Tuesday, July 29, 2014

That "Old Lady Getting Murdered" Kind of Noise

Cicadas, other insects, and frogs make up a good percentage of the natural noise that a person might hear outside at night around Northern Virginia.  Owls, domestic cats, bats, and other birds are also common.

BUT, There are two very specific animals that might make a person cringe or wonder at night though.  These animals are foxes and coyotes.  We have both here in Northern Va, and they are all over the place.  I highly doubt there is a single town or city in Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William, or Arlington where both of these animals do not exist.

They have come up on trail cameras, people have put videos of them on YouTube, 911 calls are made when some people see them, and early morning commuters sometimes catch a quick glimpse of both of these critters.

So at night, how do you tell the difference between a coyote noise and a fox noise?  

Well, it can be tricky, but for the most part a coyote will yip and howl with an extremely high pitched noise for a mammal.  They sound like they are singing to each other.  Coyotes will "let loose" a noise that is incredibly loud and may sound similar to domestic dogs howling with high notes.  They can also bark, howl, and whine. 

Foxes usually do a noise around here that I've heard described to me as an "Old lady getting murdered".  I agree, although I have never heard an old lady getting murdered.  While foxes do bark, howl, and whine, the noise that I usually hear is a raspy whine that is close to a scream. 

Speaking of foxes, here's a recent one that came up on a trail camera that I set up in Leesburg, VA. 

 I wonder if this one whines like an old lady getting murdered.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fox and Go Pro

Just like the title says, see what happens when I put one of the Go Pro cameras down for a few minutes near a red fox.

It definitely gets a bit too curious for my comfort, and am glad it didn't run off with the camera.

No bait, scent, or lure was used at all.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Ants Go Marching

A coworker helped me with some cameras today and found one completely covered in ants.

Upon closer inspection, ants had completely invaded the entire interior of the camera-trap.  We spent a good hour opening up the camera, unscrewing screws, cleaning it out, and putting it back together.

We completed our "Camera-Trap Surgery" in the field as we swatted away maybe 25 mosquitoes and picked off ticks of our legs.  The ants had made an entire food storage type of room in the camera along with an egg holding cell.  It was rough, but we managed to save the camera and found that no electrical components had been badly damaged.

We checked the SD card on a laptop in the field as well, but only found a few pictures of a red fox and raccoons.

But hey, you can't win with bears, coyotes, and other "crowd pleasers" every day.  It was still a good day out on the trails, and I thank him greatly for helping me today.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Fawn

Spring is done and summer is upon the people and wildlife of Virginia.  We've had a couple of really hot and humid days here already, and today wasn't much of an exception.

The heat has begun, and the white-tailed does are out in full force eating grasses in meadows and tomato plants in your suburban garden.  

That's alright though because the does are working hard to produce enough nourishment for the fawns that have recently been born.

Even though northern Virginia has a ridiculous amount of white-tailed deer, it still is always satisfying to see fawns growing up throughout the rest of the year.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

No Surprise

Usually I have absolutely no idea what will be recorded on a camera-trap's SD card each time I check it, but sometimes I can tell exactly what will probably come up on some of the images.

This happens in the case of skunks.  Naturally, I have a very strong nose, which I consider to be a very good thing for working in parks and wildlife.  Skunks leave a trail of stink wherever they go and have gotten pretty darn good at tracking and trailing them.

I knew exactly what I was going to find on the camera's SD card this time, because as soon as I got close to the camera, I could smell the skunk spray from the previous night.

Here's a photo of the mini stinker.