Last year around this time we saw tapir prints in the finca (yeah!) and that was when I decided to invest in a wildlife camera. By which I mean, ask my parents for a wildlife camera for Christmas. Thanks Mum and Tim! (for that and way, way more). We ordered the unfortunately named Bushnell “Trophy Cam Aggressor”, whose moniker makes you think the animals caught on pixel might need post-trauma counseling but whose features are good value for money.
Since January I’ve been putting the camera in different spots where we’ve identified wildlife trails…next to the drinking pool below the spring… trained on the trunks of a fruiting rambutan tree, etc. The camera is a window of marvels into the habits of these beautiful beings that share the finca with me, sight unseen.
Red brocket deer, for example – I’ve never laid an eye on one, yet almost every day they pass by the camera in search of the fresh young leaves of my baby trees. Same with the little tinamou – a petitely rotund ground bird whose haunting call floats far through the crepuscular air, but is seen rarely, unless you happen to put a camera in front of her daily commute (see below!).
I’m not convinced the camera is capturing everything that passes – once, for example, we found a half-eaten fresh-water crab discarded immediately in front of the camera, and no imagery of the racoon or whatever must have been lunching on it – and I know it takes waaay too many pictures of leaves rustling in the breeze. Nor has the camera successfully “Aggressed” tapir or ocelot or peccaries, all of whose tracks we’ve encountered at some point. But the images it has taken so far are enough to allow me a sense of the richness of life depending in small or large part on the finca.
In my previous post I shared photos of the red brocket deer. Here are some of my other favorites. None of them are particularly endangered, but they’re still thrilling to find when you troll through the SD card.
The tolomuco! Also known as a tayra (Eira barbara), an omnivore, weasel family, a common species of disturbed landscapes. Look at that smooth gorgeous strength.
Next: My very first picture on the camera! The Northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana), an arboreal anteater.
The Crab-eating raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus), of whom I mainly seem to capture butts and tails. Distinctive tails, I’ll give ’em that.
.An adorable young Central American squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii) stealing a solo moment on the ground with ripe rambutan.
The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is solitary, mostly nocturnal, omnivore, and apparently the “state small mammal of Texas” . Carlos also found the empty shell of one of these guys discarded by the spring once, having been excavated efficiently by some feline predator (that of course we didn’t capture on camera).
Birds of prey are not easy to catch on a wildlife camera! What was this yellow-headed caracara (Milvago chimachima) doing here?
And perhaps my favorite of all… the Little Tinamou (Crypturellus soui), which bustled back and forth almost every day for a month straight, heading to work in Sector Astronium uplands at 5am, and returning to the arroyo between 4 and 5pm.
Oh and then there’s always the occasional glamour shot of Carlos and myself!