Friday, November 11, 2011

The Trail Camera Lives Again!

We gave up on the trail camera last year when we couldn't figure out how to charge the battery. Well, we charged but it didn't. Turns out we had run it empty and killed it... I didn't think to check the battery level each time I turned it on. So Johnny bought a new battery, installed it, and set up the trail camera next to a pear tree in the swamp two days ago (far side of the farm from our house).

We had not shaken the pear tree when we shook the apple trees last weekend because we were making apple, not pear, cider. And it's on the other side of the electric fence from the horses (who should not be eating tons of pears or apples). Well, it's away from all four horses during the day and three of the horses at night. Our solar charger must lose enough umph at night to stop impressing my palomino, Jessie Anne, who is now known as The Golden Leaner. She leans into the fence, pushing over the white plastic fence poles. After she's over, the fence poles straighten back up. The other horses will have nothing to do with that white electric tape day or night.

So, our first night of the trail camera operation this fall (two nights ago) captured videos of a bear (bears?), coyote, deer, raccoons... and Jessie Anne. One bear video is here. For the others, you'll have to go to youtube.

I especially like watching the reactions of the various species to the trail camera. For those reading this without the ability (or desire) to watch the videos on youtube, the bear is curious, the coyote terrified, the spike buck interested, and Jessie Anne oblivious.

On the second night (last night), I changed the trail camera setting from video to still in hopes of getting a good photo of a bear. But the bear did not show. Instead, I have 28 stills of, mostly, deer. (I had locked Jessie Anne in the barn to keep her out of the area.)

The raccoon was in the back dark corner of the photo so I cropped to find him. The coyote is washed out and I don't know how to fix that. The videos of the coyote are much better. Not that I need to see coyotes at night. They are perfectly willing to roam our fields in the daytime, too.

For some reason, having night time videos of bears makes their presence seem friendlier than just seeing their scats, upchuck piles, and scratched tree outside our back door. Maybe it seems friendlier because they are a quarter mile away at the southeast corner of our farm instead of in our back yard, ripping open sacks of chicken food and mangling the dog food container.

When the action slows down under that pear tree, we'll likely move the trail camera close to the house, just to make sure the bears are really gone. Or not.

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