I conducted a similar field trip last year with my students and had excellent results which I reported here. At that time, I was unsure if we would even get a single bear photo. Well, we obtained several including some nice video. So a approached this year's venture with more confidence. I repeated several of the sets and even used one of the cameras to target rodents instead of bears. So for class this past Friday, we all packed into the van and made the hour-long drive to retrieve the cameras. We were also targeting bear sign and any other interesting natural history finds along the way.
Our total species count (in no particular order):
Obvious missing species:
-less common species like gray fox and bobcat
(Wayland, NY 10/12)
Set #3 was specifically targeting rodents. I will have to share the full results in another dedicated post, but here is a teaser photo. I stumbled on this downed limb that was being barked. I just HAD to set an Attack camera and get some video of the culprit. Although we photographed several species here, this was the only set that produced red squirrel.
Set #4 was a new location from last year. I saw a faint trail leading into some pines and when we went to investigate, the area was so vegetation-free that it was just begging for a set. We only got one species here, white-tailed deer, but multiple sightings made up for the lack of diversity.
Our fifth set was also a repeat from last year. As we approached the camera, I told the students that LAST YEAR, we had a black bear walk in front of this camera and camera set #2. Wouldn't it be cool if that happened again? Well, it did, except this year the bear was going in the opposite direction. Remember, camera #2 was on the ATV trail. Camera #5 was about 300 yards farther down that trail.
Let's discuss the behavior a bit. The lure is a sweet scent that is supposed to smell like something good to eat. This bear shows no signs of trying to ingest the scent or even to find the source of the smell to eat it, but rather looks more like a dog that just needs to roll in whatever stink they just found. the bottle is about four ounces and has now lasted two years. I am anxious to try some more scent luring for bears in the future.
Our eighth camera set proved to be a bust. When the batteries on the Cuddeback Attack get low the camera tends to respond by randomly or continually firing. I can accept that, but by "low" I mean a reading of 75%. To me, that is a design flaw. Anyway, I have to count this set as a total loss, despite the (are you ready?) 847 photos and videos recorded!! None of them were triggered by a critter. That left us with two sets. Set #9 was only a few yards away from #8 and I was silently seething at the failure of two cameras so close to each other. My annoyance soon melted as I checked the captures and found:
Our final camera set was anticlimatic. A few nice photos, some false triggers and no new species. Well, unless you count these creatures --
|Brent and Ben|
(Wayland, NY 10/12)