Archive for the ‘wildlife’ Category

A few weeks ago I came across some gray fox tracks in the sand. They were very small, as you can tell by the comparison with the SD card.



(Don’t give me hell for where the SD card was made!)

I’ve been trying for two weeks to get one of these young gray foxes on trail cam video, but I haven’t had any luck.

Until this week:


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An old opossum

This old opossum is a survivor. It looks like it even has a bit of frost bite on the ears from last winter.

old opossum 

old opossum I

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I estimate the bear was on film less than a half hour after I set the camera.

I have never seen this bear or any other bear in person on this access road, so they must be very good at reading people.

Which is wise.

Black bears are known for their intelligence, and this one tries to avoid walking in the mud where it would leave tracks.

Also, it’s very easy to see how a black bear could give someone the idea for bigfoot.  Like humans, bears are plantigrade. Their heels touch the ground when they walk.

So if anything could give you an idea of wild man living in the forest, it would be one of these stealthy black bears.


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Buoyed by the bear that came out on the trail cam this week, I set out a fresh bait of sardines.

And I got a gray fox on the camera last night.

wv gray fox I

wv gray fox ii

wv gray fox

Gray foxes are actually the last survivors of a lineage of North American dogs that diverged from the rest of the dog family 9 to 10 million years ago.

They aren’t really “foxes” in the same way red foxes, arctic foxes, and swift foxes are.

The gray fox, which I think should just be called Urocyon (their genus name, which means “tailed dog,” a very apt name!), are ecologically like the European wildcat. They live on small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and unlike other dogs, readily to take to the trees to forage for food and avoid predators.

Finding a gray fox here means that I probably won’t be getting any red foxes on the camera. Gray foxes dominate reds, and coyotes eat them. With coyotes and gray foxes in the same area, my guess is that no red fox could live here without constant persecution.


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All this week.

Turkey vultures:

turkey vultures

turkey vulture ii

turkey vulture III

A few deer:

deer i trail cam

deer II trail cam

A wild turkey hen:

turkey trail cam

And a golden coyote:

golden coyote

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Last weekend, I set up the game camera, and I dumped out a few cans of sardines and spread the oil out in front of it.

This is what I got when I collected the SD card this evening.

WV coyote 1

An eastern coyote!

If you zoom in you can see it has a wolfy head, and it’s pretty robust. It’s been living high on the hog on dimwitted cottontails this summer.

wv coyote 2

wv coyote 3

close up of wv coyote

Look at how wolfy that head is!

Eastern coyotes have come into this part of the East from Canada, where they have received a bit of Canis lupus lycaon genes, and they are a bit more likely to pack up and hunt deer than their Western counterparts.

If you are wondering how big it is, I do have a photo of Miley in about the same place, which was also taken from the game cam. Miley is bigger than it is.

But it’s not a small coyote.

WV coyote golden retriever comparison

I think the coyote is in about the same spot as Miley, but it could be a bit closer to the camera than she is. Miley is 23 inches at the shoulder and 75ish pounds. Domestic dogs are usually much more heavily built than coyotes are–even those that have a bit of wolf in them.

I was trying to get more photos of raccoons, but I think I’ll settle for a coyote.




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Monarch of the milkweed

A monarch butterfly.  Utterly dependent up milkweed. But stunning.




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