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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bustling with wildlife

Over the past week, we visited extraordinarily different landscapes, from the sandstone canyons of western Colorado, to the red rock vertical canyons of Moab, and finally to the snowy winterland of the western slope of the Continental Divide.

Here's a photo of K in Moab, next to a red rock wall with the moon rising over it.
I plan to write about those adventures in the coming days. However, first, I wanted to share the photos that I captured with my infrared wildlife camera (Bushnell Trophy) that I set up next to a boulder outcropping that overlooks a meadow. Over the years, I've noticed fresh carnivore scat in this spot regularly. I set up the camera a little more than a week ago. The photo below shows the spot the camera is focused on but no animals.
A bobcat visited this boulder on the second night that the camera was in place. I believed that it was fresh bobcat scat that I saw regularly, and my guess was confirmed. Notice that, with an IR camera, the nighttime photos are black and white. Moreover, despite the dim red light emitted by the camera, the cat's eyes shine brightly.Here's a zoomed in view of the cat.
The next morning, in the rosy hue of sunrise, a coyote couple visited the same spot.
They stayed long enough for a few photos, sniffing the ground carefully. I wonder if they smell the bobcat. My research has revealed that coyotes hunt and eat bobcats. However, that seems like a very tough meal for a coyote!
Below, one coyote departed but the sleepy one moved more slowly. He yawned before heading down to the meadow. Throughout our vacation, a pair of coyotes visited the area under our birdfeeding station nightly. I wonder if this pair is the same - I suspect so.
A few nights later, a tasty meal for either a bobcat or a coyote visited the same spot.
He headed directly for the hole at the bottom of the boulder. He's barely visible in the photo below as his head was already in the hole.
A slightly zoomed view shows that he did head for the hole. In the next photo taken 8 seconds later, he'd disappeared into the hole. This camera automatically takes three photos at 8 second intervals when triggered.
The rabbit didn't reappear so I suspect that he used an alternative escape hatch from this burrow.

All in all, the first week of having my IR camera in the field was a huge success! A bobcat, coyotes, a rabbit, and a squirrel (not shown) all visited this spot. I'm going to keep the camera there a bit longer to see who else shows up!


  1. Khyra says NICE KHYTTY!

    Welcome Back!

    You've been missed!

    Hope you are feeling okay?

  2. Awesome pictures! It sounds like your vacation was a lot of fun, and I can't wait to read about it in the coming days. Glad to see you back.

  3. Welcome Home, KB! When we passed through Moab on the way home, I wondered if maybe you were there. I took some shots of snow dusting the red rocks. Will look forward to your vacation adventures.

    What luck to catch the bobcat on the camera! Very exciting footage!

  4. Fantastic captures with the new camera!
    Moab is one of our favorite places. Probably quite beautiful traveling through this time of year. Look forward to photos!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  5. We have missed you and your daily adventures!

    Staying tuned for the next exciting


  6. wow, those are wonderful pics captured! looks like you chose a wonderful spot to try out the new camera....
    i've missed you! and look forward to seeing the pics and hearing the tales of your trip...welcome back!

  7. Very, very nice pictures. Can not wait to see what else you capture with the new camera.

  8. Cool new pics! I'm interested to her your impressions about which camera you like better - the IR, or with a flash. The pictures with the flash are nicer, but does the flash really freak out the animals? Are they less bothered by the IR camera? We are thinking about getting a wildlife camera, so I'd love to hear your thoughts!

  9. I'm lusting after one of those cameras now! But our wildlife is a little more boring by comparison...

  10. Oh, the new camera is doing a great job. Hope you had a good trip and are feeling OK.

    Woos, the OP Pack

  11. Welcome back. I'll have to show Tom these shots. He is interested in your wildlife camera work.

  12. Dog_Geek: I'm not sure yet whether the IR camera is less upsetting to the animals. While we had it next to our house, all the wildlife disappeared. They reappeared as soon as I moved it into the field. By leaving it in the same spot, I hope to see if the bobcat returns. If he doesn't, I'm going to be very suspicious that the camera is scaring him. He seems to have left scat in the spot where the IR camera is now almost weekly over the past year.

    So, the bottom line is that I'm not sure but I hope to get a better handle on it soon. I agree that the regular flash gives much better nocturnal photos...


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