First and foremost, I want to say Happy Mothers Day to my mom, I hope you're reading this! My mom gets all the credit for introducing me to gardening and getting me involved at such an early age. My earliest memory has to be the vegetable garden. I had my own little garden off to the side, maybe 4 feet by 4 feet, where I grew carrots and something else? for the bunnies. I remember the giant clematis at the back door, I loved to touch the fuzzy flower heads before they opened and the swirly heads of the faded blossoms. The robins nests next to the front door, the giant junipers that became play forts, the azaleas in Raleigh, gardening was always important. Thank you Mom for sharing your garden with me!
Since it rained again all night and it's too wet to work outside today, I guess it's a good day to tell you all about my critter cam. All these years I knew we had occasional night time visitors, they often left a calling card, whether it be nibbled foliage (deer, bunnies) or poop (or if you prefer, scat) or dug up plants (skunks, possums, raccoons). We even had sightings of a fox every now and then. After a while I just couldn't stand it anymore, I had to see was was happening under the cover of darkness.
I don't remember where exactly I got the idea, I don't hunt, but I knew of a product that hunters used to stake out game. I went to our local hunting supply store, Gander Mountain, and purchased a Game Cam for right around a hundred bucks. It's a night vision (and day) motion activated digital camera. You have to supply batteries and a camera card. You strap it to a tree where you think critters may pass by, like a food or water source, or a den. It took alot of fiddling to get it angled just right, I took my laptop out into the yard with me so I could trigger the camera a few times, then put the card in my laptop and check the pictures to see if it's angled right. It seems to be more sensitive angled slightly down at the ground. I have it set up under my bird feeding area. I've developed a routine where I turn the camera on and put the card in when I bring in all my feeders at night (since we have raccoons), and turn it off and get the camera card when I put the feeders back out each morning. Then I check to see who visited that night while I eat my breakfast.
It's been very rewarding to see who visits during the night. Knowing which critters are here helps me tailor my habitat to coexist with them better.