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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...

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Foxes Found

I am now back on Pudding island and have had the camera up in the field by the house. The rain has been terrible so I havent been out and about but did place the camera out. There was a fox on the camera and I captured a few shots. Here is the best one. 


The fox is not very nervous so I think it has been around for a while, probably one of the years cubs who have claimed here for themselves. It appears to be a new one so keep an eye here to see more about this fox who hopefully stays around.

Also I captured this little video of a squirrel and magpie together feeding off the foxes leftovers the next day. They are always in the garden and great fun to watch.


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A Cheetah Wakes Me Up

Read about what happened when a cheetah walked into camp one morning as we slept.
Here: http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/a-cheetah-wakes-me-up.html

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

I'm Back

There has been no updates here for a while but I am now back in the UK so expect some content soon. As for now check my other blog on africa where I am starting a series on my adventures traing as a field guide. The first post is up so check it out here: http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/im-back.html

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Flower Power

Its Spring and still flower season here. Check out what it looks like:

http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/flower-power.html

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Snake by the Pool

Saw a snake by the pool. I cannot identify it 100% so any snake experts out there please take a look:

http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/snake-by-pool.html

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

3d Francolin

3D francolin without 3D glasses
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/3d-francolin.html

Friday, 7 September 2012

Ant-Bear

Footage of an aardvark or ant-bear that I captured
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/an-ant-bear.html

Friday, 31 August 2012

Hopper

Saw a big grasshopper today:
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/hopper.html

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Monkeys!

There are lots of monkeys about. Check them out below:
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/monkeys.html

Monday, 27 August 2012

Of Dodos and Coelacanth

My trip to East London museum was well worth it. Check out why here:
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/of-dodos-and-coelacanth.html

Friday, 24 August 2012

Def(initely) Leopard

Check out my awesome leopard footage here:
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

How to set up a Camera Trap

Check out how I set up my camera trap and a few African species here:
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday, 17 August 2012

Spiders!

Some of the South African spiders
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Boomslang!

I nearly stood on a boomslang! So picked it up instead.
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Holey Moley

I saw a mole
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.com/

Monday, 6 August 2012

Stuck in the Mud

The mud took our truck
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.com/

Monday, 30 July 2012

Cape Clawless Otter

Cape clawless otter encounter at Cape St Francis.
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Floods!

Blog post on the extreme floods here in South Africa
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/blue-atlantis-escape.html

Floods!

Blog post on the extreme floods here in South Africa
http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/blue-atlantis-escape.html

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

South Africa: Post 1

Check out my new post on my South Africa Blog at http://zoologistinafrica.blogspot.co.uk/

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Widemouth Timelapse

Another quick timelapse this time of Widemouth bay (pronounced Wid-Muth). The rain came over so I sheltered in the back of my dads van. Notice the patch of ground under the volvo on the right change as it leaves and the rain coats the surface.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

HDR Timelapse Test

Having downloaded magic-lantern for my canon 600d last week I have been messing with the setings. Previously I tried a timelapse of a closing vygie. Today I tried a short HDR time-lapse of the hedge and sky. When exporting the quality decreases. Anyone know of a exporting process to keep the quality high? The video is below.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

New South Africa Blog

As I have been saying on here for a while I am leaving for South Africa soon. As such I have started a new blog for my South Africa trip. You can view it here (link). I will use the 2 sites to keep content separate and appropriate to where it is. Take a look and expect content soon.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Vygie Time-lapse with Magic Lantern.

Haven't uploaded anything for a while as nothing worth mentioning has happened. I did download a program called magic lantern for my Canon EOS 600d (link). It adds a lot of features such as motion capture, trap focus, HDR images and auto timelapse. I gave this a quick try and was pleased by my first attempt. A closing vygie. THe camera auto exposes to reduce flicker between shots. It works best on wide landscapes so there is a little bit of flicker on my film below. I am getting used to the functions before heading to South Africa.


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Badger is in Charge

I haven't posted any camera trap videos for a while so I thought today as it is raining out I would show you something. Our big fox Diamond Socks has had his name shortened to Diamond, for no reason. I haven't seen Flash the badger in a while until last night. He is the boss here as you will see from these next two clips. No one messes with him, not even big Diamond. 


As you can see Diamond tenses up and even starts to go submissive before jumping out the way as Flash just walks up to the food. He doesn't even have to bother chasing the competition away, they just flee. Diamond has a look while Flash is eating but decides to go find somewhere else to eat.



I have a few more films to upload soon.


.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Feeder Cam Number 2

The other day my dad found an old web cam which I had wanted to put indide the bird box. As there are now a family of blue tits with young in the box (who I can here when I go past it) this is no longer an option. Instead the camera was put on some of the feeders. The quality isn't great as its an old camera but the images are nice anyway.

To join the camera to the computer a 5m usb extender was used allowing the images to be taken from in the huse and not disturbing the birds. This is not the first time I have taken close ups of birds on feeders. Last attempt was from inside the feeder (Link) and won me BBC photographer of the month (Link). I dont however think that these will be winning any prizes.

Female chaffinch looking away

Goldfinch enjoying some nyger seed

Female house sparrow looking the right way

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Hovering Buzzard

Its been a bit quiet on here for a week as there has not been anything of too much interest on the camera except for the regulars eating. No special or unusual behaviour worth posting. I did however see an unusual sight from my front room the other day so I grabbed my camera and made a short film. It was a buzzard hovering. It kept doing it so it wasn't a one off action. In fact I have seen him now numerous times in the week hovering. Its unusual for such a big bird to hover.

If anyone else has information on hovering buzzards please let me know.

 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Honey for the Badger

I have been too Poole and London last week so there where no posts. Today here are some videos captured from before I went away but had not uploaded.

The food we put out was what was left in the fridge before going away covered in honey. The foxes, Othereye and one now named Diamond Socks due to the diamond markings on his feet, enjoyed the hone and by the looks of it so did Flash the badger.


In the next clip if you look in the background you can see Diamond Socks lingering. There where other videos of the two feeding but I decided not to upload as they take a long time to upload. Flash seems to be struggling with the honey sticking to her.


And finally Barney raising her hair as Diamond Socks takes some food from in front of her.


In other news I finished my BSc Zoology degree today. I now just have to wait until August for the results but I feel positive.

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Three Foxes

In my last post on Flash I said there was a new easy to distinguish fox, well here is that fox. This fox reminds me of my favourite fox, Oneeye, how you can see here (link). The reason for this is obvious when you watch the clip.


This fox has been christened Othereye. This is simple because the eye missing is different to Oneeye. I thought at first it was Oneeye. Then I saw how big this one was and the wrong eye was missing.



Othereye is already very confident. Here in the next clip he snaps at a passing fly. I like to think this one is related to Oneeye who was also very confident but I have no evidence to base this on. I would like this new guy to stick around to get to know him better.



Two other foxes also visited, this one, who I watched out the window with my nightvison scope. He is fairly confident too. I cant see any way to distinguish him or her yet but if it sticks around hopefully I will.



This next one was only present for one clip in the msit. The coat seems very dark, almost black. I have seen about black foxes being found in the UK on T.V. Maybe this one is. If it comes back hopefully we can get a better view without the mist.



Sunday, 13 May 2012

An Old Face: Back in a Flash

After the disappointment f next doors garden from my last post I decided to return the camera to its normal location at the end of the garden. This time I was not disappointed. There was plenty of activity out there last night. A new fox as well as an old face turned up. This post is on the old face, Flash the badger.

For those who don't know Flash is a badger with a white stripe above his (or her as you will see) left eye. You can read more on Flash here to catch up (link).

This first video is of her running up to the garden. You can see she is steaming, as always. She probably crosses the river to get to here each night. It seems an excessive amount of steam to be coming off her. If anyone else has badgers do they see this steam? It is on her all the time.


The previous video shows it is her by the small white stripe over her left eye. I don't know if by uploading the video the quality has been reduced or not. Trust me though if you cannot see it, it is there.

She enjoyed the treat of bread and honey (a honey badger!) and you can hear her sniffing around the camera in the next clip.


This last clip shows how you can tell she is a she. Her teats are full meaning she has cubs (or kits as they are also know) somewhere nearby. Hopefully before June we may see them. Its good to know that there are more badgers around not only Flash.


Thats all from Flash tody. Its good to have her back. My next post, scheduled for tomorrow, is about the foxes from last night. There is a new fox with a distinguishing feature similar to my favourite fox. Find out what it is in the next post.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Next Doors Garden

In my last post I mentioned That I had put the camera in next doors garden as I heard some foxes out there. Today I went to pick the camera up after a week of it being in the field. I was disappointed to find only one capture the whole time. Well a few captures happened in the heavy rain, so heavy the camera picked the rain up as motion. The only thing was captured was a lone red fox rushing past the camera. 

