Summer

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.

Since that time, I’ve been back in Tucson working on my house and volunteering again at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.  I’ve also been catching up with my wildlife camera-trap projects at home, the Catalina Mountains and at the Audubon’s Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch.  I’ll be posting regularly now that things have settled down.

Here’s the best so far from a camera in my yard:

Here’s another mountain lion from one of my Catalina Mountain cameras:

A bear showed up at the Audubon research ranch:

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:

Audubon Research Ranch Camera Traps

Two days ago I checked my camera traps at the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch of the National Audubon Society with my friend Rene.  On the way to a location where I have two camera traps we found a freshly dead deer:

Dead white-tailed deer buck.  Copyright:  Greg Joder.
Dead white-tailed deer buck. Copyright: Greg Joder.

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:

Red-tailed Hawk.  Copyright:  Greg Joder.
Red-tailed Hawk. Copyright: Greg Joder.
American Kestrel.  Copyright:  Greg Joder.
American Kestrel. Copyright: Greg Joder.

Here is a time-lapse of the Red-tailed Hawk taking a bath: