Posts tagged ‘video’

My fat Bobcat (video and stills) Bushnell Trophy Cam

My bobcat buddy is still around. These images and video were taken with my remote Bushnell Trophy Cam trail camera in November and mid December. ALL WERE TAKEN WITHIN 100 YARDS OF OUR HOUSE! Of course we live on the north edge of Minnesota’s Nemadji River Valley with many square miles of roadless bog and wooded wilderness to the south.

What a fat and beautiful animal! If the still images taken in mid December are the same Bobcat as in the video (taken in mid November), why does this one seem so much “fatter?” It could be that it has acquired more of its denser winter coat and so appears fluffier (i.e. fatter). Or it cold be a different individual.

My dream is to someday photograph this gorgeous animal with a “real” camera from a blind. But how many frigid hours would I have to sit before getting a glimpse? And one click of the shutter might send it scampering.

Cats are cats
Note in the video how many familiar cat-like traits/behaviors this Bobcat has…the way it stretches on the log, its body posture when it eats, how it shakes its head, sharpens its claws and wags its short tail…all very feline.

What camera?
I also love how the Bobcat (and most wildlife) is unfazed by the camera and its red lights. This makes sense though since many mammals cannot see light in this spectrum. Cats and wild cats (Bobcat, Lynx, Mountain Lion, etc.) see in color, but they have difficulty distinguishing reds. “Reds appear as differing shades of gray to a cat. It is believed both dogs and cats see mainly in grays, yellows, and blues” (from

I hope she sticks around…and maybe more chicken, grouse and deer carcasses will help convince her that Skogstjarna is a good place to spend a cold winter.


Timber Wolf eating deer video

The trip to daycare is never dull…okay, most of the time it’s pretty dull. Birk and Bjorn stay pretty quiet as long as I have the radio tuned to WNCB Christian hit radio and keep tossing fishy crackers, granola bar bits, or whatever edible thing I find in the Subaru’s crevices into the back seat. But today, we didn’t get more than a mile from home when I saw a mammal in a hayfield. It was a long ways out, but at first glance I thought it was a Coyote. But it looked too bulky.

I had taken Bridget’s car this morning and so I didn’t have my camera along (Rule #1 of wildlife photography: ALWAYS have your camera in your car!). Fortunately Bridget did have her binoculars under the car seat and I was able to get a good look at the mystery animal. I put them up to my eyes and found myself staring into the distinctive face of a Timber Wolf! So I told the boys to “hang on!” and back we raced to the house. I nabbed my camera and tripod and sped back.

The wolf wasn’t there! I scanned the field cursing my lack of preparation when I spotted him, closer to the road now. He was laying down and gnawing on a deer carcass. I imagine he was able to kill the deer last night and just lingered on feasting until morning (it was past 8:30 am by now). I was filming in plain view but he gave me few glances. Wolves can only be confused with Coyotes under the worst conditions or at very long distance. Wolves are much bulkier, longer-legged, and lope with a loose-jointed gait. Their head is blockier and they often show white rings around the eyes. Wolves also lack the extensive red of some Coyotes and may be very white or very black (Coyotes don’t show this pelage variation).

I walked another 50 feet closer. He seemed undaunted but finally got up and without effort snapped a deer leg off to take with him (the original “take out” meal). He loped across the field and stopped near the tree line to take one last look at the man who interrupted his meal.

Back at the car, the troops were doing fine after about 20 minutes left to entertain themselves (I was always within sight of the car). I managed to find a bag with some mini rice cakes with chocolate drizzle, and these served as a fine treat for a very patient 3-year old and very tolerant 17-month old.

Canon 7D with Canon 400mm f5.6 and stacked 2x and 1.4x teleconverters, tripod.
The use of 2 teleconverters is not recommended for still photography except in occasions where it’s better to have a record photo rather than no photo at all. You lose quite a bit of sharpness and contrast. You can get away with it more easily in video though, where your filming at 1/60 second.]
[Photo is a single frame plucked from the video (1920x1080pixels).]

Porcupine Spring Snack

If you live in the North Woods, you know that the Pussy Willows are in full blossom right now…Fuzzy catkins adorning bare branches. What you may not know is that Porcupines crave the big fuzzy catkins! After a winter of a strict diet of tree bark, they seem to relish the newly sprouted grass and the catkins of willows and other trees.

Willows are dioecious…male and female flowers are on separate plants. The visible yellow on the catkins are the yellow-tipped anthers and stamens depending on if you’re looking at a staminate (“male”) willow or a pistillate (“female”) flower. They are a very nice addition to a bleak leafless landscape.

Almost every spring I find a Porcupine about head-high in a Pussy Willow, clinging to the small trunk, feeding on catkins. This guy/gal? was feeding in Jay Cooke State Park. He was very mellow and allowed me to film and photograph him from quite close. Watching him slooowly reach out for a catkin-ladened branch with his long-clawed paw reminded me of the Two-toed and Three-toed Sloths Bridget and I had watched in Costa Rica. Once the Porkie bent a branch close enough, he’d eat every accessible catkin with gusto. You can see this in the video below.

Porcupine Spring from Sparky Stensaas on Vimeo.

Note the orange front teeth. This is the result of iron salts in the enamel which act as a hardening agent. Under a microscope, you can see that the enamel is made up of layers of crystalline prisms at right angles to each other—the same layering principle that makes plywood so strong. And it must be strong since Porkies gnaw on tree bark daily. The incisors are sharpened to a chisel-like edge by the contact with the opposite incisor which wears down the softer white inner tooth. Since Porkies are rodents, their front teeth never quit growing. In fact, the entire length of each incisor is worn down each year, but since they keep growing from deep inside the jaw, the result is a net zero gain. You may have noticed the orange incisors on other rodents…Beaver, Rats, Muskrats, etc.

Porky’s orange teeth: Canon 7D, Canon 400mm f5.6, f5.6 at 1/640 at ISO 2000
Porkie wide in willow: Canon 7D, Canon 400mm f5.6, f5.6 at 1/3200 at ISO 3200 (Why 1/3200 at ISO 3200? because, when driving around I have the camera set to a fast shutter speed in “TV” or shutter priority mode…in this case a crazy 1/3200 of a second (enough speed to freeze a flying bird’s wings)…And I forgot to reset it before shooting. But in a scene like this (not much out of focus background) you can get away with this.