This would have been posted last night, but that ol’ webbertubes went down on my end. Anyway, a brief video on photographing a tricky subject.
The species in question was most likely a northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) – we have the southern variant around here, which tends to be a bit leaner, but how much they differ in habits I couldn’t say. For instance, I’m not sure we even have truffles in the region. A subspecies, the Carolina northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus) does appear in select areas of the Blue Ridge mountains in NC, little pockets far from the range of the parent species (you’ll notice that they were filming in Alaska,) and they’re endangered.
Is this something that I can tackle on video, at least the southern variant? Hmmmmm, that’s a question. I’ve gotten a few select photos of them, all from a co-opted bluebird nest box (none of which are up in the yard at the moment, since all of the longneedle pines that they were attached to have been removed, yay!) The squirrels are shy, and strictly nocturnal, and as the film crew said in the video, they were using specialized low-light equipment, which is not in the budget right now, not to mention spending five nights engaged in the pursuit, which they considered lucky – it could easily have taken much longer. However, they also said that they established the lights early on, before full darkness, and left them on so the squirrels were used to them, something that would be easy enough to set up in the yard with access to AC power. We’re just entering the second breeding season now, so it would behoove me to get some nest boxes up at the very least. I’ve also been meaning to do a box with an embedded camera, which has stalled only because it requires at least a power source, but a network cable would be more dependable, and these would have to be run up the tree to the box itself, plus of course a camera with an appropriate focus range and angle of view, complete with infra-red light source. Videos like this motivate me to re-open such projects, but there are a lot of details to be worked out, so don’t expect anything soon.
But hey, I did at least get a frame or two of the UV fluorescence, so give me a little credit for that, while I ponder the various possibilities of tackling this subject more comprehensively.