Friday, October 7, 2011

Feral Cats caught by Camera Trap

We placed our trail camera by a creek in an open space park near our house, and we were surprised when the results showed a pair of feral cats coming and going in front of the camera almost every evening.

We also got quite a few blurry pictures of the local deer, birds, and raccoon along the creek, and a couple of slightly blurry pictures of a rat or rat like creature.

I guess we shouldn't have been too surprised. The creek is probably a good home for these cats.  There is cover in the bushes, rats and birdies to eat, and water to drink.  I suppose they could get on quite well.

You will notice in one photo a strange snaky streak next to the black cat.  We are not sure what it is.  A snake ghost?  A ghost of some other animal?  Or just the blur of the reflecting eyes of another cat as it ran through the photo?

They say coyotes and mountain lions come into this neighborhood from time to time.  We have not seen them here and have not caught any on the trail cam, but we did see a dog-like foot print in some sandy soil behind our house.  If they do come around, these cats may find life here a bit less enjoyable.

Feral cats have caused tremendous harm to the native populations of birds, especially song birds, and many naturalists have sounded the alarm about them. Should we try to capture and deliver these critters to a shelter? At least if they can be neutered, they won't be contributing to the problem by producing more ferals.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A fox in our backyard

Going through the fridge last week we found a Tupperware container with the remnants of three-week-old arroz con pollo. There was one piece of chicken left, a drumstick.  It was too old to eat, of course, and we don't put meat in our compost bin. But just tossing it seemed wrong. Repurpose! We got a bright idea: let's put it in front of the trail cam and see who comes to dinner!

We have been moving the trail camera to different locations in the hills here and have not gotten a lot of postable pictures.  We did see a few house cats or feral cats by a creek nearby (perhaps I'll post those later), and a bunch of blurry deer pictures.  We moved the camera into our back yard and put the drumstick a few yards in front of it.   A day later, the morsel was still there in front of the camera, but a couple of days after that it was gone.  We went to get the card out of the camera and 'OH NO' the batteries in the camera had died and there were no photos on the card.

Not completely daunted by this, we looked in the fridge for another item a critter might enjoy, and found a half of a cantaloupe that was never very good anyway and getting kinda old. We put it in front of the camera and 2 days later, voila, several very good pictures of a fox!  And a pair of raccoons, and a young buck.  All came to investigate the melon.

I'm not sure the species of the fox, all foxes look gray in the IR light at night.
Strange though, all they did was nibble on it.  It's still there.  Maybe we will get more pictures yet. Or maybe, like us, they didn't think the melon was very tasty.