Monday, April 28, 2014

Red Fox Irony

Ironic how a day after I write a post titled "Where are the fox kits?", I check a camera and get some decent pictures of fox kits.

These were taken in Great Falls, Virginia and seem to be the first time the kits have ever ventured outside their den.  There has been a camera here for about 2 weeks, but yesterday, the babies came out to enjoy some good weather.

The date/time stamp was set wrong (my fault, sorry fellow blog readers), but I can assure you that these were taken yesterday, April 27th, 2014.

These kits are red foxes but they don't look resemble their parents completely.  Through the next weeks and months, their fur will become more orange, their bodies will fill out, and the entire animal will become an efficient machine that excels at catching mice and voles.

These ones are no bigger around the size of my shoe (size 10 in case you were wondering).

Another camera was put up in the opposing direction of the den to get more photos.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Where are the fox kits?

Everyone seems to absolutely love and enjoy all of the red fox photos from the trail-cams, and one question has been asked (and answered) in great amounts in the past week or so.

You guys (the wildlife interested, the northern Virginia citizen, or the general blog reader) have all inquired about when fox kits will be coming out of the dens.

The answer is that there should be a few more weeks until they come out, but I really can't tell exactly when for sure.

One thing is for sure though----  the fact that there has been a heck of a lot of den activity recently.

These were taken in Loudoun County a few weeks ago.

Here's to hoping kits will show up soon!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cardinal on Camera

A few days ago, I had a special guest from WAMU 88.5 (Washington, D.C.'s NPR Station) come out and set cameras with me.  I've been out with a NPR reporter before doing a story, and I enjoying showing these representatives of the media what I do and what camera-trapping is all about.

Chris came to a local park and hiked around in the mud and trails while asking questions.  It was a good day to be out and about.  We set up 5 cameras along deer trails, near fox dens, and a few other places.

I had to take one of the cameras down right away because I was told that somebody already found it in the woods.  I didn't want it stolen, so it came down that day.  The other cameras though have been up for a few days and continue to be up.  I took one down today and checked the SD card.

Results were not phenomenal, but I was happy to see a Northern Cardinal fly down in front of the camera for a few seconds.

Cardinals are very common in Virginia and always seem to be the delight of nature watchers, families, and anyone who comes to local parks to hike or picnic.  They are a such a vibrant bird and the males are very hard to miss in any season.

These birds do not lose their summer feathers or molt into a completely different color when seasons change.  The males usually stay a bright red, while females almost always contain reds, grays, and browns.

The cardinal in the camera-trap video was not baited in or scented in at all.  It just happened by pure luck that a camera was there when the cardinal landed on the ground.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

American Kestrel: Virginia's Smallest Falcon and a New Species

I always welcome new visitors to my camera traps.

Here's my most recent and newest visitor.
This is an American Kestrel.  A beautiful bird, a small falcon, and a hungry predator.

This is the first time I've ever gotten one on a camera-trap.

Kestrels are not your "typical" predatory bird.  They're tiny compared to most eagles and hawks.

They are closely related to peregrine falcons and share the fast-paced and quick turns that are common of the falcons.  What's really interesting about this specific one is that it is on a deer carcass in the snow.  It chewed at the tendons of the deer for about 4 minutes and then flew off.

Also, you are not seeing wrong, that is snow on the ground on March 22nd in Virginia.  Not completely out of the question for late March here, but it was an interesting sight.