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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cache and Carry (or is it the other way around?)

Gray fox
(Seneca Falls, NY 1/13)
This particular set started with a text message from my wife: "Cleaned freezers. Two bags of meat for you in shed". I grinned. We need to get better at rotating the stuff in the freezers but this gave me a great opportunity for camera trapping. I had been getting photos of a gray fox along our south hedgerow, so I put the bait out in one of my favorite spots about 150 yards down from the location you see at the right. Our weather has alternated from cold and snowy to warm and sunny.



My first image of the gray was him ghosting through the trees. Curious, but not coming near the bait.
Gray fox in the distance
(Seneca Falls, NY 1/13)
Then it rained. Literally within hours the rain and the melting snow caused this set to flood. The gray returned and was much bolder:
Gray fox with reflection
(Seneca Falls, NY 1/13)
Gray fox with reflection
(Seneca Falls, NY 1/13)
I had 17 gray fox photos in all. Many were just a few minutes apart. Gray was caching his food. Caching is an effective technique for carnivores as well as herbivores. An animal that does not cache its food can only gorge itself and hope no one else finds whats left. Some animals have the capacity to defend food, like a carcass but most cannot. Both the red and gray fox will cache food (Note: I pronounce the word "cache" so it rhymes with "cash". Others pronounce it so it rhymes with "sashay". I lived in Cache County, Utah where we didn't fancy-up our pronunciations!!).
The photo on the right is one of the best from that night. I like how the eye shine shows up in the reflection. Although there is no snow in any of these photos, there was snow around. I grabbed our small camera and thought I could find some tracks. Gray fox tracks look very cat-like. I snapped a few photos, but nothing great. The real treat was finding some of gray's caches. I found four caches within 20 yards of the camera trap. I left each undisturbed.



Gray fox tracks:

Gray fox track. A cat track would be more asymmetrical but about the same size.
(Seneca Falls, NY 1/13) 
Caches:
Gray fox trail ending in food cache
(Seneca Falls, NY 1/13)

Gray fox food cache
(Seneca Falls, NY 1/13)
The final two photos from this set were daylight photos. In fact, the photo of me rolling up on my ATV is only two minutes after these were taken. I would have liked to have seen him...


Gray fox with eastern cottontail
(Seneca Falls, NY 1/13)
The bait is long gone, as is the snow. Gray must have re-cached his food. I am still getting photos of gray at both cameras. He has moved on to other sources of food.

5 comments:

  1. Wow, beautiful pictures! I love gray foxes for some reason, they seem so much more mysterious to me than the reds.

    BTW, today I believe I found Bob's tracks in my yard in the snow :)

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  2. That pic of the cache site is cool. Also...another pic of predation for you! I never get those (aside from feral cats). Well-done!

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  3. This is a great blog. Looked through a lot of your posts. They gave me a lot of inspiration for my camera trapping.

    Andy
    http://primitiveskillspractitioner.wordpress.com/

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Andy! I will add you to the blog roll...

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  4. Absolutely gorgeous animal. I love his red ruff. Great pics! Thank you.

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