Monday, November 17, 2014

Camera trapping at RMBL

I meant to post these months ago, when the excitement from all these pictures was still fresh, but of course, since being back at UCLA, I have been very busy catching up with analyses and teaching and things...

Sometime in August, I was out scouting for new marmot colonies in the valley where we do our research and I came across this really strong animal trail that I quickly named the "big game super highway". I hadn't actually seen any animals up there, but the trail looked so good that I knew I had to put some trail cameras up.

This tree seemed like it would provide a really good angle, and what do you know? Some bear must have used it as a back-scratching post because it had bear hair all over it, so I took that as a good sign for that particular location.

In total, I got pictures of  9 species (including 2 hikers) during the 3 weeks that it was up, which I thought was pretty impressive. Here are a few of the highlights:

 An adorable elk calf and his gang (yes, a group of elk = a gang)

Adult bull elk showing off his summer rack

My wildlife detective skills were totally validated!

There appear to be 3 sets of eye shine behind this black bear, suggesting a female with 3 cubs in tow.

This bear looks pretty hefty and kind of scratched up, so I'm guessing he is a male.  Luckily, he didn't stop to scratch his back/break my camera this particular day.

2 coyotes. They are most likely a mating pair out hunting together.

There were several marmots that would sun themselves on the logs here. New colony discovered!

And the sighting that literally made me jump out of my seat...
Mountain lion! AKA puma, AKA cougar
I still can't believe that I got this shot. I had seen puma scat near this trail previously, so I knew at least one lion was using the area, but I was absolutely thrilled to catch this on my camera.

I am looking forward to putting a camera up here again next year as well as finding new jackpot sites like this.