Inexpensive digital camera technology has revolutionized our ability to see all kinds of hidden things. Before, we might catch a fleeting glimpse of a wild animal here or there, but their lives remained a secret. Some we wouldn’t see at all. Here at Pearl Creek, we try to put out cameras every winter to see what is out and about.
Mostly, we photograph squirrels, groundhogs, raccoons, and possums. Occasionally, we’ll get feral dogs or cats. Sometimes we get deer and turkey or even a bobcat or coyote. Interestingly, we’ve never photographed (or seen) a fox at Pearl Creek Farm.
Read on to see some of our photographs from this winter!
We have countless photos of raccoon rear ends and striped tails as well as several of them facing the camera. Obviously, they use this trail to move from their den (probably under a sandstone overhang near the county road). Only once did we get more than one raccoon in a single shot.
We don’t like invasive or non-native species at Pearl Creek Farm. Feral cats are a major problem pretty much the world over. They kills songbirds, small mammals, lizards, snakes, and pretty much anything else that’s small enough for them to catch and eat. I’m hoping this one contributes to the circle of life soon! (And I don’t mean by having a litter of kittens.)
Deer are pretty much the original subjects of the game camera craze. We get them occasionally, but almost always on top of the hill. (Those of you who have been here know what I mean. Those who don’t need to visit and find out!)
We’ve seen bobcats almost every year around here. They only rarely show up on the game camera photos. I’m not sure why. Perhaps, since they range over a wider area, they are only rarely using the same trails as these other animals. On the other hand, it’s obvious that hanging out at this camera’s location would be a good place to get a meal!
We have two cameras out with a wildly different amount of success between the two. The camera pictured at the top of the post is near the creek and pond on a trail. It gets occasional traffic from squirrels, one armadillo, a couple of pesky dogs (perhaps feral or abandoned), and a few other things.
The other camera is on an obvious game trail near a sandstone overhang. It’s obvious that the trail is used by all sorts of animals to move up and down the creek. Every photo included in this post (except the deer) are from this camera. And there are dozens more photographs!
The camera is on a red oak tree just right of center in this photo. Sandstone Spring is just to the lower left, out of the frame. In this case, you can see that anything or anyone wishing to stay near the creek must walk right next to the sandstone overhang. Animals are lazy, just like humans, and they are going to take the path of least resistance. (The large sandstone rock you can see in the animal photographs is to the right of the camera above.)
The point is to choose your camera placement carefully. Look for animal sign (tracks, scat, burrows, or a physical trail beat down in the leaves or vegetation) and place accordingly. I usually try to point the camera down a bit to catch the smaller animals. I’ve even captured birds on occasion.
I’ll close with a representative of an invasive species that we do love here at Pearl Creek Farm!