Friday, September 13, 2013

Rocket J.

During the same month the camera was on the Aplodontia burrow, I also had one staked into a downed log in the dense fir forest above the Yuba River.

I like logs. It's always intriguing to see what'll jump up or land on them. Especially in a forest known for martens, weasels, 7 or 8 squirrel species, and multiple cool woodpeckers.

For this log set I pointed the cam down the length and dabbed a bit of stink on the far end.

log set in fir forest

As is common in California, a gray fox was first to the scene. Just 15 hours after we left the cam.

gray fox

In this close-crop you can sort of see the gray fox's hooked, semi-retractable, cat-like claws, that help them to climb trees and scale logs and rocks:

gray fox claws

Once the gray got its footing, it gave the log and scent mark a nice once-over.

gray fox

gray fox

gray fox

gray fox

After the fox left, the next 28 days were generally quiet on the log.

A couple of bitchy chickarees stopped by to scold the camera during the pre-dawn hours:



And a coyote trotted by late one night.


The only bird to visit the scene was a robin, which dropped in for a quick evening inspection on the last day the camera was in the field:


But the robin wasn't the only aeronautical animal in the forest that final night.

Because suddenly - at 11:06pm - just 11 hours before we pulled the cam with the class...

A thunder of jets in an open sky -
a streak of gray and a cheerful "hi"
A loop, a whirl and a vertical climb -
and once again you'll know it's time...

(sounds of trumpets)

Yep, that supersonic speedster - Rocket J. Squirrel - dropped in for a cameo.

Rocky was another hope-for when I selected the log, of course. Because these fir forests are know for having flying squirrels, too.

flying squirrel

flying squirrel

Now all we need is a Moose.

Maybe if we'd left the cam trap out just one more day.



  1. Very interesting! Do you think that Rocky landed on your log? Or do they spend time scampering around the forest floor? Thanks for sharing these great photos every week!

    1. Howdy KFI! Yes, I do think Rocky landed on the log. Gliding from point to point is their preferred mode of transport, but they come to the ground and clumsily scamper to forage. I figured a log on the ground would be a likely target. And since the cam didn't catch any pics of the squirrel on the ground before these pics, I think it glided in.

  2. Wait ... you got a coyote also. Didn't Sean get one too. We get two coyotes in the same year (probably the same animal) after 5 years of getting shut out in the Sierras. Great job.

    Love the flying squirrel.

    The fox did pretty much exactly what you wanted it to do. How cooperative.

    1. It's the same coyote and same visit as Sean's - I checked the timestamps. The yote must have run up hill past my cam after checking out Sean's scene.

  3. Beautiful Gray Fox shots! I miss those little buggers from my time in NC....never see them up where I live now.

  4. Great shots of the Gray Fox.


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