Speaking of cameras, - trail cameras

Almost everyday, my birdbath is knocked over, curiosity finally got the best of me and I bought a trail camera. This one was actually on sale at my local Bass Pro for $99, it was one of the few I found that is 1080 resolution at a pretty cheap price.

I have a free program I downloaded from Nikon, that works for any media and converts .avi file to mp4, you can also edit the video.
Then another free online program can change the mp4 to GIF
and you end up with this.


Nice detective work! I love these trail cams, and as you say, there are some inexpensive models available now that are within the budget of nearly everyone but are still capable of taking some great pictures and video. I’m been using some of the “apeman” brand cams available on Amazon with good success. It takes some time to tweak/adjust the settings to avoid “false positives” from wind, shadows, etc., but it’s a small price to pay for the fun/excitement of getting some photos of species that otherwise remain elusive, like these two bobcats I recently picked up on one of mine.

Another option is to use relatively inexpensive IP ‘security’ cameras connected to an ‘always on’ computer in your home, either wirelessly via your network, or hard-wired via ethernet cable. Then, using free or relatively inexpensive security cam software like Blue Iris, you control, monitor, etc. your cameras via the software. This is certainly more involved then standalone trail/game cams, but you also don’t have to worry about monitoring game cam batteries, swapping out their memory storage cards, etc. You can also set up ‘alerts’ to your phone, which is how I was alerted to these two moose that were picked up on my driveway ‘security’ cam. I was away at work, but a family was at home, so when I received the alert, I was able to give her a call and she was able to see and photograph these beautiful animals before they moved through.

I’ve even used an inexpensive USB ‘webcam’ with Blue Iris to monitor bird feeders close to my home (I’ve found that you can only run a USB cable about 25’ before you lost the signal), particularly during hummingbird season. You may end up sifting through 1000 pictures a day, but you never know which unusual species you mind end up catching.

So bottom-line, these cameras can really open up some great opportunities for learning about and documenting ‘nature’ in many respects…they are well worth the effort!


There’s a good facebook group Trail Camera Photos and Videos, probably we should do more iNat advertising there. :thinking:


The local “trash pandas” are quite mischievous at my place as well. The lastest wildlife vandalism I’ve experienced has been a fox squirrel tearing up a patio cushion… presumably out of boredom since no material was taken for nesting or other purposes. I dipped my toe in the game/trail camera space not terribly long ago and regret buying a near-IR camera because it has a discernible glow (to wildlife) at night. I’ve since replaced that camera with one that claims to have deeper IR LEDs, so we’ll see how that goes… but in the last year or so, I’ve managed to capture a variety of wildlife visiting my backyard. A few species off the top of my head would be raccoons (obviously), squirrel, white-tail deer, gray fox, coyote, armadillo, opossum, greater roadrunner, eastern screech owl, crows, northern cardinals, bobcat, feral pig, rabbits, and the occasional domestic dog.

Thank you @melodi_96 for the Facebook group recommendation. I love seeing that sort of thing… and thank you @karen33317 for teaching me a GIF can be submitted as an observation on iNat.



TIL iNat supports animated gifs! My own trail-cam is going to see more use now I think.

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First test, keeping with the Trash-Panda theme:



I used it to capture Primrose, our resident opossum. :slightly_smiling_face: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37459179


I was really excited for trying this but I get a 504 gateway time-out when I try to upload the gifs to iNaturalist. :(

Edit:Nevermind, apparently just took a long time to upload. This is really cool though, here some small mammals under an Estonian bush: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&project_id=animated-observations&subview=grid&user_id=stanvrem&verifiable=any


We’ve been using a Raspberry Pi based My Nature Watch camera which comes as a kit. Ours is the visible light version but you can get an IR camera (there are also two different wide angle cameras too).

Here are the observations we’ve made so far:


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Did you bring the camera with you when traveling or did you get it locally? (wondering if there are good affordable cameras here in Estonia so I can get cute mice too :smile:)

what kind of camera is that? haven’t worked with any that can do such close-up video, pretty cool

I got a Moultrie gamecamera for Christmas four years ago. It turned out to be one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. I always knew there was a lot of wildlife around my house, but with the gamecamera I got a chance to see what comes by when I’m not watching. I was really excited to find photos of a fox and a bobcat, neither of which I’ve seen around except on the gamecamera.
It’s a good camera, it’s still working after four years of Pennsylvania weather. It even got knocked off the tree and batted around by a bear at one point; which resulted in my getting some unique photos of the underside of a bear’s chin.
My gamecamera really peaked my interest in the natural world, and is the reason I found inat, as I was looking for a way to share my game camera photos.


It’s a normal trail cam but with a lens taken out of a pair of cheap 4+ reading glasses taped over the camera lens, works perfectly for close ups of small mammals and birds.

@reosarevok I brought it with me.


Somewhat aligned w trail cameras, can anyone recommend a good time-lapse camera with flash? I’d like to do some TL photography in caves and was hoping to find a simple setup, but the TL cameras i’ve seen have been daylight only. I have a Wingscapes TL camera that is a Moultrie product, but the quality of images is not very good nor consistent from image to image. Any recommendations would be appreciated, thanks!

I’ve just posted the first of two journal posts about camera trapping small mammals: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/camera-traps-trail-cams/journal/30420-camera-trapping-small-mammals-part-1 This one is about getting your camera ready for capturing small animals, the next one will be on making and placing a small mammal box, and some of the interesting behavior shots I’ve gotten in mine.


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