|A long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata) checks out the castoreum stain left as a scent lure.|
Yuba River (North Fork) drainage, Sierra County, California
I wasn't expecting miracles at set 574, but it always seems like a miracle when I camera trap a weasel. Especially a blue-eyed weasel. (Just kidding, folks; those pretty blue peepers are the reflection of the camera's flash from the eye's tapetum lucidum).
This weasel sniffed the castoreum just long enough for a single photo.
The set was under a boulder on a steep slope in red fir forest. A few de-scaled pine cones identified it as an undercover messhall.
The camera snapped 431 photos in 33 days, but 60% were blank images most probably triggered by fleet-footed rodents.
|Long-eared chipmunk (Neotamias quadrimaculatus)|
|Possibly a brush mouse (Peromyscus boyleii)|
Deer mice and long-eared chipmunks accounted for most (=80%) of the wildlife photos.
|Long-tailed vole (Microtus longicaudus) |
shows its bicolored tail
A bright-eyed long-tailed vole posed nicely for one photo,
|Northern flying squirrel, a meat eater.|
and northern flying squirrels left 13 images during three visits.
|Chickaree (Tamiasciurus douglasii)|
Chickaree's visited 10 times and left 14 photos.
|Even the deer mice sniffed the castoreum.|
Every species of mammal left at least a few self portraits while sniffing the irresistible castoreum.
The stuff is a truly broad-spectrum attractant for mammals and indispensable to this camera trapper.
I can't identify the only critter that ignored the scent lure.
|The best of three photos of the "mystery chick".|
But now I wonder if it's a chick of a blue (sooty) grouse, mountain quail, or even a sora rail?
Early September would seem a bit late for a chick, no?
Any opinions out there?