After writing about how my passion for bald eagles helps me reset, I realized I get a similar reprieve from the two trailcams I put out in my backyard. I live in a town of roughly 20,000 people, a mostly residential community that is a suburb of Albany NY. Due to some wetlands the town is scattered with small patches of undeveloped land that seem to provide a haven for wildlife to hide from the craziness humans create every day. My house backs up to a wooded property, so about a year ago I thought it would be fun to see what comes out at night! My initial expectations were low, but given we counted 17 deer in the backyard one morning, there was potential.

I figured I’d get the usual Upstate New York visitors…squirrels, chipmunks, and deer. But I’ve been continually shocked by what I’ve caught on my cameras. Which, I should mention, are no more than 30 yards from my backdoor! Some of my favorites….

I have a video of an owl on the ground that looks like it caught a mole. My camera has a trigger speed of 0.2 seconds, but the owl had already landed before the camera even turned on!

One day I was stunned to find a video of a mink! This little sucker was jumping around like the character Sid from Ice Age. Quite unexpected given I’m more than a mile away from the Mohawk River through neighborhoods and a highway.

A fox family are regulars…almost every night they are out hunting and playing. I have one video where three red fox are playing and wrestling around for about 8 minutes. They remind me of my two boys!

A fisher cat is a rare but welcome treat. Definitely not thinking about work when I find him on camera.

The videos that were a hot topic among the neighbors for a long time are the coyotes. I was ecstatic just getting to see one, but not long after I had three on camera at the same time! They obviously don’t know I watch them, but for long stretches over the past year I’ve captured them on film several times a week. Where there have been small gaps in between their visits, I’ve found myself missing them. It’s been fun to see them grow and transform over the past year.

Since this isn’t the National Geographic channel I’ll stop with the animal stories, but you can probably tell by now how much I’m enamored with them. My friends and family realize that this has become an obsession and are definitely tired of hearing about it. But to me it’s therapy….no different than sitting in my kayak watching bald eagles do bald eagle things.

Even if only temporary, these animals make me forget about the stress that comes with my daily responsibilities. For the short time it takes to retrieve and review the SD cards, I’m not worried about estate documents or retirement plans or the markets. I’m completely detached, which is what we all need at times to handle our own unique responsibilities and stresses. Otherwise, the burdens we face every day will eventually get the best of us.

Check out a few of my favorite catches in the video playlist below.