Northern Neck Master Naturalists
Trained & Certified Virgina Master Naturalists


Game Cameras at Bush Mill Stream NAP

River Otter (Lontra canadensis) at Bush Mill Stream NAP taken by a game camera

River Otter (Lontra canadensis) at Bush Mill Stream NAP taken by a game camera

Recent graduates of the 2017 MN class have been maintaining game cameras at Bush Mill Preserve for about three months and have harvested many photos of local critters.  This effort started as a class project and its continuation is now part of an ongoing MN project to collect and report flora and fauna population information to various organizations (i.e., DGIF, DCR, etc.).   At our first field meeting the seven of us (Martin Hill, Kevin Howe, Kyle Langford, Jan Tyndall, Betsy Washington, Porter Washington, Liz Worsham) scoped the “human” trails of the preserve for possible camera locations (figuring animals would take the easy way through the brush).  We placed three cameras right on the trail and another where we found a lot of “turkey scratching”.  We were ecstatic when, only a few days later, we captured white-tail deer and wild turkeys on three of the cameras.  We also captured a good deal of human traffic through the park, mostly from the waist down but also a couple nice face shots of those making a point to identify the camera. 

We did a lot of adjusting during those weeks as we tried to prevent the many, many photos caused by leaves falling and branches/grasses moving in the wind!  In addition to deer and turkeys, we’ve captured a red fox, a raccoon, otters, and what look to be coyotes (see pictures).  We've also captured "eyes glowing" on unidentifiable bodies (any experts out there who'd like to take a look?).  We had some luck with video clips (fox, raccoon, otters, and what may be a muskrat turning tail) and have found that it's terribly time-consuming to check for results (but oh so rewarding!). In the coming months we’re planning to put together a reporting mechanism and to find camera locations that yield some new species.

Liz Worsham

FFDCLiz Worsham