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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.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another telling tail

Only 23% of the 77 pictures at this night set had animal images. The rest were blanks.

That's a rather crappy success rate.

Something was triggering the cam.

Was Bigfoot toying with me again? I think not.

More likely small cryptic critters were triggering the sensor and vanishing like Tinkerbell.

They can be hard to see. You have to click back and forth between images on a computer screen.

Then your eyes can see changes in the scene. Often the change is in vegetation caused by a gentle breeze, but sometimes you can see a disturbed path in fallen leaves, the footfalls of a phantom passerby.

I zoomed in on the edge of this picture and there was a long rodent's tail.

There's only one rodent in the upper Yuba River area with a long tail like this, the Western jumping mouse (Zapus princeps). All the other species have tails shorter than the head and body length.

Plus, the coloration seems right -- "pelage on sides usually washed with lemon yellow" (Verts and Carraway, Land Mammals of Oregon).

I can't really prove it to the satisfaction of all, so you call me a bluffer, BS artist, or worse.

(Thanks to Don E. Wilson (aka Batfinger) for confirming my hunch.)


cliff said...

Another great suprise. I belive you and I are the only ones that get excited about a mouse or shrew.

I'm going to set up a couple of more cameras for smaller animals, like mice, and will let you know how they work. The one I use now is great if you use a large card.

Good catch on the weasel, they are very fast so that's a good start.

Always looking for that perfect photo.


Camera Trap Codger said...

I'll be checking your blog for the little guys.

Bpaul said...

Sign me up as a "small critter" fan too.