I don’t want to mislead everyone that my blog is all about trail camera captures. It is much more than that, given time. Currently, however, trail cameras have been a focus of my outdoor life (I’m not a hunter, but rather want to protect wildlife). I have other adventures in mind that will not involve trail cameras. I hope you’ll stick with me to see those adventures. In the mean time, I have more trail camera action to share with you. First, is a video of scouting a new location to set up a couple trail cameras:
Second are two videos that represent patience and luck when choosing a trail camera location.
When I first learned about game cameras I was immediately interested in how such camera traps could catch activities of wildlife undisturbed by human presence. I was also excited by the possibility of catching images or video of large predators in action, specifically mountain lions. I am no hunter and do not support trophy hunting or predator hunting and abhor these practices for many reasons. That said, so-called ‘game cameras’ are an essential tool for wildlife research and monitoring.
It took me several years to learn how to find the right place to set a camera trap that would catch large predators like mountain lions, but I finally caught on and learned to see their activity by tracks and associated preferred haunts.
Here are a few mountain lion videos that my camera traps have captured this year.
Yesterday I made the hike out to check on two camera traps I have set up in a wash in the Sonoran Desert. This is the same wash where my cameras captured three mountain lions when the cubs were nearing a year old (Second video below).
The following video was captured just last week. I’m so happy to see they are alive and well!
It’s that special time of year in the Sonoran Desert when the Lesser Long-nosed bats return to the region. If you live where the bats forage and you leave hummingbird feeders up at night, you will know these bats have arrived by the evidence of empty feeders and sticky sugar water left on the ground in the morning. They are sloppy eaters. The Lesser Long-nosed bat is a nectarivore and feeds on the blooms of Saguaros, cardón cactus, agave and other night-blooming cacti.
I recently set up one of my motion-activated wildlife cameras to catch these endangered mammals in action. First, here’s a video of the bats feeding from a flower on a night blooming cactus in my yard:
And here is a video of them feeding from a hummingbird feeder I set in my yard just for the bats:
There have been a number of days here in Tucson when the monsoon rains have caused a lot of flooding. Today I checked two of my trail cameras and found that one of them captured two flooding events. The following clips are chronological and if you keep an eye on the rock in the upper right you’ll see how high the flooding range is. The water level rises and falls greater than 6 feet between each heavy rain event and in a short period of time:
It’s been a long few months since finishing my tour on Sea Sheperd’s Operation Milagro. I worked on-board as a deckhand hauling in illegal nets, briefly as quartermaster on the bridge and primarily as one of a few drone operators. Here’s is Operation Milagro’s season end recap video:
During this time my dad passed away and I spent a few week back in Tucson with family. I officially left the Sea Shepherd campaign after my three month commitment ended at the end of April. At that point I needed a break to re-energize and reflect on the loss of my dad.
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:
Yes, I’m still dealing with post-election depression, facing the fact that the president elect’s views and cabinet choices will do their best to destroy nature in return for profit. A lot of damage can be done in four years. There is a lot of talk about de-regulation and fewer rules. Given that the GOP will control all three branches, it’s a no-brainer that many important and functioning environmental rules and acts will be cut or debilitated. Under the next GOP-led administration, say goodbye to the Endangered Species Act, clean air and clean water (EPA). Not to mention back-peddling on women’s rights, equal pay, pro-choice and public schools.
I despised G. W. Bush, but the next administration promises to be much much worse.
I recognize that I may lose what little viewer-ship I have by stating my opinion here, but that’s OK by me.
For those of you that stick around, thank you!
Here’s the latest… Lot’s of action at the backyard waterhole:
It became apparent to us that the deer had not been brought down by a predator, so we reported our find to the Research Ranch management. At this point all we know is that AZ Game and Fish is investigating. Coincident to this, my two trail cameras that were within a few-hundred meters of the dead deer were missing the SD cards. A frustrating loss of a months-worth of images/activity. Given that there is both illegal hunting and drug smuggling in the area, there’s no telling who stole the camera cards or who killed the deer.
Despite this, my other cameras on the Research Ranch captured some fun images:
Here is a time-lapse of the Red-tailed Hawk taking a bath: