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Three Foxes (A Camera Trap Post)

So here is a post based on what the blog is named after, a camera trap in Cornwall. I had a lot of chicken pieces left over from dinner and...

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Boxer: The Boxing Day Fox

Last night was boxing day and we had another big meal and yes the camera stayed in place. We had the two cats appear, Tiny and a new fox who we have named after the day he appeared, Boxer.


As you can see from the last film Tiny now has a limp, not good as the illegal hunt comes this way on New Years Day.

Now onto the new fox Boxer. He is a big fox with a few distinctive black areas. 

 

He also has very long legs, almost like stilts and looks a little like the maned wolf. 



Bad news is he too has a limp like Tiny. Lets hope he survives too. 

All our foxes have deformities except for Rommel. Wonder why this is.


Monday, 26 December 2011

All Ears

Last night after a big christmas dinner there was the chicken carcass and a few other left overs promising to be a feast for the foxes (or rabbits as my aunty cant stop calling them for some reason). Hoping to get lots of visitors I fully charged the cameras batteries and put the camera out early.  When I went to collect the camera all the food had gone and I was looking forward to seeing who had been for christmas dinner.

The first shot was a great disappointment, it was the camera falling over. It landed facing at an odd angle.  The only shot that was captured was of a foxes ears and eyes. Looking at it it probably is Tiny, as he has both eyes so is not No-eyes or One-eye, and he is smaller than Rommel. 


I think Barney the cat annoyed that he didnt get a present off us and decided to push the camera over.

Anyway today is Boxing Day and that means another big meal. I hope the camera stays in place tonight and the foxes come for tea.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Funny Pied Crow

Another funny bird, a pied crow. Enjoy


Any suggestions for future birds?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Out of Sync

Today I paid a visit to the bude marshes, a usual hotbed of bird activity this time of year. It all stated quite well with a tiny goldcrest appearing in a tree just inches from where I was standing. However going to the main lake the views where not so good, just a few small teal flocks, about 5-6 lapwing, and a small flock of widgeon. Usually the lake is filed with these species. We carried on around the marshes and saw a small flock of lapwing and oystercatcher.

The main marshland however was deserted, not a single bird on it, well one buzzard and 2 magpies. Usually there are so many migrant birds here that wherever you place your binoculars you are pretty much guaranteed to see a few birds. But nothing today.

Another oddity was fresh new shoots appearing within the marshes.

By now at this time of year redwings are everywhere but as yet I have yet to see a single one.

Nature seems to be a bit out of sync down here at the bottom of the country. What the rest of the U.K is like I don't know.

It will be interesting to see what the coming weeks and months bring our way.

Sorry for the lack of pictures but there was nothing to snap.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Fat for Tiny

Last night we had a really nice ham, one of the best I have tasted, for tea. With a ham there is always a lot of fat left over and you know who likes fat. Thats right, Tiny, just like the steak. He is less nervous now although he did have a bit of a jump to start with disappearing for a while. 


Once he had recovered his wits he decided to return, a good meal being to much to pass up. When he returned he gave us a good view of his tail. Nice and bushy and also in a similar shape to old One-eyes tail. This is what previously led me to think he is her son. 


He stayed for a good while eating his fair share before disappearing into the night. 


But as always a good meal is too good to lave and once he had let the first course go down returned for his seconds a few hours later. He was in such a rush to get back that he came bounding out of the grass to wolf his meal down. 



Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Mange is Back

Today while eating my breakfast I noticed what I thought was another cat. It turned out to my surprise to be a fox who hasn't been around since May time (link). By the time I had put my bowl down, got up, attached my lens to the camera he was gone. He is looking very well just a few signs of mange. His eyes still look a bit odd but it was definitely him. He had the distinct crooked tail. Hopefully he appears on the camera which lately has only been capturing the cat Barney. Sorry for the lack of images here. Better luck next time I hope.

Friday, 16 December 2011

An evening with Simon King

For the last few days I have once again been to Poole in Dorset. I took my camera and didn't take any photos due to the terrible weather. The main reason for going however was to see a talk by wildlife presenter and cameraman Simon King. I really like his work as does my Aunty so she and my uncle bought them-self, my mother and I tickets to go see him. This was by far the best talk I have been too. He was very funny, had lots of great tales and informative. He didn't hide how he felt on some issues such as the badger cull which annoyed some old grumpy farmers. He also gave me some ideas for future photography projects so stay tuned for some more unique angles and ideas here. After the talk he was kind enough to stick around and we had a talk to him getting his signature and a photo with him.

