Friday, January 30, 2015

Camera Placement

Trip Date: January 2015

As some of you already know, we have been using wildlife cameras at my school for the past two and a half years.  All of the best footage that we've captured over that span can be viewed on the Wild About Base Camp blog.  I even posted an article titled, Wildlife Watch, on the Calgary is Awesome website for a little more exposure.  In early January my time at Base Camp officially came to an end.  Before Christmas there was an unexpected opening at West View School in Calgary and I had to jump on that opportunity.  I am definitely going to miss being at camp, but am looking forward to what lies ahead.  That being said, one of the things I'm going to miss most is discovering what's been passing through the bushes near camp.  My wife, Christine, bought me a wildlife camera for Christmas, so I could still capture remote images of wild creatures!  In the middle of January I headed out to the Devil's Gap area of the Ghost Valley to install it.

I parked at the bottom of the Trans-Alta road and headed towards Devil's Gap with Rome, my hiking partner for the day.  We hiked and explored until we found, what I hoped was, a suitable location for high wildlife traffic.  I set-up the camera on a nearby tree, while Rome explored all the different smells close-by.  Then I sat down and enjoyed my lunch before we worked our way back to the Jeep. 

It was an overcast day when we started hiking.  That's Phantom Crag on the left and Black Rock in the background. 
Shortly after we started I spotted this Ruffed Grouse.  Rome didn't see it until a short time later and the grouse didn't stick around for very long after that!
My trail camera is a Bushnell NatureView Camera with the Bear Safe Security Box for added protection
I setup the camera at a natural funnel where wildlife would likely have to walk through.  There was both scat and tracks nearby, which should be a good sign.
At the eastern edge of the Banff National Park boundary there is a small kiosk with the following information about Devil's Gap...
"You are entering the remote Devil's Gap region of Banff National Park.  This trail runs along the south side of two of the three Ghost Lakes, then fords a stream to the north shore of the first lake.  It reaches the east end of Lake Minnewanka after 7 kilometres.   
The haunting names found in this area recall a native legend concerning a cannibal ghost that was observed picking over the bones of Stoney warriors killed in battle on the nearby Ghost River.  Devil's Gap takes its name from nearby Devil's Head Mountain, which was a translation of a Piegan name recorded by fur trader Peter Fidler in 1792."
One of the Ghost Lakes.  Apparently they only have water during times of flood, hence the name I guess.
Further along Devil's Gap, looking west towards Lake Minnewanka.  This beautiful view was our turnaround point.
Time to start heading back.  That's Phantom Crag on the left.
Rome just before crossing the dry bed of the final Ghost Lake
It was an incredibly windy day.  Here you can see the gusts picking up the sand and dust from the Ghost Lake.
Wind gusts on the Ghost Lake sitting below Phantom Crag
Rome found a good stick somewhere on the dry lakebed
The view of the final Ghost Lake looking towards Lake Minnewanka
The clouds cleared off as we got closer to the Jeep, but the wind was still howling.  Here's a good view of Black Rock Mountain (left) and Sleeping Mole (right).
I haven't been back out to check the camera yet, but I'm hoping to do that closer to the end of February.  Stay tuned for what I may have caught on film!