Thursday, January 3, 2013

New year, new blog title, new camera trap!

Sasha amongst all the critter tracks
Naples, NY - January 2, 2013
Happy 2013! 

I'm happy that the world didn't end in 2012, that I'm healthy, that friends and family are around, and that I live in America (well, not economically speaking). I've been MIA the last week or so due to the holiday hustle. But I'm back, and hopefully blogging on the regular now. 

So I have a new blog title: Nature in a Nutshell.

I started blogging in March 2011 under the "pen name" BearlyAlyssa. The title of my blog was "It's not about the destination, it's about the journey!", but I've morphed now into being truly myself, Alyssa Johnson, and blogging shortly and sweetly, thus "Nature in a Nutshell". My goal with this blog has been to share my comings and goings in the natural world, and to be able to explain my findings in a way that's relatable to all. I think I'm doing it.

Yesterday I was able to catch up with a handful of some of my most favorite people, the 2nd day of the new year. I met John (past advisor and professor at FLCC), Sasha (past mentor and staff member at FLCC), George (lifelong conservationist and one of the most generous people I know), and Becky (caretaker extraordinaire) at Finger Lakes Community College's East Hill Campus yesterday morning, which is in Naples, NY. This is the heart of the Finger Lakes region. We've had probably close to 2 feet of snowfall over the past week, and the woods just look lovely all soft and snowy looking. The sun was out and the sky was blue too, which made for a fantastic day outside, although really cold. After catching up around the kitchen table and watching the bird feeder visitors (Redpolls, gray squirrels, Red-bellied WPs, Juncos, Cardinals, Jays, etc), John, Sash and I decided to take a little walk down the road to look for tracks.

Sasha pointing out a weasel (
Mustela sp.) tunnel in the snow.
Because the snow is so deep, we didn’t “off-road”, but just looked from the edge of the road, from beyond the snowbanks.

Around the little stream Sasha is standing in, we did find some weasel tracks which was a cool find. They bound through the snow (which is a very particular gait), as well as tunnel through the snow. The picture at right is a cool picture of a tunnel (click on the picture to enlargen)!

At some point this winter I hope to be able to write a whole entry about tracking wild animals in the winter snow. But, in the mean time, check out my other blog for past entries on tracking wild critters.

I also just purchased myself a late Christmas gift: a new camera trap! I’ve been wanting a new one for awhile now, since the camera I’ve been using (Cuddeback Attack flash) has been misbehaving to the 3rd degree. I wanted to try a different brand and newer technology, and I shopped and shopped online reading reviews, looking at images and videos. 

Bushnell Trophy Cam HD
The best resource out there, for anyone who wants to get into using a camera trap (or trail cam/game cam), PLEASE check out This site is awesome!

Everything you could possibly want to know about what cameras are out there, is on this website. Except Cuddeback. According to this website, and a customer service agent I spoke with from TCP on the phone, Cuddeback removed themselves from this website. One can only speculate why. And I won’t, at least not now.

Here’s why I like this new camera:
Price- $199.95,
Size- fits in the palm of my hand,
Batteries- takes 8 AAs,
Settings- MANY options to choose from,
Trigger speed- < 1 second!,
Photo labels- I can put my name and the temp on the pictures!

The Bushnell's view into the woods.

I literally just hung it out, and have yet to see any pictures from it. I'm really anxious, and I'm going to try and leave it alone for 5 whole days.Wish us luck!


  1. Waiting is the hardest part! 5 days is a loooong time:) Good luck. Looks like a nice camera.


  2. Nice look on the new blog.

    Good luck with the Bushnell.....

    1. Thanks TB, but your comment about the camera seems ominous. Or am I reading too much into your "....." :)


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