Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bluebells and Turkeys

While a lot of the camera traps I use are for scientific surveys and research, I do really enjoy the ones that I set aside for my own personal use.  It's good to take a break from regular work and data entry, and just get out in the woods for some good ol' camera trapping creativity.

That was the mentality recently, when I took friend, naturalist, and professional photographer, Jeff Mauritzen along on a hike and paddle.   Him and I have been working on a few projects with all kinds of camera trapping and local wildlife, so it was a great experience for both of us to meet up and get outside.

Author in Virginia bluebells.  Photo:  Jeff Mauritzen
The best part of the day was meandering around a carpet of bluebell flowers that sprawled all over a forest floor.  There were thousands of them!

It was a humbling experience; one that almost took my breath away with the sight of so many flowers.

We took some photographs, walked carefully, and of course, got to work on a camera trap set.

I already knew that no matter what animals we would capture on the camera trap, they would be beautified by being in a sea of bluebells, but was completely amazed when I got incredible pictures of wild turkeys.

One of the projects that Jeff and I have been working on is an article in National Wildlife Federation's Magazine, "National Wildlife".  We had an idea of a few camera trap setups to provide the magazine with photos, so it was really nice to get these turkeys in this setting.  I'm excited to get on board with this and hope to share even more photos of wild turkeys in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

For now, enjoy this picture of a turkey in the bluebells.

Wild turkeys are one of my favorite creatures to watch. Endless hours of entertainment can come out of sitting quietly where there is a turkey roost.  Turkeys fight with each other, putz around, and then go on "missions" to mate with each other.  As a naturalist, this is my television, as it's a wildlife version of the Kardashian's.

I did a little bit of a count and individualized multiple males (including two really beefy "Toms"), at least 7 hens, and also got a few pictures of white tailed deer.

The camera has since been taken down, and will be placed somewhere new.  What's next?

Follow along and find out!

-Big thanks to Jeff Mauritzen for taking amazing photos and coming along on my local excursions.  Click to see more of his work here:  Travel and Wildlife Photography .