We are in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada mountains but this past New Year’s we were not shielded from the exceptional amount of moisture that hit California. We had wet heavy snow for hours on New Year’s Eve that caused widespread power outages. I waited a week to venture out to grab my memory cards out of the trail cameras. It was still a pretty muddy slog to get to them. Sadly, there were several ancient cottonwood trees that did not survive the storm and many downed branches blocking trails. I noticed wash outs in areas that surprised me. When I got home to review my cards I was shocked to see how far the river had invaded. I almost lost one of my cameras judging by the photos.
I placed this camera at the intersection of several trails and have captured lots of deer, coyotes and feral horses on it. It is several hundred yards from the river. There are not any animals in this photo but it is time stamped a couple of hours before the wet snow and rain started. I need to reset the date recorder on the camera as it one day off on the date.
Exactly 24 hours later the river is flowing right in front of the camera. Note the swimming beaver passing by. That is what triggered the camera. No wonder it was muddy even a full week later. All of the water had receded, and I would have had no idea of the extent of the flooding without these photos.
As winter progresses, and we have had storms and significant snowfall, predators seem to become more active. I am seeing more daylight appearances on my trail cameras of Bobcats. Some of the photos aren’t half bad for an automated system. The Mountain Lion has also shown up in some of the same areas but is sticking to the middle of the night. I am grateful for the Lions staying with that schedule.
We got some significant snow over the weekend. Yesterday my 6 month old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Scout, and I were able to get out in it and play. Here she is sporting a snow beard.
She is challenging to get photos with crisp, sharp eye shots because of all the hair in front of her eyes. The scruffy hair acts to protect them in the brush when hunting so I won’t be trimming it. The scruff is called furniture.
She really enjoyed running through the fresh powder.
I know I am prejudiced, but I think she is a beautiful dog and such a clown. We are working on her hunt training and I am looking forward to hunting chukar and quail with her next year.
While I am enjoying all the images and information that I have been able to gather on deer and coyote movements, I will admit that I have been eagerly anticipating getting images of Bobcats and Mountain Lions. I have been assured that both frequent the property. As such, I am carrying bear spray on my belt when I wander the around just in case of an encounter. A reminder of the need to be aware and vigilante came this week when it was reported that a young girl out walking her dog was attacked by a mountain lion south of this area. Fortunately, both girl and dog were not seriously injured but it is cause for concern. These are not great pictures. Trail cams don’t take the quality of images a DSLR camera takes but I am thrilled to see the bobcat showing up on two different nights on my camera. In a couple of the photos it shows the bobcat carrying a rabbit in it’s mouth after a successful hunt. Now on to capturing a Lion.
This time of year, White-crowned sparrows return to the lowlands of the southwest in large numbers. They spend the summers in the northern boreal forests and the higher mountain ranges. Their reappearance is a harbinger of colder temps as fall and winter arrive. They are a welcome site in the sagebrush steppe as a lot of the other birds have fled to warmer climes. Often, they can be found in the same areas as Rufous-crowned sparrows foraging for seeds. I enjoy photographing both species as they have a distinctive and attractive appearance.
I have always been afraid of the dark. This fear has not gone away even at my advanced age. I just have far too much imagination and can conjure frightening images from the slightest noise or unexplained movement out there in the scary dark. I laugh at myself as even when reviewing trail cam photos that are taken in the dark I can get creeped out. It is disconcerting to stare at a photo that was taken at 2:00 AM and there is nothing obviously in the photo that triggered the flash. Another eerie sight are eyes glowing out of the dark with no hint at what animal or other being is behind the eyes. In these photos the animals are easy to identify, deer, feral horses, coyotes and a raccoon.
Last post was an example of the unexpected when it comes to photos captured on Trail-cameras. What is the desired objective? …beautiful animals of course. I started placing a series of cameras out in July in two main areas that are full of wildlife. Nevada State Game Laws makes the placement of Trail-cameras illegal after August 1 of each year until January 1 of the following year in the interest of fair chase. My goal is photographing animals not hunting them in this application, but I am still subject to the law. I obtained permission to place these cameras on private property which is legal. I am seeing lots of large Mule Deer bucks along with does and fawns. The cameras have also captured a skunk, coyotes and feral horses. While Trail-cameras don’t take high quality photos the pictures are hopefully going to increase my odds of getting good pictures with my real camera. Here are some examples from the last few months.
Hummingbirds are called the Jewels of the Garden or Jewels of the sky. It is easy to see why. As they flit through the colorful flowers the sun catches their brilliant, iridescent feathers giving them a gem like appearance.
These birds are some of my favorite photo subjects. I have turned my backyard into a hummingbird, or pollinator garden as I have written about in the past. I love being able to hang out in my own space, no driving, complete privacy and unlimited time to devote to these tiny subjects.
I don’t know what impacted my flowers this year, but I have very few great photos of the Hummers with beautiful flowers. This is one I like. The flowers seemed to be stressed by the heat and bloomed early and faded fast. I still had a good showing of birds but just not the number of pretty flower and bird opportunities I’ve had in the past.
I haven’t been taking photos of wild horses for some time. Honestly, they can be a little boring depending on the time of year. We are approaching the best time to photograph them in my opinion as it is getting close to foaling time and that means lots of cute babies and fighting stallions.
These Stallions let their bands get too close too each other going to water so I saw some action.
I saw lots of pregnant mares and I think I was about two weeks too early so will be checking on the herds the next few weeks. It was great to see so many colorful pintos and paints out there this year.