Friday, January 24, 2014

Foxes During the Day

Even though this part of Virginia has been facing temperatures in the single digits lately, the red fox foxes are jumping in front of the cameras in the daytime more than ever before.

Why is this? Well, I think there are two reasons.  

Here's the first reason:

Foxes don't like to be around humans, at least for the most part.  They tend to shy away from us and that's the way it should be.  

Since there are less people walking around parks (or other places that I have cameras) during the winter, foxes may be more comfortable with coming out in the day.  

More foxes out during the day means more chances of camera-trap images of them in the day.

Here's the other reason:

Winter this year has been cold.  Very cold. For the past few days, temperatures have barely been able to make it higher than the 20 degree fahrenheit mark.  

These temperatures have been warmer than nighttime temperatures, which have gotten as low as 2 degrees. 
Foxes would prefer to be out in the warmer part of each day than out in the middle of the night.  This increases the chances of getting red foxes on camera in the daytime as well.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Do Hawks Scavenge In Winter?

The simple answer to the title question is: Yes, hawks scavenge in winter.  In fact, winter is the only time that I have gotten camera-trap images of hawks scavenging.

I'm not saying that hawks don't ever scavenge in other times of the year, but I find it really interesting how often they do in the winter months.
This red-shouldered hawk is just absolutely beautiful.  It came up to a deer carcass and didn't seem to mind the crows that were also there.   The crows didn't seem to mind the hawk there, and they all ate without fighting at all.

The above picture is another red-shouldered hawk at a different camera that I put out.  These cameras were about a quarter mile apart.  Could this be the same hawk?

Here are a few other pictures of it.  The pictures are a bit blurry due to condensation on the lense.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Opossum Vs. Skunk

A skunk is not something most creatures would want to mess with.  It's an experience that could lead to scratches, bites, and of course, a smell like no other.

There's only one clear picture of the ordeal, but it shows the real attitude of these two animals.  This is one brave opossum, folks.

The skunk seemed to be the winner and continued eating for 34 minutes after this.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Real Stinker

Let's all take a minute to appreciate the skunks of Northern Virginia.

One of my biggest surprises so far in my experiences of camera-trapping has actually been a lack of skunks.  This is only my third event of getting a skunk on camera in all of northern Virginia, ever.

I know there are many of them around because I see them walking in the daytime, see them dead on the road, smell them in the air frequently, and see them at least once a week in my backyard in the summer,

So why are skunks so camera shy?   Well,  I don't really know.  I never thought it would be this hard to get a skunk on camera in the woods at night.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Arctic Camera Trapping in Virginia

It's cold out in Virginia (and will be for the next two days).  Tomorrow's wind-chill will make it feel somewhere around -16 degrees Fahrenheit.

What this means for camera-trapping is that the cameras might not even be working.  The components within the camera may freeze, electric circuits may short out, and the batteries may freeze up.  We'll see.  It's hit or miss when it comes to the batteries of trail cameras working in real cold.  Sometimes they work fine, sometimes not at all.

Recently, a lot of batteries have "frozen up", which is why there are no trail camera results pictures in this post.  So you'll have to manage with a picture of what a camera-trapper (or any sane person that spends a lot of time in the outdoors) will look like tomorrow.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Taking Chances in the Snow

Snow is on the ground and hope is in my mind for more "Fox in Snow" camera-trap images.  See a previous example of a "Fox in the Snow" image in White Snow for White Legs .

The better part of yesterday was spent hiking, birding, and camera-trapping around in the white stuff.  I was in search of more places to set up the cams.  The big problem with this though, is that I put up expensive equipment in the middle of the woods, out of view of anybody, with my footprints very well defined in the snow.

It's a risk, I know.

If somebody really wants to follow me off trail to see what I was doing, they can.  I tried to be good about it though.  When possible I rerouted myself, walked across logs, and walked on places of high grass so that my footprints would be harder to track.

In addition to this, windy conditions last night blew up the "dry" powdery snow and hopefully covered my tracks a little better. 

If I didn't risk these cameras often to poachers, off-trail walkers, teenagers, bears, rising waters, and the weather, then I probably would have very few pictures and this blog wouldn't exist.