The plants grew so quick out there so they may have covered the sensor. You can see from a video of just after I set it up how low the plants are. The second video showing the fox (blink and you will miss him) you can see how high the plants are. They where even higher today when I collected the camera.


Low plants

Quick fox and high plants

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Spider Nest

The other night in the garden next door the foxes where very vocal. It sounded like they may have had cubs. So today I asked my neighbour if I could put the camera in the bottom of her garden by the river. I choose an area by the river by a game trail. If the foxes don't show hopefully something will, maybe even an otter. 

As I was putting my welly's away in the shed I noticed a nest of tiny yellow spiders. I got my USB microscope out and did a small recording of the nest. They spiders are a nice bright yellow colour. I like to see all sorts of nature and this was a nice new sample to record.

If you don't like spiders then don't watch as there are a lot of them in a bundle.


I will get the camera at the weekend leaving it for a few days and load anything that it sees on here.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Road or River?

Today I was going to put up some more footage from the camera trap but instead I have something else. The weather when I got up was nice and sunny but by midday the heavens opened and the rain fell more heavy than I have seen it here before. The front garden was flooded and the road was turned to a river with a water fall. I wrapped my camera in a plastic bag and went out into the lane. You can hear the rain falling on the camera and see the flood. This was only after an hours rain. 


I have more footage from the Bushnell to load up here so they will be up soon. Plenty to show of the foxes.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Funny Birds: Yellowhammer

Just a short post. Here is another funny bird to add to the collection. (Link)



Friday, 4 May 2012

They Keep On Coming

The camera was back out again this time on my preferred mode of video (with audio). No badger last night unfortunately but there where two foxes, the same shy one from the other night and a big gut maybe Rommel or Boxer. As I said in my last post the characters should start to emerge and identification of individuals will be possible. So for the next month and a half fox watch is back on and hopefully some old faces will show up.

The last video is of a magpie at first light. You can hear the dawn chorus in full flow. Compared to the video from the other day (link) which had the dusk chorus you can see how loud and varied the dawn calls are.



Still nervous.

The big guy.

Listen to the dawn chorus, I can id, robin, blackbird, chiffchaff and great tit on there as well as many others I don't know. 

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Picture Perfect

 Well the video mode works on my new Bushnell as seen from yesterdays post and so I thought I would try out photo mode. I put the camera onto photo mode on 8mp to see the quality and put it on the fence overlooking the field in its usual spot.


The first visitor last night was a familiar one, Barney, the barn cat. I haven't seen here in the daylight for a while so thought she had finally gone home but no she is still about. She is looking very well and a bit fat. maybe her owner overfeeds her. I don't like her being around here in the day as we are starting to have the baby birds in the garden now.


Barney sniffing around
Next up was the fox who was filmed the night before. He only stayed around briefly and as seen by the video is a nervous little guy. I'm glad he is wary of us as some of the farmers around here are not too nice to foxes. The farmer who owns the field here is friendly to foxes and lets them feed from his apple trees too. I hope to see more of him in the coming weeks.

Shy little guy


The only problem with nocturnal creatures is they are out at night and only caught on infra-red images which show no colour. However this morning after the sun had come up one of the foxes on his way home for the day stopped by for one last snack before bed. Its nice to be able to see the orange brown colour of the coat rather than a white image.


A red, red fox

The field is home to a small flock of six sheep. This morning one of them noticed something new to look at. My camera proved only a passing interest for this guy before he moved off to find something more interesting which he could eat.

Close up on a sheep
I prefer to see the animals captured moving so from now on its mostly video mode. expect plenty more films to follow. I will try an identify the individuals coming and going like I used to when One-eye was around.


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

In Your Own Words

Just a quick post. I have now added a translate option at the top of the blog. Now people of different languages can read my blog in their native tounge. There is a whole range on there from Afrikaans to Welsh. If anyone tries this feature can you let me know if it is any good?

Top left of the blog, just select your language from the list.

Cameratrap: Back in Action

After the problems I had with the keepguard camera I ended up going for the more well know make, the bushnell. This arrived yesterday and after testing it out last night I am pleased with it. I am also pleased to see we still have our nocturnal visitors around. 

