Friday, October 4, 2013

Arboreal and Frugivorous

Gray fox scurrying off with prey.  Are those floppy bunny ears hanging down?  
A week ago Saturday, we heard a loud crash in the backyard at 3:00 am.  People and pets raised our heads high enough to peek out the bedroom window. The backyard remained dark and silent so we went back to sleep.

Small scat with seeds  
I was thinking it might be a gray fox since small scat with seeds had recently appeared in the yard and the driveway. Maybe the fox caught one of the rabbits that live in the barn although I wasn't sure the rabbits were out and about in the middle of the night. Or maybe the fox caught the woodrat that has been stripping the insulation out of my truck.

I was testing a new trail camera in the yard, so the next morning I checked the Reconyx Hyperfire HC500 for clues of the noisy night raider.

gray fox landing with a crash at the base of the persimmon tree 
gray fox inspecting its prey  

gray fox preparing for a killing lunge  

Yes, it was a gray fox as indicated by the long black line down the length of its tail, but its prey was a persimmon. Gray fox climb trees and are fond of fruit. The string of photos indicate that the fox climbed the persimmon tree, bit off a branch, jumped down and after careful examination, carted off the persimmon.

gray fox at the woodrat sticknest  
This is probably the same fox that came for dinner in September and has been checking out the woodrat sticknest in the orchard. I wonder where this fox lives. It must be close by, and with that gorgeous coat, seems like it has a well-balanced omnivorous diet.

Common gray fox, Urocyon cinereoargenteus


  1. That's a great catch! I was thinking that trying to figure out what the fox had in its mouth was akin to interpreting satellite imagery. I've been wondering what you get for the extra money in that new cam. Any thoughts yet?

  2. Too early to tell and I haven't even tested the new Moultrie I got which I believe is the same one you have. But notice the difference in the rest of the photos in this post compared to the last photo. The last photo is with the BirdCam2.0 with flash (which is now discontinued but a few are still available for sale out there). It takes great nighttime color photos. But the subject has to be close up and it often gets only one photo because it is so slow to recover between photos. Whereas the Reconyx gets multiple photos in a short period of time because it is so fast but it only does b&w at night. The quality of the BirdCam 2.0 construction makes me worry that it won't last too long and it might leak in severe storms. The Reconyx has a reputation for being tough in all types of field conditions. So there are different cameras for different situations. I expect to have a more detailed post on the BirdCam in the future and they now have a new model out.

  3. Very nice captures! Love that your camera can still render a high resolution color image in the dark. That last shot is leagues better than what our cameras capture that late at night. We use trail cameras here, both to see what's around at night as we're in a wildlife rich area, and to see who's lurking around the livestock pens at night. We caught a Bobcat returning to its prey cache for five nights in a row (dining on one of our turkey hens that it managed to catch this spring). The image quality is poor though, as you can see in this post

    We're shopping for new, more robust, cameras, though, to install near the goat barns. I'll be interested to see how you like this camera over time. The camera I'm using now shoots still images or video (with audio). I like having the video option for observing behavior. Does this Reconyx model only shoot still images, or is there a video mode too?

    1. Oh my, I'm not ready to review the Reconyx or the Birdcam yet. I checked your bobcat story and it is very good. Loved the way you edited the video. I know other people who use the Bushnell Trophy Cam and they really like it. I struggled with the one I borrowed. It's kinda the difference between being stealth like a night predator and going with the "IR" lighting at night OR being colorful like a human and using a regular flash for illumination at night. With flash you get to see more clearly like our eyes, but you might not get many photos because the animal may move on and the camera can't recover as quickly and your batteries run out faster. You could try putting the camera on a stake driven into the ground and move closer to the carcass (or other target) and you would get better quality photos with the Bushnell but still not in color. The Reconyx are $$ and I didn't even get the professional model. For the same cost, you could get two regular trail cams and put them up at several locations to better increase you chances of catching predators going after your turkeys. My Reconyx doesn't do video but some people say their capture rate is so fast, you can string the photos together into a pseudo-video. I highly recommend Trail Cam Pro as a site to investigate new trail cameras. Maybe their reviews and ratings will help you figure out what best matches your needs.


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