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This blog is predominately about camera trapping in California. We camera trap to save our souls and to teach primary school students about biology and conservation. We will also touch on other camera trapping news and musings, sets from afar, mediocre herpetology, sucky birding, and other natural history discussions.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Screechy in the High Country

Last summer, the call of the Sierras introduced Camera Trapping Campus to the wild, delirious world of camera trapping.

Less than a year later, we return early: slightly craftier and eager for challenges.

Assembling with a crew consisting of the Codger, Random Truth and a few other chums, we set up cams for the Codger's workshop.

A great time was had exploring new habitats and placing some cams in locations that had intrigued us the year before, but were unfortunately passed over due to time limitations.

After a hard day's work, the crew settled in for the night at an agreeable, cozy cabin. A hearty feast was prepared to fill our empty stomachs while stories and schemes were passed between the merry group. Codger and Random Truth were fresh off two successes with "Hornly", a plastic Great Horned Owl that attracted swift attention from the real deal.

Thus, it was decided that we must continue the experiment, this time with a homemade Screech Owl decoy placed in the backyard of our cabin. 3 hours of Western Screech Owl calls were loaded onto Random Truth's Ipod and the decoy was deployed at 9:00pm, with three cameras focused on the furry fake -- two homebrew cams courtesy of Random Truth and Sean P. respectively, and a Bushnell Trophy Cam set for video by yours truly.

set view w/ homebrew 1 and video Bushie

shot of Screechy from homebrew 1

The calls pierced through the mute night, providing a soundtrack for our after dinner beers. Minutes after midnight, the Ipod had done its work and shut down. We had not observed flashes from the homebrews, but regardless hoped for the best and retired to bed.

A morning check-in provided us with success, but not one we were expecting:

1:35 am visit



video
1:35 am visit

Brother Fox visited again 1 hr 50 minutes later.

3:22 am visit

video
3:22 am visit

Did the call of "Screechy" bring in our Fox friend? Unlikely, for the delectable smells of our feast (bacon-wrapped meatloaf) and an additional treat left in a nearby rock crevice (roadkill squirrel) would have provided a far greater and expected attractant.

7 comments:

  1. 'squirrel tartare codgere' - now that's an entree i'd like to see on a menu! ha!!!

    the look on the fox's face in the 2nd visit is priceless, "Oh, you again..."

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  2. That is a great decoy! What did you make him out of?

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  3. Well told, Christian. Another aspect of this story I love - it's a terrific data point for white-flash reactions by gray foxes. Your vids show Brother Fox's reactions perfectly: "whatever."

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  4. Good point, RT.

    Bay Laurel: The decoy is a Codger creation and I cannot remember all the materials.

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  5. It was a hand carved foam core with a custom felt covering.

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  6. Ah, now this is very interesting!!

    Those commercial camera companies always BS that white flash scares away the critters.....

    Although it's not happened to me with canines...I've had deer take the flash from a Cuddeback for hours and not bolt.

    The info on canines is very useful!

    Thanks, JK!

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  7. Great job, and thanks for the help, guys.

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