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:
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:
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: