Monday, September 29, 2008

Game cameras help with animal dispute

All animals in the pond appear to have joined together and ended any problems with water quality. There appears to be a no wake rule that will prevent any stirring up of mud and all the beavers have been photographed as working to achieve the goal of a cleaner and healthier pond.

This shows how game cameras can work together with the animals to solve there problems. I have happily removed all the cameras from the pond by unanimous consent.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Continued satire of the politics of pond life

I can see my detective work is going to get very difficult during the day when the animals can see my hidden cameras. They are now preventing identification by dashing in front of the camera and diving into the pond to stir up a muddy mess. This seems to be an all out rebellion that I hope doesn't get out of hand.

Monday, September 22, 2008

From the looks of this mink - trouble in the valley Part 4

I believe this mink is in charge of water quality and from its appearance it doesn't look very happy with the muddy water. Seems the beaver have been working on the dam and keeping the water stirred up and until the fall rains begin both ponds will continue to be muddy.

I have placed cameras on several different locations to try and identify the trouble makers in case I am called in to be a witness. Trouble brewing for sure.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The following morning the head builder arrives Part 3

This series of photos taken around 4:30 the following morning shows the head builder arrives, after getting the permits, and proceeds to move the log to the proper angle. This will allow passage over the dam and also gives the best support for erosion. This is a larger and older beaver and does the work with great skill and speed.

I hope you enjoy this series of photos that show how the animals work together as a team and show little if no concern at all toward the flash of the camera or to the camera itself.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

First animal to cross the dam Part 2

First beaver to cross the dam checked out the stick and crossed over without moving the stick, even with the weight of its dragging tail. The stick was just set on top without anything to hold it in place.

Certainly one of the best known dam builders in the world would not leave something like this on top of the dam plus blocking the path. Maybe this was a young animal and was not in charge of the building, or possibly it studied the problem and will take it to a building and planning commitee for a permit.

Game cameras to study animal behavior Part 1

Most of the time I use my game cameras to study animal behavior by giving the different animals tests so I can understand what would they do under certain situations. This test is to find out what a beaver would do when it comes across a big limb across its runway over a dam. Will it ignore the situation and just walk over it, move the limb, and if so what would it do with the limb? Would each beaver react in the same way?
Here's a picture of the setup where I placed the large limb across the trail or runway between two ponds.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Best time of the year for game cameras on ponds

This location has been productive for a variety of animals this time of the year. First time for a Porcupine in this location and certainly not the normal route because of the overgrown grass and brush along this pond, but they do eat a lot of vegetation.

August and September are my favorite times of the year to place a few cameras around ponds and creeks. The water is still low and the weather is hot and dry, lots of animals looking for food and a quick drink. This will change fast in October when it begins to rain and could last for several months or longer, which makes for sleepless nights as the water raises and the cameras are close to the creek banks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Centered the beaver going into the pond

This photo was taken in the same location, but on a different day, shows how the animal was centered in the picture when going into the water after walking on dry land for 20 feet. They can be quite fast on land if they choose and are more than able to fight when cornered.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Trail camera was just a little too close

I like to set my cameras close in a location like this, sometimes at one foot from the spillway between two ponds, this would have centered the beaver had it been traveling into the pond rather than leaving. Coming out of the cool water and the fur keeping the heat in the body allowed the beaver to get past the center before triggering the camera. I moved the camera back 10 inches which should double the field of view on the camera and still get a close picture.

I wanted to get the small cottonwood tree in the mouth of the beaver as it dragged it to the lower pond, could have been a nice photo if everything had worked correctly.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Do predators really feed on the weak and sick?

I find it hard to believe that a coyote would be anything other than in top condition in and around the Mt. St. Helens area with all the starving and dead elk that was in this valley during the spring and early summer. I have never been a firm believer with the claim that predators kill only the young and weak and from all my experience with predators I have found it not to be the case and it shows in my studies.
When I participated in one of the mortality counts in this area several years ago I was suprised to find no predation on any of the elk carcasses by predators, and there were over one hundred dead elk. This year the mortality count was even higher and with all the predators in the area I wish I would have been given the chance to study this problem on the lack of predation. Maybe next year the Game Department will allow me to study this problem with the use of my game cameras and find out why cougars, bobcats, birds and coyotes do not feed on these dead elk.