I set the camera up while it was still light as I was excited to use it. I captured a few shots of the magpies feeding before they returned to roost. A nice feature on this camera that my old one didn't have is a microphone. On the first video you can hear the dusk chorus in the background. 


This next video is of one of the most regular nigh time visitor species, a red fox. I can't identify him as one of the old regulars, partly because I haven't seen them for a while and also as this one has no distinguishing features. He is a bit shy and nervous so he didn't stay around too long.


Our final visitor was the badger. I hope this is Flash although I didn't get a good enough view to confirm this. hopefully over the next few nights he will return to confirm or disprove this. With the badger you can hear him snuffling around looking for something good to eat. I like this new feature and cant wait to see what else is captured to listen to.



So its back to camera trapping for the next 2 months. Come July the camera and me will be in South Africa capturing some different wildlife footage.
Enjoy.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

A Bustle in the Hedgerow

Yesterday my cameratrap came from China after a 2 month wait. I was really excited and put the camera out last night to see who was still around. I was really disappointed when I got the camera in this morning to see that the camera had been triggered constantly. The same problem as it had when it was sent back. I tried the camera indoors hoping it was the wind false triggering it. The same problem occurred inside. I tried different batteries, nothing, different SD card, nothing. I suspect the camera I got back was my old one as the serial is the same. I would not recommend this product which is a keep guard.  


Anyway here are some images I captured with my SLR in the garden today. We have 2 families of robins in the garden and this was bound to lead to trouble. Today it did . One robin attacked another and an almighty scuffle ensued. They really went at each other. In the end they both survived and flew off. 

Peck to the face

Looks like he is about to slap him.


Flying kick
This looks to me like a rugby tackle.

Anyway don't buy a keep-guard camera. i am looking at other options now so will hopefully again be back camera-trapping soon.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Squirrel Feeder

A few weeks ago my dad and I built a feeder for the squirrel as he has already destroyed one of the bird feeders. The design is a simple box with a perspex front filled with peanuts. The lid is hinged so only the squirrels can open the box and all the peanuts are not taken by the birds. 


To get the squirrels used to the box the lid was left open. They still couldn't work that the box had food and just used it to climb to the bird feeders. So down came the bird feeders and they worked the box out straight away.
Below is a sequence of shots showing the squirrel using his food box.

Lifting the lid.

He really wants the food.
Eating his food

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Theres A Hedgehog On My Drive.

I havent updated here for about a week now as I have been, and still am busy preparing for a presentation I need to give for part of my course on Monday. I will resume normal service soon but I have a other presentation in May so there may be a slow down then too. Anyway onto this posts subject, a hedgehog.

Close up of spines
 When going out the other day I saw a hedgehog curled up by the bins that had been put out for collection. I left him there as the bin men were not due for a few days. By the time I got home he was gone. Yesterday when going for a walk he was on on the front driveway hunched under the gate.

Hind foot.

He was sitting on an ants nest maybe to clean himself in much the same way as jays do. He looked very comfortable and well.

Under the gate.
He allowed me to take these images before I left him rest in the sun. They are just emerging from winter here and this is the first I have seen all year.

Happy hog
You can see in the previous image his large front claws. These guys have a lot of defence against predators but not cars unfortunately.

Looking at the next image you can see how they are called "hogs". I have never noticed before but they do have a very pig like face especially when scrunching it up.

Hog face.
In other news I have had an email saying my cameratrap is on the way from china. It may take a few weeks to arrive but I cant wait. Expect the results of the camera up here.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Monkey World and Blashford Lake: Not An Expensive day

In my last post I complained about Brownsea island and the constant fees we needed to pay. Today comes the praise for monkey world. Unfortunately I didnt take my camera here so no photos of the monkeys and apes. There will be image of birds though.

The value for money: Monkey world. (link)

Monkey world for those of you who have not heard of it, it is a sanctuary carrying out work much like the born free foundation. The centre takes in mistreated monkeys and apes for circuses, zoos, pets, research labs and pretty much anywhere they are mistreated. All money donated goes straight to the monkeys and apes.

The primates are integrated into one of the many groups at the ceter. They are tried with a range of groups until they settle in with one. It is good to see that these poor primates can have a good life after being treated so badly.

