Saturday, December 31, 2011

A few travelers

This log is well traveled and just about every kind of animal uses it. If you haven't seen pictures of an animal yet, just wait, you will.

Just a little to slow

I was hoping to get a bobcat at this set...and I did, but the camera was just a little to slow. The extending lens took just barely to long to capture this cat. Everything worked perfectly as I had planned it, but the timing was off.  I thought the wide angle (PIR), which detects changes in heat (motion), was enough to catch this cat, but the lesson I learned is live and learn. The interesting part to me is that when I reviewed the times that I set this camera out, the cat passed by the camera only 50 minutes after it was set out.

The ducks own dam

The last couple shots from this location, the ducks we the most common visitor on this old beaver dam. They are often hard to get natural pictures, but wildlife cameras allow relaxed photo's every time.

A few more visitors

A couple more from my favorite funneling point. It was fun flipping through the pictures like a flip book and watching this beaver pile up new food, which he will later store for the winter near his house. He is certainly healthy looking the say the lease. The area where this waken is surrounded by hundreds of other beaver ponds, and the influence that these environmental engineers have on the environment is massive.

The goose is gone

The wood duck duo and the Canadian goose are back. Enjoyed this shot which emphasizes the size difference between the two birds.

As much as mammals use this funnel point as a crossing, so do the birds. In the pictures above a wood duck and a Canadian goose pause to look at the camera.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Deer in for the drink

Deer use this crossing often as the geography funnels them to this pinch point. This one stayed to check out the camera and grab a quick drink.

Bear on the log

Every once in a long while you find a location with a nice background that appears to be ideal. You imagine a rare animal posing perfectly for the camera, and the tall grasses blowing slowly in the wind. I forgot the most basic rule of the book on this one, you can't get a picture of an animal that isn't there. I was hoping for a bobcat, but I forgot the golden rule: Location, Location, Location. This black bear wasn't a bad picture, just not what I was looking for. I was also hoping that he would walk just a little farther down the log.

The bones continue to produce

A small number of black bears were by far the most common visitor, staying for extended periods of time and savaging on the remains of the moose. The bones provide good marrow and the stomach contents are eaten as the bacteria that are consumed provide a means for the black bear to efficiently digest plants. Bears also consume deer and moose droppings to pick up the same bacteria. The bears prefer to eat meat that has been sitting for a number of days as it is easier to tear, eat, and digest.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nothing but the bare bones to bring them in

          Drove over 300 miles on dirt roads with the windows down and the music on. During one stretch I could smell something that wasn't right. I pushed it into reverse and found a dead moose calf on the side of the road. It was mostly bones and closeness to the road on such a remote section suggest that it was probably poached. The smell was so bad that I didn't have time to examine for cut or saw marks, I wish I had found it sooner when there was more of it left. Never the less, I could hardly drag what was left of the moose 20 feet into the woods, and it smell bad. The muck boots had to spend the next three months in the bed of the truck after this one. 
           I happened to have two cameras on hand and put them both out. I didn't have new batteries or rope to tie them up so I had to wing it and hope for the best. I checked the cameras a little over a month later and found both cameras working perfectly. 500 pictures later I was a happy man. 
           The first 100 were of the robin picking insects off the carcass. It shows the sometimes overlooked but significant role that animals play in their passing. The amount of insects (moths) can be seen in the second and third pictures.This old coyote had stopped by to check out the smells. He didn't eat or stay for long, but allowed for a few good pictures. He was the last visitor before I picked up the cameras. More pictures to come.

A curious cat

This cat showed up and used extreme caution when visiting this set. Only one picture to show and he vanished back into the brush. This was one of my first cat pictures and I worked hard to get it. There is something special about cats and their secretive ways that speaks to me. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe its their nature, but I know I will be following cats for a long time to come.