Me and Simon King

While away after taking with my family we have decided we want to set up a birding tour company in South Africa. If anyone has any resources, requirements, tips or information on this it would be much appreciated. Over the Christmas holidays my goal is to find out what is required and how feasible it is so stay tuned for future developments. 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

I.S.S Live

Right time for something new. I have no idea if you will be able to see this but I tested it and it works on my computer. It sort of fits the theme of the blog, but only just. It is science based, and sort of earth based. It is a live feed from the ISS orbiting the earth.

 I previously posted a NASA timelapse from here in a previous post (link). The live view is pretty cool but as it orbits the earth at 90 minutes, which seems incredibly fast, there are times that it is facing the dark side of the world. You can at times though see the lights of cities and such. Also you can hear any audio transmissions live from and to the station. I hope it works for you. Take a look below.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Tiny Like's Steak

So Tiny likes steak. Last night I had a nice big steak for tea and this had a slice of fat on it which I don't like. I put this out along with some left over chicken to see who or what would appear would appear. I put the camera out, this time with a memory card in and retreated to a the nice warm house for the night. THe weather is not nice at the moment here and has been bad for a while so was not expecting much. However when I collected the camera I found over 130 videos of Tiny, not bad considering up until now his record is 6 videos in a night.


It appears the food we have been putting down must not of been his preferred food but steak it seems is his favourite. He stayed for 3 seperate half hour stints through the night with around 2 hours gap between each visit so he must have another food source somewhere. 





At one point he looked up at the night sky as if star gazing.  It made a nice shot, maybe he was looking at the moon which is close to full now.


He got so confident, a sudden change since his last visit, that he had a sit down and yawn and even took a lie down for a while too.





Although you can't see it in any of these videos he did take a lot of food. At one point he was collecting it and placing it all in a pile a little further away. I didn't add any as you would need to see a few and it would be boring compared to these other films. I hope he stays around. He is a nice healthy looking fox with 2 eyes and no problems yet. He looks like he may be quite a good character with a unique personality. 



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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Funny Bittern

Here, since there has not been much else to post is another funny bird. A bitten, or bittern.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

My Mistake

Last night after tea there was plenty of chicken bones for the foxes. So even though it was not nice out, hail and strong wind, I decided to put the camera out too. In my haste to be in the cold for as short as possible I forgot one major part of the camera trap, a memory card. So when I saw the food had gone this morning I was hopeful we would have more videos of Tiny or No-eyes. You can imagine my disappointment as I opened the trap to retrieve the card and found it not there. THe camera does have a small internal memory which allowed it to capture 6 films of Tiny coming and staying for more than just 2 films. However I cannot remember where the lead is for this to transfer directly from the trap to p.c. so you will have to take my word on it. Next time I will remember the important card.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

How No-eyes Survives, (Theory)

In my last post I wondered how No-eyes, the fox, had lasted so long as he is so large and looking healthy. He has no tapetum lucidum, the reflective layer that greatly aids with night vision in mammals. Us humans are also lacking in this layer. If you shine a torch in an animals eyes at night you can see this layer reflect back at you. Aim at a human however and we don't have this effect. 
Now back to No-eyes, he looks healthy but lacks this layer. Looking at the videos more closely you can see he does however have eyes. This makes his night vision like ours, and presumably his day vision is now similar having lost this layer. 
If you watch the videos of him feeding the trees at the bottom of the field are just visible against the sky. This indicates that it is no longer pitch black and starting to become dawn. I think that he must bee a daytime or crepuscular hunter. Crepuscular being dawn and dusk. When I first moved here I would often see a large fox sitting in one of the fields nearby. 
So he appears to be adapting to suit his condition. I hope he stays healthy and is able to avoid the horrible new years day hunt that takes place (illegally) around here. 


Here is the video again so you can see for yourself.



Friday, 2 December 2011

Another New Face

So we have a new fox, Tiny, and last night he came back briefly for some chicken. He is still a wary little fox but he is starting to make a regular appearance which is good.


Last night, well this morning, just before dawn looking at the timestamp and the fact that the trees are faintly outlined against the brightening sky, a new fox appeared. Now i thought Tiny wasn't that small in a previous post and my mother did. After seeing this new guy I stand corrected, Tiny appears as if he is a cub next to this guy.



I thought it was a dog at first glance but quickly realised it was a monster of a fox. He stands level with the camera and took a good share of the chicken. The next video shows the heat rising from his back.


Now on to naming this guy. While looking through the videos i though of long the lines Goliath or something similar. But then He raised his head and showed of a very distinctive feature. Take a look at what it is then guess what I named him. A hint is its a similar name to another of the foxes here.


