The trail camera was out for a couple of days between rain and snow events. There always seems to be plenty of traffic. The camera was set to take 3 images when it detected motion. One or two of the three were sometimes good for sharing here. Some critters move fast and are just a blur. Click on galleries for larger versions.
Raccoons are always making the rounds.
Deer are plentiful all over town and on this path.
Grey squirrels are everywhere.
Possums are plentiful. One image is enough.
Cardinals are a favorite with their red coats and black trim.
Our trail camera was out for the past week behind our house. Because of rain and snow, I covered it with a clear plastic bag to keep it dry. The images are a bit out of focus. Lots of squirrel activity. A few possums and raccoons. Several deer passed by. One of them got in very close. A fox trotted by the camera. In 20 years, it is only the 2nd time I’ve ever seen one back there. I’ve never seen that black dog before. Dogs are supposed to be on leash. Lastly, one of the local black squirrels posed for a shot. Still no bobcats or cougars. Click for bigger images.
Previous pictures by critter cam were all stills. For the recent 3 days, I set the camera to record video. Movement of any kind triggers it to record 10 sec, then wait 30 sec in case something is still there moving around. In all, 53 videos were recorded. Many were of falling leaves or wiggling branches due to the very windy weather conditions lately. Those that remained with animals in the scene were combined with software. Dead time was removed. The video is about 2 minutes long. Cats and possums are again the stars of the show. At the end, I had to chase off some guy who was going to mess with the critter cam. I’m ready for him if he comes back.
There is a wooded acreage directly behind our house. Deer have made a path over time that conveniently connects our house to a city trail system about 50 yards away. There is daily traffic of various animals along it.
A month ago our next door neighbor said he was certain he saw a bobcat in his back yard not far from the deer path. It is a real possibility. I know some locals who have seen them in other parts of the county. I bought an inexpensive trail camera in hopes of seeing it. After hundreds of images in both day and night time, I have yet to see a bobcat. Lots of house cats, though.
There are plenty of grey squirrels.
There is a very chubby ground hog who waddles by once in a while. That short tree stump is 1 foot tall.
Deer will become more numerous during the winter months as they forage around bird feeders in the neighborhood.
There are many possum, raccoons, birds, and a few chipmunks and mice.
Our feeder hangs not far from the front window. The tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbirds come and go quickly. Sometimes there are aerial duels. Wasps and hornets are carefully avoided by the little birds. I hear the birds swoop by me as I put fresh sweet water into the feeder. They have a wingbeat rate of around 50/sec (50 hertz). It is a little lower frequency than the 60 Hz hum of electric current signals I sometimes hear on audio equipment. Here is a link to an audio recording by David Eberly of two Hummingbirds near a feeder. Turn up the volume.
I was curious how different camera shutter speeds would capture the wingbeats. The camera was set on a tripod, focused through the window, and zoomed in all the way. A remote shutter let me get shots without camera shake. This first image used ISO 100 and shutter speed of 1/125 sec. Lots of blur. Even the tail feathers are blurred.
Over the years, this book by Aldo Leopold has been recommended by many as a good read. I was born and raised only 30 miles from his hometown. My farm life and closeness to nature were strong influences on how I saw the world. A month ago while browsing a used bookstore, I found this copy of his book and decided it was time to read it. I am so glad I did. Leopold’s reflections on the natural world and our place in it fit squarely with mine. If you have not yet read the book, I encourage you to do so.
It is springtime in the midwest. Great flocks of American White PelicansPelecanus erythrorhynchosare fly north toward breeding grounds. We are fortunate in Iowa to have many of them visit our lakes and rivers. Dozens of the great birds were on the Iowa River in downtown Iowa City today giving residents close views. These birds are the biggest in the state at up to 20 lbs and with 9 ft wingspans. The loud roar heard in the videos is from water spilling over the nearby dam.
Seasonal changes occur very slowly. I enjoy watching for them as the year passes. Last fall, I did a simple set of observations to record how much lower the path of the Sun was tracking as the weeks went by. That post is here.
An unplanned seasonal change got my attention in recent weeks I looked out the north window toward out neighbor’s house at about 3 pm on 25 January. It was a very cold and sunny day. It was obvious from the direction of the shadows that the Sun was in the upper left, over my shoulder, out of view. Something bright caught my eye on the snow in the foreground.
Lots of commotion from the Crows this morning. Several of the them were scolding an immature Bald Eagle in the tree right behind our house. It is a BIG bird. It didn’t seem bothered. We have a lot of Bald Eagles around here. They congregate on the Iowa River below the dams to grab fish. It flew away and all was quiet again.
We set out on a road trip December 1 to visit Colorado Springs, Trinidad, and Oklahoma. It took 2 weeks. They are marked as A, B, and C on this map. The Colorado visits were for sightseeing and hiking. The OK visit was to family. We were lucky to have very good weather the entire time.