I recently sat down and reviewed the year past. No, not the headline news. Not even personal happenings.
Game camera photos.
I have three game cameras on the Outback and check them once a week, more or less. But I do a poor job of deleting photos, so the cards filled up recently and the cameras stop clicking.
One rainy weekend I sat down and started deleting all but the best photos. And I was amazed at what all I saw.
Oh, I’d seen them before, piecemeal. Now I had the whole year laid out in front of me.
Beauty of the deer
Doe deer are among the most numerous animals photographed, and we tend to take them for granted — especially hunters more interested in horns. But does are beautiful creatures, as some of the photos illustrated.
On several occasions, does stood right in front of the camera as though posing. Some shots even show a Bambi-eyed doe gazing directly into the lens.
One series of photos shows a graceful doe standing broadside to the camera in broad daylight, striking several poses before stepping daintily away.
Not easy being a critter
Some photos show injured animals. One, which I definitely won’t reproduce here, is of a coyote with a missing hind foot and exposed shinbone. Its suffering must be immense, though animals can live with pain we can’t imagine.
I doubt it was caused by a trap since that usually involves a front foot. So it’s anybody’s guess what hurt it — gunshot, coyote fight, snakebite or injury that got infected.
Another photo shows a raccoon with half a tail.
Then there’s a gray fox toting a fresh-caught rabbit in its jaws.
One humorous series shows a black coyote confronting a skunk. In the first photo, the coyote approaches the polecat. In the second, the skunk stands its ground with tail raised. In the third, both go their separate ways.
Since I regularly walk past the site where the confrontation occurred, I’m sure the skunk never released its scent, or I would have smelled it.
Inspired by a youtube video of animals crossing a log over a creek, I set a game camera in a similar location.
The video I saw was taken up north and included a bear and a panther negotiating the log.
My creek is more of a seasonal ditch, so the only thing using my log was small fry.
Still, it yielded some good pictures.
One shows a raccoon peering straight into the camera.
Another is a woodpecker that I would like to claim is an ivory-billed, which is said to be extinct. But the beak isn’t white, so I’ll have to go with pileated, also known as wood hen.
Putting things into motion
I was surprised to discover a bunch of videos on one of my camera cards.
I had set it on video for a week hoping to capture some good footage, but the videos didn’t show up when I looked at the card in my wife’s camera. Only when I downloaded them onto a computer could I see the videos.
Several showed a gray fox darting across, night after night. In one clip, a second fox followed close behind.
A couple of videos showed a coyote appearing on the edge of the screen, only to notice the red light of the camera, turn around and skedaddle.
A few deer trotted across, and in one, a bobcat slinked past like a shadow.
I got several photos of bobcats, ranging from scrawny and half-grown to some that had the massive swagger of a small lion.
The most intriguing was a large bobcat with leopard spots. Most bobcats have some sort of speckling in their coats, but this was striking.
A more mysterious photo taken alongside a gravel lane depicts what, to my mind anyway, looks like a miniature spaceship.
I sent the photo to my son Andy, who said it’s a bird.
I posted it on Facebook, asking for opinions.
Guesses included a drone, wasp, hummingbird, large insect, spider web and blue heron flying or landing.
Others were more imaginative: flying saucer, angel, Chatawa Monster, “cymbal on a drum set or UFO,” “golf cart hitting 88 mph,” “Bigfoot’s frisbees,” “DEA drone checking on a tip,” UFO chasing Sasquatch, “cheap camera,” “aliens, obviously,” “an image of the full moon in the dark haze,” “a flying saucer from the wife,” chupacabra, tannyfrate (mythical beasts), “a low miniature UFO flying saucer traveling at the speed of ‘no’ sound for the littlest aliens who get motion sickness,” and “a camera on a drone taking a photo of your camera on a tree.”
With that, I’m ready for a new year of game camera footage.