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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A fleeting glimpse of tail



A fleeting glimpse of tail is sometimes enough to identify a faceless subject.

In this case it was Herman the Ermine, also known as the short-tailed weasel (Mustela erminea).

It's a new species for my camera trapping life-list.

The location was the bank of a steep falling creek that feeds the Yuba River's north branch.

Weasels work creek bottoms on their foraging rounds, but I attribute this picture to serendipity.

Here's a full-frame camera trap view of the site on June 21 when I set the camera.



And here's what it looked like 24 days later.



Yes, growing vegetation can be a problem when you leave your cameras out for even three weeks.

It took me an hour and a half to find one of my other 5 cameras in the area.

My GPS told me I was on top of it, but it wasn't there until I pushed through a patch of Delphinium that had grown up around it.

The other cameras operated for a total of 96 camera trap days.

I got lots of pictures of deer mice and chipmunks, but no mountain beavers climbed the alders to reach the apple and birch scent lures I had painstakingly attached.

Herman the ermine was the only picture that stirred me, but only a little.

I'm too old to attempt a back-flip for a fleeting glimpse of weasel tail.

5 comments:

Michelle Johnson said...

Great shot of the weasel's tail. He seemed to be in a hurry. Have a great weekend.

randomtruth said...

Wish we had weasels around our place. Weasels that eat moles. Lots and lots of moles...

Totally know what you mean on the vegetation growth! This year has especially been crazy with the extra Spring rains here in California. In some of my pond shots the cattails grew 2 feet in 1 month!

-Ken

Owlman said...

A little tail is always good!

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