Sunday, March 11, 2012

A *NEW* Camera Trapped Species, Roanoke Island Aquarium & a Sunset Wildlife Drive

Before I share what I did today in the Outer Banks, I want to share a few pictures I got on my camera trap last night. I went outside around 9:45pm to set it up. The back yard is very small, a postage stamp yard, closed in on all 4 sides by houses with a little bit of brush separating the yards. So it was obviously dark out, and I was unfamiliar with the yard and the property boundaries so I decided to just set the camera on the ground in the back corner and hope for a bird or maybe a squirrel.

To maximize my chances of catching something, I used my no-fail scent lure 'Crossbreed' by Kishels Scents. By no-fail, I mean I've ALWAYS gotten something to come in to it...albeit rarely carnivores, but deer/birds/squirrels seem to be interested in it. I brought with me a Cuddeback Attack Flash, and set it on 15 seconds. As I was shuffling around in the dark, trying to set the scent, and the camera, I heard a rustling of leaves. I looked up, and shined the flashlight in the direction of the noise. Eyeballs. There were some nice, shiny little eyeballs looking at me through the brush trying to figure me out. I thought at first it was a pet cat, but as the critter moved around me, never coming closer than 10 feet, I had a feeling it was something else. I REALLY wanted it to be a wild animal, even though I am staying in the heart of vacaction homes and development...I had hope. Here are my results:

A gray fox! This is a first of this species for me, and I literally had the animal come to me as I was setting the camera!

I apologize for the overexposure, but this little guy came very close to the camera, and the flash is VERY bright so it's washed out. I reset the camera, and hung it a foot off the ground, so hopefully he'll come back :)

Gray fox again?

Domestic cat

American Robin- another new species!

Ok, onto what I did today.

I slept in, and it was wonderful. Still feeling the effects of driving 10.5 hours, getting up early yesterday, and just generally loving being on vacation. Once we got moving, and out of the house we headed for Roanoke Island to check out the aquarium. This aquarium had very neat exhibits focusing on all of the diverse types of wetlands found in and around the 'banks.

River otter sunbathing in their exhibit

Turtles basking

American alligator

Red snapper (I think)


Mady at the touch tanks with rays in it! Very strange feeling, slimy...but kind of rough like sand paper.

Shark tank...floor to ceiling and wall to wall...VERY COOL!

After the aquarium, we spent our afternoon shopping and sightseeing along the Croatan Highway. We stopped back at the house briefly to grab sweatshirts and grab all of our "gear" and headed back out to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge for a crepuscular drive all the Wildlife Drive. It was a BEAUTIFUL, cloudless, sunny day with the makings for a gorgeous sunset.

I counted 14 Turkey Vultures!

Myself and Mady @ ARNWR 3/11/2012, 6:35pm

We got back in the car....only to drive a quarter mile and SLAM on the breaks and jump out of the car because we found...

TB, I have to thank you for sending us good BEAR JU-JU last night in your comment on yesterday's entry!

After watching her for awhile, we decided to move on a look for more critters. We made a left and found this National Geographic moment...the black bear grazing in the light from the sunset. A truly awe-inspiring moment for us both. And this was Mady' 1st wild BB!

Another awesome day on the Outer Banks! Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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