But only 1 glimpse.
Shy sagebrush vole giving the camera a suspicious glare
Funny thing - it just happened again, when I tried to short-set what I think are montane voles up in the western Sierra Nevada foothills.
The burrow was obviously active, but the cam only caught a single shot in 3 days & nights:
Shy montane vole also playing peek-a-boo
I'm not exactly sure why they're acting shy, but I have a couple of hypotheses:
- voles are commonly hunted just outside their burrows by ambush-style predators, such as bobcats and coyotes, so are sensitive to the addition of an object that looks like it could be a waiting fang-forest. I.e., it might take longer than a few nights for them to habituate to a cam, and I might want to disguise it better.
- my smelly seeds aren't impressing them. Sagebrush voles evidently don't eat seeds often, relying mostly on sage and rabbit brush leaves, flowers and cambium for their diet. And the montane vole eats grasses, sedges and flowers.
So, I'm going to have to change tactics in 2012 to get some good photos of these characters.
But that's ok, I have a feeling that, like the mighty minimus, they'll be worth it.
- E. W. Jameson, Jr., and Hans J. Peeters, UCPress - Mammals of California
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - Lemmiscus curtatus
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - Microtus montanus
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - Becoming Size Wise
- Nature of a Man (this blog) - posts on cam trapping the Mono Basin