Sunday, October 14, 2018

THE PFHQ GAME CAM #1


Surprisingly, I have never set a game camera up here at Pure Florida HeadQuarters (PFHQ).
Until now that is.
Oh, I rigged GoPro's in various creative ways ... capturing everything from Gopher Tortoises deep in their burrows to the Florida Skunk Ape.
Still, it wasn't until this year that I mounted a motion sensing, see in the dark, superduper ACTUAL game cam here.
The results have been ridiculously fun for me and I can see this game cam getting moved constantly since PFHQ is a "target rich environment".
Here is a selection from just the first 2 locations.

The first location was on the house fence line facing an area where we toss veggie type food scraps and a little seed and corn.


It's a popular site for the local deer, a fact that was not unknown to me. We can sit on the porch quietly (without Bear and Coquina along) and watch them.

Buttons.

Nice profile, Buttons.

Don't look at the camera!

A little color variation.
Our woods looks awesome in these photos



Bucky passing through.

That's just a small selection of the1100 photos ... mostly of deer that resulted from the first setup of the game cam.

Yesterday, I moved it to the entrance of the "Hobbit Tree".

I placed it facing the entrance and added a big piece of fatty bacon in front of the tree ... oh, and a freshly dead mouse that I trapped.

Then I left it overnight.


This morning, a catbird stopped by.

Yesterday, a lot of empty shots occurred with no critter in sight.

This is the likely cause of that. The game cam senses movement in a wider view than this tree base. This squirrel was probably flitting about all over the area and triggering the sensor.

I had always wondered about the inhabitants of this awesome old gnarly tree.
I pictured something bigger, but the tree is more akin to an apartment building than a single family home.
This is a Wood Rat, Neotoma floridana.
Wood Rats are famous for the size of their nests.
No telling what it looks like deep under the Hobbit Tree.
He got photographed multiple times, but never once did he step out of the entrance.

This pair of coons is sniffing where the piece of fatback was placed.  I didn't get a photo of someone actually eating it, but it's gone at this point.

Surprisingly ... to me at least ... the dead mouse was still there this morning when I recovered the camera.

Thus ends this tail.
:)

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Perfect Frog Summer, Perfect Frog Pond, and Perfect Frog Drain Basin.



If you build it...

Go ahead, count em.


Florida is a wet place so when we comment or complain about the rain, it usually means there has been one extreme or the other.
This year, especially this Summer, constant almost daily rain here at PFHQ was the norm.
That actually IS the norm if those daily rains are the brief but possibly intense afternoon thunderstorms.
What was noticeable this year were full days of rain, one after another.
Painting, beach trips, and other dry weather events stayed on the "To Do" list.
The pond true edge is where the cypress trees are. At its fullest, it filled the area between the water in the foreground and the true edge.All the grass to the right was underwater...up into the trees.

My real pond, not the plastic Amphibisauna pictured at the top of this post, ... my REAL pond lept up over the dock and crept into the surrounding forest. 


If you were a frog and your froggy real estate agent showed you this ... and
then said, "Oh croak by the croak way, there croak are no croak fish in this pond croak other than croak delicious mosquito fish minnows croak.", you would snap this deal up, jump on it, and hop to it before this perfect home slipped away.

The pond reached levels I haven't seen since the awesome hurricane year of 2004 ... except none of that water was from a big event hurricane rain.
It was all from daily rains and it created an almost ideal situation for my amphibian friends.

Why?

Reason 1: 
My pond is fishless except for a blue million Gambusia minnows (Mosquitofish) a perfect food for Bull, Leopard, and Pig Frogs. 

Reason 2:
No predatory fish like Blue Gills and Largemouth Bass mean more tadpoles and frog adults survive to breed.

Reason 3:

The pond has substantial underwater vegetation and floating mats of the same. Perfect for hiding, resting, and ambushing insects and minnows.

Reason 4:
Shade.
Ultraviolet radiation is rough on all of us, but especially amphibians. Almost the entire edge of the pond is shaded by cypress, willow, and buttonbush. 

On top of this, the overflow portion of the pond has crept into the surrounding forest creating a perfect wet shady amphibinirvana situation. They moved into the forest edge as soon as it flooded.


So why, with all this perfect habitat, why is the tiny 3 foot wide pond in the first picture jammed up with young bullfrogs?
I don't know for sure, but I love it.

The purpose of that pond is to catch rain from the roof valley above and then send overflow through a LONG black drain pipe to the pond.

It is stocked with mosquito fish and functions as a mosquito deathtrap as female mosquitoes unwittingly lay their eggs into water filled with willing and voracious larvae eating gambusia.

It is 100 feet from the real pond, so I do find it funny to see so many REAL frogs hanging out there.

Just a gift I suppose, from the perfect frog summer.