Today involved a trek out to Barlow Pass to visit one of the cameras that is set up in the area. We have several cameras set up on Mt. Hood to assist us with our efforts of collecting data on forest carnivores. The cameras allow us to have visual confirmation of animals in the area. From time to time to batteries need to be changed in the cameras as well as the pictures on the camera data cards need to be collected. Therefore, we periodically head out to the sites where our camera are located to check on them.
Even though the goal of today was to check on the camera the group kept their eyes open for animal tracks and signs.
On the journey today the snow under the trees was nothing but continuous snow plops which made for poor tracking. However, in the open areas there was about half an inch of new snow that showed new tracks really well. Many hare and Douglas squirrels tracks were seen as well as a weasel, which is shown below:
Once the group made it to the camera location they were surprised to see that the camera had about 6,700 pictures on it! It is very unsual to get this many photos on our cameras, usually there are only a couple hundred captured. The group surmised that a wealth of the pictures probably featured many Grey jays, as Grey jays often frequent meat bait that is put out near the cameras. A Grey jay was even feasting on the new meat bait that was placed out even before they left.
The camera check mission was very successful and the weather was sunny, warm, and beautiful all day long. In the coming weeks the pictures that were taken by this camera will be sorted through and we hope there are many pictures of forest carnivores among the 6,700 pictures.
Happy tracking and exploring to you all!