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.