As you may have noticed both his eyes are missing, but it is hard to tell so take a look at the first video again and see that the eyes don't reflect.. So in keeping with the fox with one eyes name of One-eye this new guy is called No-eyes. He does have eyes but no tapetum lucidum and calling him No-tapetum lucidum is a bit of a mouthful. How he has survived so long in such a good condition and to  such a size I don't know but lets hope he lives for some time yet. He doesn't seem to be suffering either with a good healthy coat. As he left he turned side on allowing his full immense size to be seen.


So two new foxes on the camera to keep watching and getting to know. Lets hope they stick around.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

BBC Photographer of the Month

I just picked up the December BBC wildlife magazine today and while flicking through the pages before reading it and one image stunned me. It was one of my own! In October I entered one of my shots from when I stuck the feeder on my lens (link). I recomend you by it as it has the most stunning image I have ever seen, but seriously it is a good issue featuring the results of the camera trapper of the year which links to the theme of the site.  Im pleased with this as you can expect but i'm not stopping there, soon I will be wildlife photographer of the year (hopefully). 

Here is the image I entered.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Tiny's Return

Well as I said in my last post we have a new fox, Tiny: Thick Brush. I also said I had some chicken left for him. I think its a him as of the shape of the head, its more square than One-eyes is. Anyway I left the chicken out for the group in the hope of catching another glimpse of the new member. During the night we had very heavy rain and strong winds which made me wonder if anyone would brave the conditions.


As you can see Tiny was the only one brave enough, or hungry enough, to go in search of some lunch. He didn't stay too long just around a minute. He seems to be a little wary of the camera at the moment, but then a again so was One-eye and now she takes no notice of it. Speaking of which we haven't seen her for a while and hope she is ok.


Hopefully he will get used to the camera and learn that there is a safe feeding station here for him. So far its promising, two nights in a row. Lets hope he sticks around. 


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Saturday, 26 November 2011

Tiny, The Big Brushed Fox

Last night I had fish and chips for tea and as I don't really like batter I gave this to the foxes. Non of the usual suspects came for tea last night but a new face (maybe this fox from a previous post (Link)) appeared on the scene.

 

He has a very thick bushy tail and I was trying to think of a good name for him for identification purposes along the lines of the brush when I showed the video to my mother.


She thinks he is very small but is disagree and as such she christened him Tiny. So there is a new fox to watch for on the blog, Tiny, along with all the other favourites too. 


Today I had some chicken for luch so there are plenty of chicken bones left over for them. I will put this out now and hopefully we will get some more nice shots of Tiny.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Standing on Top of the World

Today I climbed the highest point in all of Cornwall, Brown Willy. I had previously climbed Rough Tor mistaking that for Brown Willy but on reaching the summit saw Brown Willy across the valley. With time running out I decided to leave it for another day. Today was the day. The peak is 420m (1378ft) high and has great views on Bodmin moor. 

A cairn at the peak
Scattered on the moor land around the two peaks are many of the wild horses of Bodmin. They where in the distance so no photos but it was nice to walk with them around. The slopes in places where muddy from the recent rains which made some parts difficult but mot impossible.

View over Bodmin moor
From the peak all you can see in most directions is natural, no roads or buildings in sight. A rare occurrence in England. Granted in one direction is Camelford and Bude but thats about it. Last time from the first peak the sea was clearly visible but today the visibility was not as great unfortunately. Hopefully on the next visit it will be clear enough to see out to sea.

Rough Tor from Brown Willy
At the peak I tried a new app on my iphone that makes 360 panoramas. Below is one of those views. The weather turned cold at the top and went overcast before we headed home.


View from Brown Willy

Monday, 21 November 2011

Instantwild ZSL Camera-Trapping

Here is a camera trap post for all those of you interested in camera trapping. It is a website set up by the ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and asks for the publics help. I don't know how long its been running but my tutor brought it up in one of the lectures today. Basically there are camera traps set up around the world which are updated on the website. To help researchers the animals are identified by the public. This makes you feel as though you are helping with conservation, which you are. It only takes a second so check it out if you have time (link)
I have just received an iphone and downloaded the app. it allows you to do this wherever you are. If you have an iphone I recommend that version. Download it here (link)
Below are some images from the site following through the process of identification. In the last shot you can see how fraudulent identifications are reduced by going on the highest number of identifications.

Select the trap on the right

Click on the correct species

See what most people think and help science.



Incidentally if anyone else has an iphone and knows of any other good nature or photography based apps please comment and let me know. Thanks :)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Cookworthy Forest

Yesterday my aunty and uncle came to visit for the weekend so as the weather was nice we went for a walk to Cookworthy Forest in Devon. I had always wanted to go as the main road we take to get out of the West Country cuts through the forest. When we arrived I recognised the car park and woodland immediately which means I have been here before but don't remember when. 

