Sky Island Wildlife

I’m just back from a few days exploring one of Arizona’s sky islands. After receiving a bit of monsoon rainfall, the wildflowers and wildlife were quite abundant and the formerly dry landscape had turned green with new plant growth.

Can anyone help ID this plant? Copyright: Greg Joder.
Beautiful Lupine flowers with butterfly pollinator. Copyright: Greg Joder.

While exploring I also checked three trail cameras I’ve had in the region for several months. It was exciting to see all the critters captured by the cameras, including a sow black bear with two cubs.

I also had the chance to get this beautiful rattlesnake to move off the road:

Rattlesnake enjoying the morning sun. Copyright: Greg Joder.

 

Camera Trap Action

I recently set up a white-flash camera trap on the waterhole in my backyard.  The difference between this camera and other traditional camera traps is that it uses a white-flash, just like your camera flash, to capture the photo or video of the animals when the motion sensor is triggered.  Many camera traps, including several of mine, use IR, or infrared light to capture the action of the animals.  Infrared light is not visible to you and me or wildlife.  Because of this the camera can be triggered and the action captured without the animal being startled by seeing white light.  The risk of using a white-light flash with a camera trap is that the animal will see it and run away.

Here is an example of a non-visible IR camera trap capture:

In this case, the animals were revealed by the infrared light, but they did not see any light and everything remained dark for them.

In the following video my camera used a white-light flash to capture the action.  This is the same as using a flash on a DSLR in low light to catch everyone’s smiles.  Since the animals can see this, it often startles them thus changing their behavior.

In my back yard it seems the animals are adjusting to the white light when they approach the waterhole: