There are days when Sally Naser’s trail cameras capture everyday sights in the wild of western Massachusetts, like squirrels, chipmunks and leaves blowing in the wind.
There are others when something really unusual pops into the frame, and when that happens, it’s like Christmas morning for Naser. Christmas morning came early this year in the form of a barred owl on the prowl. Naser, who operates the popular Facebook page CR Wildlife Cams, was thrilled when she uploaded a video recently from a camera deployed near Berkshire County that showed a barred owl emerging out of a wetland with prey in its claws. It’s unclear what the prey is, though Naser speculates it might have been a bullfrog.
“I’ve literally watched it 100 times,” Naser told The Eagle.
The dramatic 15-second video is generating a buzz on Naser’s Facebook page, where it has garnered more than 500 shares and 1,000 views.
“It gets people talking about wildlife,” Naser said.
“Beautiful video, and it brings back a memory,” Steve Rosser wrote in one of the comments. “Years ago I was casting a big frog imitation lure into a little pond at dusk and chugging it across the surface. No luck with the fish but on one cast a big owl (probably barred) came swooping in silently from the trees aiming for that ‘frog.’ I jerked that line hard and hollered and fortunately the owl put on the brakes and took off! Scared the feathers off both of us, I reckon.”
Naser, who lives in Shirley, estimates that she operates more than 40 trail cameras in the north, central and western part of the state. “I’ve lost track,” she said, when asked for the exact number. Her love for nature is a product of her childhood, when she would catch tadpoles and salamanders with her mother behind their house in western Maryland, and take walks in the woods with her father, identifying trees and wildflowers along the way. She began setting up the trail cameras in Massachusetts in 2013.
“Some might say I’m addicted, especially if I told you how many wildlife cameras I own (I lost count years ago),” Naser writes in the “About Me” section on her website, “but for me, it’s a deep passion to document wildlife in its natural habitat with camera traps and share my captures with others, reminding us all that we are part of Nature.”
Since the pandemic hit in March 2020, Naser said she has seen an uptick in people expressing gratitude for her videos, which offer a peaceful escape from what has been a turbulent time for so many. One comment came early in the pandemic from ER nurse, who said the videos were one thing she looked forward to after finishing a shift at the hospital.