Tracks

  • National Geographic Pocket Guide: Birds of North America

  • National Geographic Pocket Guide: Insects of North America

  • National Geographic Pocket Guide: Mammals of North America

  • National Geographic Pocket Guide: Reptiles & Amphibians

  • National Geographic Pocket Guide: Trees & Shrubs

  • National Geographic Pocket Guide: Wildflowers of North America

  • Tracker’s Field Guide: A Comprehensive Manual For Animal Tracking

A great website for reference as well is - You can select your area and it will show you the wildlife and plants that are known to be in that area. There's is a MOL App for your phone as well.

Keep in mind that these reference materials won't have everything but it's enough to get you started down the endless path of everything that can be in your area.

While you are doing your research make a list of all the wildlife in your area. This will be helpful to keep track of them when you start to Monitor the area.

Personal Progress:

Fossils: I contacted the Bureau of Land Management Geologists for my area about the fossil beds I found and they said that most likely my Research area is within the conglomerates, sandstone, and siltstone units of the Lower Pliocene Towsley formation. Yes, I know - I was scratching my head too. These rocks formed when this area was under a shallow sea, 50-200 feet, about 2 to 4 million years ago.

Mammals in the area:

Black Bear


Brush Rabbit

Cotton Rat

Cotton Tail Rabbit


Deer Mouse


Gray Fox

Gray Squirrel

Ground Squirrel

Leafed-nosed Bat

Mountain Lion

Mule Deer


Pocket Mouse




Birds in the Area:

Acorn Woodpecker

Anna’s Hummingbird

Black-headed Grosbeak

Brown Headed Cowbird

Calliope Hummingbird

California Quail

Costa’s Hummingbird

Cooper’s Hawk


Dark Eyed Junco

Desert Tarantula

Hermit Thrush

Hooded Oriole

Horned Lark

Morning Dove

Downy Woodpecker

Great Horned Owl

Great-tailed Grackle

Lesser Goldfinch



Redtail Hawk

Road Runner


Say’s Phoebe Flycatcher


Song Sparrow

Spotted Towhee

Swainson’s Hawk

Tree Sparrow

Turkey Vulture

Western Meadowlark

Western Wood-Pewee

Western Scrub Jay


Yellow Warbler

Reptiles in the Area:

California Blackheaded Snake

California King Snake

California Toad

California Tree Frog

California Whipsnake

Desert Horned Lizard

Desert Spiny Lizard

Diamondback Rattlesnake

Garter Snake

Gopher Snake

Racer Snake

Side-blotched Lizard

Spotted Whiptail Lizard

Western Fence Lizard

Insects in the Area:

Bark Scorpion

Black Ground Beatle

Black Widow

Blister Beetle

Buckeye Butterfly

Cabbage White Butterfly

Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Bee


Cricket Hunter Wasp

Desert Tarantula

Field Cricket

Fire Ants

Flesh Fly

Goldenrod Spider

Grass Spider

Grizzled Skipper Butterfly

Honey Bee

Jerusalem Cricket


Large Bee Fly

Mason Bee

Milkweed Bug

Monarch Butterfly

Mud Wasp

Painted Lady Butterfly

Paper Wasp

Pallid-winged Grasshopper

Red Ants

Silver-Blue Butterfly

Stink Bug

Tarantula Wasp

Thread-waisted Wasp

Trap door Spider

Velvet Ant

Wolf Spider



  • Vortex Recon Optix 8x32 Monocular

  • Nikon Z7 II

  • Nikon Z 70-200mm Lens

  • Nikon Z 105mm Macro Lens

  • Shimoda Designs Action X30 Pack

  • Peak Designs Travel Tripod

  • MountainSmith Trekker FX Lite Trekking Pole with Manfrotto RC2 Head

  • Helinox Chair One

Subscribe Now to follow my progress and get some Tips & Tricks for your wildlife photo outing.

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