Wednesday, December 03, 2008

One Spot: 24 Hours of GameCam

I put the Moultrie GameCam out by the inedible pear tree last Saturday night, November 29, 2008. In front of the camera I scattered inedible pears from said tree and some cracked corn.

I let the camera grab images for the next couple of days but the most activity occurred on November 29th, coincidentally the night all the food was put out.

The video slide show I put together captures the sheer volume of action that happens at a food source at night, while we humans are sleeping. We can occupy these same spaces during the daylight hours, completely oblivious to what went on in that exact spot the night before. We might notice that the amount of food is reduced or that there's some additional animal poop on the ground. But we don't really KNOW what went on there until we get to see the images recorded by one of these handy, remote, motion-sensing cameras.

I believe I got images of seven animal species in this single 24-hour period: eastern cottontail rabbit, white-tailed deer, gray squirrel, northern cardinal, Boston terrier, Homo sapiens, and Virginia opossum.

Just after midnight on the 30th of November, two more species walked in front of the camera: a feral house cat and a raccoon. But they were too slow to make this slideshow of all the visitors on the 29th.

When watching the video, you can note the time at which each image was taken in the black band across the bottom, along with the outside temperature, moon phase, and barometric pressure.

This is pretty fascinating stuff—at least to me.

I hope you like it, too.

Thanks to the Magic option in GarageBand for the help with the country-fried soundtrack.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

GameCam Night Pix

I call this one: "Devil Bunny, Tire Swing, Moon, and Pear Tree."

I have been having fun with my two remote nature cameras. One is a Wingscapes BirdCam designed to take daytime images at feeders, nest boxes, bird baths, etc. The other is a MoultrieGameCam designed to take nighttime images of wildlife. Many hunters use gamecams to see what deer are coming in to a feeding station or what game is using a certain trail.

The night cams have motion sensors and a flash unit that lets them take a shot every time something walks past the sensor. These remote cameras bring out your inner spy.

I placed the Moultrie out in the east edge of the yard to capture images of the critters that were coming in to eat the pears falling from the ancient pear tree. I got what I expected—mostly rabbits and deer. Here are a few of the more interesting shots.

At 4 am, a nice-sized buck comes in for some pears. Check out the temperature registered on the camera. Brr!

This old boy is big enough to reach some of the low-hanging fruit. Smaller deer have to wait for wind falls.

A "fork-horn" buck hears the camera click.

And a nice six-pointer hoovers up some fruit.

Just at dusk, the first buck checks for any newly dropped fruit and also looks toward the house to see if anyone is about.

All kinds of wildlife gets captured in action.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crows On Pie

One of the wintertime sports around the farm here at Indigo Hill is watching who and what comes to the meat pile. We throw old, freezer-burned steaks, over-the-hill chicken carcasses, and past-its-freshness-date hamburger in a big pile three-quarters of the way out our middle meadow path, along with anything else that might attract hungry wildlife, and we watch to see what comes in.
Ten days ago we put a frozen fruit pie out, along with some carbon-datable chicken fingers. Then we placed a Moultrie GameCam (courtesy of our friends at WingScapes) nearby to capture snapshots of the action. Most of the activity occurred at night and that's the stuff of another post. But we also caught some visits during the day by our local American crows.

I can just imagine how long they must have perched in the woods nearby, sure that this was a trap. They might have watched for hours before the bravest among them swooped down for a closer look. Even when other flockmates joined in, you can still see that they are wary—checking for trip wires, joy-buzzers, pit traps, Ed McMahon.

Finally satisfied that this is simply a big pile of gourmet grub set out just for them the crows tie into the pie. They look like hungry diners at a lunch counter. And I can almost hear their mealtime conversation.

Crow #1: "Hey bro! You know what would go GREAT with this pie?
Crow #2: "No idea, dude. What?"
Crow #1: "A cup of caw-fee!"
Crow #2 "Fershizzle!"

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