Treleven in December

6 Dec

Don made his first-ever “Black Friday” shopping foray on the day after Thanksgiving this year, in order to buy a wildlife camera that happened to be on sale. There were no crowds in the box store at 6 a.m. fighting to get their hands on one of these devices, so Don was able to make off with it easily. It’s an innocuous-looking plastic box painted in camouflage green, and when you strap it to a tree in the woods it begins to quietly take photographs of anything that triggers its ultra-sensitive motion detector. Day or night, rain or shine. An infrared flash illuminates the surrounding visual field for a distance of up to forty feet, without unduly alarming the photographic subject. The idea is that any animal who innocently wanders into the camera’s range will have its picture taken and be digitally recorded.

Wild Life Camera

Once we get adequate snow cover to show the tracks of animals moving through the woods, we’ll set up the wildlife camera at places where there seems to be persistent activity…and then we’ll post at least some of the results on this website. Anecdotally, we’re already sure we have a wide and diverse array of wildlife making their living on Treleven Farm—particularly on account of the sprawling beaver swamp and the talus formations at the base of both the east cliff (“the back cliff’) and the south cliff. These talus formations don’t amount to true caves, but they do offer myriad denning sites that are easily defensible and well-protected from the weather.

It will be fascinating to pin down exactly what creatures we’re sheltering here. Some of the impressions that we find in the snow are reasonably obvious: white-tailed deer, snowshoe rabbits, foxes and coyotes. But is there a fisher out there? What about a bobcat, or long-tailed weasel? Vermont’s Department of Fish and Wildlife lists fifty-eight different species of wild mammals as being native to Vermont, of which seven are currently assigned an “endangered” status by the state.  (Four of those seven endangered species happen to be bats, which accounts for the state’s overriding concern with enhancing bat habitat). Once we get the wildlife camera up and running, the goal will be to make a photo album showing how many of those fifty-eight wild mammals are present on Treleven Farm.

A couple days after Don’s “Black Friday” shopping adventure, Ethan came across a YouTube clip of a wildlife life camera set up to record video images in Australia. The camera was evidently picked up by an eagle, who flew off with it and managed to take pictures far and wide. Here’s the link to where you can fly with an eagle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJCedFwrVqk

Eagles have made something of a comeback recently in the Champlain Valley, and we’ve spotted at least one of them flying over the farm on several occasions…looking for a camera to fly off with, in all likelihood. I hope he’s not smart enough to bite through the bungee cords used to attach our camera to a likely tree. But if he does, we’ll try to get it back and then post the images!

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