One of my favorite places within our Platte River Prairies is a restored wetland we usually call “the sandpit wetland” because it is a former sand and gravel mining pit. We restored the site over about 10 years, a little at a time, and it now features a meandering stream and various side channel, backwater, and off-channel pockets. You might remember the site from previous posts, including this one about sludge and this one (or this one) about timelapse imagery.
I always enjoy walking around the wetland – even if I’m fighting off invasive species – because there’s so much to see. I have a pretty good feel for the plant community at the site because it’s easy to find the plants and watch their slow movements around the wetland over time. There are more invertebrate species than I’ll ever be able to count, of course, let alone see, but I can usually find quite a few of them if I look. However, it’s harder to see and keep track of the larger animals – the birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. For some reason, they don’t usually show themselves when I’m there… (Especially the otters…. don’t get me started.)
Our timelapse imagery over the last couple years has helped us keep track of some of the wildlife use at the site, but since those cameras only take photos at regular hourly intervals, catching animals in front of the camera is just a happy accident. Now, however, one of our longest tenured volunteers, Karen Hamburger, has taken it upon herself to find out what’s really out there. During the last year or so, she’s been setting a trail camera (actually more than one, since at least one was inundated in a flood) in various places around the wetland and capturing views of many wildlife species.
I finally had a chance to go through some of her favorite video clips the other day, and I made a short 3 minute video montage with some of them. It includes several bird species, beavers, deer, raccoons, and even (sigh) otters. We knew from tracks and other sign that most of these animals were around, but it’s one thing to see footprints and another to watch the critters themselves! This video gives us a wonderful and unique perspective on what happens at our wetland when we noisy blundering people aren’t around.
I hope you enjoy it.
THANK YOU to Karen for all the work to capture these moments for us, along with all the other work she’s done over the years!
If the video doesn’t display correctly above, you can try clicking HERE instead.