Monday, September 30, 2013

No Shortage of Virginia Bucks

I'm not tired of big antler pictures yet, and hope you aren't either.  It's hunting season where I live and a lot of folks around here are excited to see my buck pictures.

I can't tell you, the hunters, or most other people where exactly the bucks are or where they'll be, but one thing for sure is that I've seen so many of them this year.

These were taken in Fauquier County, Virginia with the help of a friend and colleague.  We're going for the bears, bobcats, and coyotes specifically, but white-tailed deer pictures are always welcomed. 

This blog will be seeing more of this camera's pictures pretty soon.  It's a new county of camera-trapping for me, and I'm excited to be able to use this camera out there.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gray Fox Territory

There's no mistaking this animal on a camera.  It is no doubt a gray fox.  The black stripe on the tail, the gray coat, and the size are all indicators of what carnivore this is.

Just like all other foxes around the area, grays eat small mammals that they find running around meadows and forests.  Grays have the ability to climb trees unlike most of foxes.  I wouldn't say they are as good at climbing as cats, but they do it from time to time.

This is one of my favorite camera locations.  It is decently far away from where I live and have other cameras, so I only get to check it once every 6 weeks, or even longer. 

The drive to get to it is nice, and the property owners love seeing the pictures, so it is well worth it for me to keep the camera there.  If you're curious to know where it is, all I can tell you is that the camera is located in Lucketts, Virginia.

Here's another picture (of the infrared variety) of a gray fox in the same location.

Deer also showed up a lot and have been the most common animal on this camera.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Buck in the Sun

Usually it's bad to face a camera-trap into the sun.  Pointing it west or east will give you a lot of washed out pictures due to the sun.  I made the mistake of pointing one camera this way, and only 1 picture was worth me taking the time to blog about.

I just thought this picture was cool and different.  The early morning sun behind the white-tailed buck isn't something I get to see often in camera-trap images.

There were still over 800 pictures of deer that were washed out and invaded by a rising or setting sun.  More thought was taken when resetting the camera.

It is now at the edge of this field in a shadier spot, not facing any sun.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Who Will Eat Pawpaw Fruit?

Pawpaw trees are fruiting now in Virginia.  In case you didn't know, a pawpaw is a tree that is common in Virginia's stream valleys and on riverbanks.  It's a tree that produces a fruit that raccoons, bears, and foxes eat.  People that eat the pawpaw fruit usually compare it to a banana and a pear, but I disagree and do not enjoy eating them.  It's texture is too mealy for me and I could do without the hard seeds inside of the fruit.

Pawpaw Fruit


Since the animals eat the fruit, I figured it would be a good idea to put a camera under some of the pawpaw trees along the riverbank in Fairfax County.

We'll see who eats  pawpaw in the next week or so.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Deer Mingling

It's that time of year again in Virginia.  A time when the white-tailed bucks get curious.

For the past few months, big bucks have been seen hanging out with each other.  Soon, mating season will be upon them, and during that time, these bucks will be in strict competition with one another.

For now though, they still seem to be civil.

Mingling with the does has started though.  A  buck kissing (or possibly smelling) a doe was caught on my camera a few days ago.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Surveying Places for Surveying Owls

Small mammal skulls found in Silo #1.
I'm on a mission to photograph and survey all owls in one specific area in Loudoun County, Virginia.  To do this, I am in the process right now of finding places where owls live and are seen most often.  This means a bit of dirty work with other wildlife professionals.

The dirty work comes from dangers of being in old barns and silos.  Steel-toed boots, masks, rubber gloves, and hardhats were put on, and we headed to work today in Leesburg, Virginia.

The first site we hit is a place that I am now calling Silo #1.  Silo #1 is full of owl pellets and the remains of thousands of shrews, moles, mice, and voles.  The bottom of it really is a place of death for small mammals.

Barn owl feathers also blanketed the lowest parts of the inside of the silo.

Barn owl feather found in Silo #1.

A camera-trap was placed at the bottom of the silo to photograph owls (and other animals) that may be coming in or out.  As the camera was being placed, a pair of barn owls flew in from the top of the silo.  The camera is way out of the way of any nesting site used by the owls so as to not disturb them, but I am hoping I get at least a few shots of them flying by or perching somewhere.

The next destination was a small shed where owls had been seen perching in the past few months.  There were no visible signs of owls there now though.

After the small shed, we decided that we would head to was a barn that I am calling on this blog, The Widow-Maker Barn.  The Widow-Maker Barn gave me the uncomfortable feel of being way to dangerous to get near.  Some parts of it had collapsed, and swarms of bees were entering through a small opening at the bottom.  You won't find me inside of this barn anytime soon.  A camera-trap was placed outside of the barn, about 12 feet up in a tree that faces a large hole at the top of the barn.  Any owls that go in or out should still be camera-trapped.

So there you have it, the first two owl survey areas are Silo #1 and The Widow-Maker Barn.