Wind damage
I didn't take too many photos as there was not much around. The bad weather had however blow over many of the large trees and pulled up the roots leaving craters in the forest. These had filled up with all the rain we have had recently to create mini water holes. There was a lot of little flies in these.

Up turned tree and pool
We also saw a little bird and couldn't decide what it was. We narrowed it to a bunting of some sort but not the exact species. After placing the image on birdforum (link) it was found to be a female reed bunting

The bunting

Back home at sunset two sparrow hawks settled in the trees across the field. By the time I got the camera out one had flown off. The other left a silhouette in the trees.

Sparrow hawk in a tree

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Don't Fade Away (A Short Film)

Here i a film which I made back on my wildlife education and media degree titled "Don't Fade Away. The film shows the state of the British flora and fauna.  It was the first film I made. looking back the editing is not great and the text overlay is poor but the camera work is ok. After making this I made a few more which you can see here (link). I think I learned from this and also a film workshop we did for a week after making our films.

Monday, 14 November 2011

NASA Timelapse

This is not a video made by me (obvious when you watch it), but its the most amazing example of time-lapse photography I have ever seen. I like time-lapses a lot an like to make my own as you can see in a few of my previous posts but I will never be able to make one like this. Its from the NASA I.S.S (international space center). Enjoy



link here

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Gulls, Gulls, Gulls

 The title may be a Mötley Crüe reference but there was a lot of the black headed gulls about in Bude today. It was a nice day so we took a walk along the beach and down the canal to the marshes. So many that they took a lot of my attention today.

A black headed gull on the canal.

The more observant of you may notice the colours of the head is not black. So why the name? Well in the summer the gulls have a black head. Now in the winter plumage they have only a faint band of black. I much prefer this winter coat.

In a previous post (here) I messed with some long exposure of the owl in flight. Today gave me a great opportunity to try it on the gulls. Below are some examples which I quite like.



Flock of seagulls

As well as the gulls we saw some grey heron perched by the river.

Grey Heron

When walking along the beach we did unfortunately see a dead bird. My curiosity got the better of me, as it always does for some reason when I see a dead bird, and I went to investigate. It was a dead oystercatcer. Below is the image so scroll past if you don't want to see it.









The dead oystercatcher






Ok the dead bird has gone now.

Now to make up for the dead bird I will leave you with this bath that was in one of the fields. It seems as if it is supposed to be used as a trough but looks neglected. Its full of mud which makes me wonder if it is actually Bude's new spa and mud-bath?

The new spa in Bude

Zebra Waxbill

Another one for you all

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

One-eyes Chicken Meal

After not seeing her for a while she is back. One-eye is looking healthy and building up some fat for the winter. Here she is taking a big piece of chicken carcass. Hopefully she will put on enough for the winter and make it to spring. Tonight she is going to have sausages as there is one left from last nights meal, and anything I don't eat tonight.


After eating the big chicken pieces she needed, like most people do, a sit down.


We also are seeing a lot more of Rommel. He was back again if only briefly. Hopefully he will become more of a regular with One-eye. 


He is not so nervous now which is good as we get a good view and he gets a good chance of a free meal. Notice how bright his eyes reflect compared to One-eye. It looks like he has torches as eyes. 




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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Rommel's Raid


The camera is back in action! Last night we had a daring raid by our timid, but massive, fox, Rommel. He usually approaches at a distance for one film and then is gone with no food. However left over toad in the hole seemed to be too much of a temptation.


He slowly approached as usual but then did a head bobbing move as if he was checking out the area. He must have smelt the lovely (but so filling thats why it was out there) toad in the hole. This was his que for uncharacteristic daring.



He moved in, slowly and cautiously, and took his pick of the left overs. He then made a mad dash for it to wherever he goes.




The rest of the meal went to Barney the cat who found it.




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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Dorset Again

Yep I was in Dorset again, and the weather wasn't great. In fact it gave me a chest infection. While fossil hunting at Kimmeridge we didn't let the weather put us off. We were drencehed. We did however find some amazing fossils, pictures soon.

We also visited a place called Arne, an RSPB center. Here there is a large number of sika deer, a species I have never seen. I was worried that we would not see any. I need not have worried, they where everywhere. One was even on the path and walked right up to me. Here I saw many new species, Sika deer, wood ants, a green woodpecker and a special bird the Dartford warbler, incredibly rare. 




