Saturday, May 17, 2014

Casual Cat

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I've put the camera trap in this location a couple of times before, but not from this angle. I like this spot because no hikers go here, yet it's close enough to the road that I can easily check on it, even if I'm tuckered out from a day's hike elsewhere on the mountain.

I was hoping to get more of a ground-level view of critters either passing through or stopping for a drink. On Tuesday I caught my first mouse, and only for three frames. Mice don't stay out in the open for long.

On Wednesday a lone turkey hen dropped by to get a drink. She stuck around just long enough to trigger the camera twice, for six frames.

I didn't get another hit until this Steller's jay dropped in on Friday -- yesterday. After I'd walked a good ways away from the set-up last Saturday, I was struck by a thought that ended up nagging me all week. Although I'd set the camera here before, I'd never done so when there was water running in the little defile. 

Would running water set off the camera trap? I was too tired, hungry and lazy to go back and check at the time, which condemned me to a full week of dreading the thought of dead batteries and a memory card full of nothing but riffling water. By mid-week I was thinking about driving all the way up there to check on it, but my loathing of rush-hour traffic was too strong.

As it turned out, I had no more animal-free frames than usual, and if I'd moved the camera somewhere else, I'd have missed this casual bobcat as he strolled through the scene yesterday afternoon. 

It was interesting to see that, even though the water in the scene did move, it didn't trigger the camera. I think the few blank frames I had were due to strong winds blowing and bending the surrounding trees, which made the shadows move.

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