Sika behind a tree


Young Sika

We also went to Radipole lake, another RSPB centre, famous for bearded tits. Incorrectly named as they only have a moustache and what I didn't know they are the only member in Europe of the babbler family. We didn't see any but did see a marsh Harrier.

Marsh harrier being mobbed

Little egret long flight exposure

We also fed the foxes in Poole and they came really close. I managed a few good shots. Then the fireworks came and they scarpered.

A beautiful red fox
Well that is all. I doubt there will be anymore updates for a while as I am stuck in the house with this chest infection. Anyway for anyone in the U.K frozen planet, on wednesdays and repeated sundays at 4pm, is an amazing program, I recommend you watch it. Its a David Attenborough one too which adds to the value.




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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Photo Experiments

The owl was back yet again and it was getting dark. I decided to try a long shutter on him to see the effect. It came out with a nice effect which I hope to perfect, or at least get better at. They are a little dark but a wider aperture should help and him being closer, which he does, too.



While walking I also tried zooming on a long shutter in the woods. The effect is quite striking and I hope to get better results on this too.


The last was macro and a narrow aperture to blur the background. This one needs a more interesting subject as the focus, maybe an insect. Unfortunately it is now getting cold and these are harder to find. Maybe when its warmer I can seek out some insect stars.



Friday, 21 October 2011

Three Foxes (A Camera Trap Post)

So here is a post based on what the blog is named after, a camera trap in Cornwall. I had a lot of chicken pieces left over from dinner and some rice so put a bigger meal than usual out. Since there was so much food I thought I would bring the camera out of retirement.  I'm glad I did as we had some foxes, three of them. I'm glad to say One-eye is still around and looking very healthy, infact she has a thicker tail than when I last seen her. 

 

The second fox to appear was a young small fox who has the same look about it as One-eye, except with 2 eyes, and maybe she is her cub?


And finally the return of the big fox Rommel, he is still nervous but very big.



In other news the barn owl has visited everyday this week between 6pm and 6:30pm. 



Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Royal Tern

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Yellow Billed Kite

Another for the collection

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Dusk Owl

The barn owl was back again tonight. He was flying around the field in the twilight. We saw him catch a few items of prey before we lost him to the darkness. As it was so late it was difficult to get any photos. These are the best two of the evening. He was also quite far for the lens I had attached. I hope to see him more and hopefully capture more images too.

The barn owl at dusk

The barn owl again

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Feeder Cam

Today I tried a new idea which I have not seen anywhere else. It was a simple idea with a simple goal, to get a close up shot of a nuthatch. What I had noticed with the birds in my garden was that one of the feeders had a missing lid and the birds where using this to there advantage. They would climb into the feeder, take the food and leave. 
Me filling the feeder
      So what I did was take an old feeder, remove the top and bottom and attache it to my camera. I put my smallest lens in the feeder with a macro adapter to protect it and decrease the distance which the lens focused. I then attached the lens to my camera and placed it on the garden table. The camera was then attached to my mac in the house by a 5m usb cable. Using canons remote window software I was able to snap photos from a distance which did not disturb the birds.

great tit at feeder

    The only thing was that it took a fraction of a second from my pressing the trigger to the image being captured. The sound of this scared the birds so I had to anticipate the movements. These are a few of the good shots. I did manage a sort of nuthatch but not what I was hoping for. Maybe next time.

great tit at feeder

great tit at feeder
blue tit at feeder
And a shot of the nuthatch

Barn Owl (Cartoon)

With all this barn owl activity I thought it was only right to add a barn owl to my collection of bird images.  Here he is.

Friday, 14 October 2011

More Funny Birds

Here are three more funny bird pictures that I have made. I tried these in a different drawing style and personally prefer it. What do you think?






For all the images in one place click here







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Thursday, 13 October 2011

More From The Barn Owls

Today while doing some course work on barn owls I looked out the window to see to my surprise a large bird siting on the washing line. It was a barn owl. I rushed upstairs to grab my camera and managed a few shots before it flew away. The first shot is a little overexposed as I just snapped on the last setting the camera was on. The last two are much better as I managed to change the settings in time.

The colour is odd as its the only way to see what the subject is

Shame the wing is just out

My favourite shot
Owls seem to be everywhere in my life now. 2 months with them in Portugal, my main year long coursework is on barn owls and now they are in the garden. What next?

Comical Birds

I have done some drawings on my computer taking names of African bird species and re-interpreting the names to give a visual representation of what they sound like. Here are the few I have done and I hope to do more as I think of them. Hope you like them and please let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions aswell.

Cape Weaver

Fish Eagle

Knysna Lourie

Rock Kestrel

The last is my personal favourite and i'm not too sure on the Knysna Lourie.