Its very good value for money, just £11, less than most zoo's and the work done there is important. I would definitely recommend a visit.

The rest of the weekend: Blashford Lake: (link)

We also visited Blashford Lakes as we had heard of an osprey sighting there. We unfortunately did not see it but did see a range of water birds including an Egyptian goose. We didnt stay long due to the poor weather. There where lots of walks so hopefully I will go back and see some more.

Tufted Duck

Egyptian Goose

Lapwing

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Brownsea Island's Red Squirrels and Scouts: An Expensive Day.

Last week I was once again in Poole, Dorset for Easter. This week we had 2 goals, to see red squirrels, a new species for me, on Brownsea island and visit monkey world rescue centre.  One was worth the money while one was a rip off. Brownsea was the rip off although we saw a wide range of great wildlife. Monkey world was very good and worth the money. 

Red squirrel in a tree.

First the rip off story: Brownsea.
We looked on the internet site which said there was parking available but when we arrived the car park had changed allowing a maximum stay for 1 hour. Not very good for a place which needs a few hours to see. So we dropped my aunty and uncle off and drove to the next nearest car park about 10 minutes walk away. The cost was £10.50! We didn't pay and went back to pick my aunty and uncle up but as we arrived the where in the ticket queue. I jumped out the car and was faced with traffic boarding a ferry to Swanage so had to wait for it to pass. By this time it was too late and they had bought 4 tickets at £5.75 return so we went and paid for the car park.

A leaping red
We got on the boat for a 2 minute crossing to the sland. The staff where unfriendly and acted as if we owed them something. On the boat we where told that the price did not include entry to the island so we had to hand over £5.60 each. We went around and here are the positive points to the day. We spotted a spoonbill, unusual for the U.K. We also saw a firecrest displaying in bright orange "traffic cone" colours. We saw a dartford warbler, only my second sighting. And of course the red squirrels. We saw at least 2 maybe 3 as we lost sight of one for a while before spotting another.

Two red's
On the island was a separate reserve which we where not warned about until we got to the gate. This require a further entry fee which we didn't pay instead we carried on on the part we had paid for. Brownsea is the birthplace of the scout leader Baden-Powell. Unfortanetly if this is why you visited the island you will be disapointed. The building he was born has no public access and you can only just see the roof of it. In the Baden-Powell information centre the staff had no idea. We asked them simple questions and they couldn't answer so we left. On the back to the ferry a scout group was walking to the campsite except they didn't carry any equipment. This was put in a trailer behind a fire engine and transported to the camp for them. What Baden-Powell would think of this who knows but I don't think he would be happy.


All in all we saw what we went for and 3 other spottings which would be great on there own but it came at a very expensive cost. I would not recommend here unless you where very desperate to see a red squirrel. 

My next post will be about monkey world and the rest of the week. this post was longer than anticipated.



Monday, 2 April 2012

Wall Lizards: A Follow up to my Last Post

After yesterdays blog post on lizards I did some research. It seems that the green lizard I saw was indeed not a sand lizard. It is not even a native species in britain. It is an introduced species called a wall lizard (Podarcis muralis). It turns out dorset is a good place to see them and the beached area and chine we went to is on of the main sites for them. There are currently around 20,400 individuals in 46 sites around the uk. THis is a new species for me in the U.K which does not happen too often.


A distribution map can be seen here (link)

Also this post was written 20:12 hrs GMT on 1/4/12. I am trying an option to see how the "scheduling post" works .

Sunday, 1 April 2012

More Lizards

This last weekend I went back up to Poole again to carry on to the Chew Valley Bird fair. At the bird fair I tried out a few binoculars and was so impressed by the new Zeiss Conquest HD that I got a pair of the 10x42's.

Before the fair and still in the Poole area we took a walk down to one of the chines. A chine is a steep-sided river valley where the river flows through coastal cliffs to the sea. On the way down in the wooded area I noticed a lizard. He was much bigger than the sand lizards I had seen the other week on the cliffs (link). This one was also green. I don't know if this was a different species or just a different colouration of the sand lizard. Anyone know?

Not much else to report on with the camera still waiting to arrive.




Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Hard to Swallow

Down on the marshes there is a grey heron who is usually around the main lake. He was there the other day and had caught something he was struggling to swallow. On looking through my binoculars I saw that he had caught an eel and was a bit confused as to what to do. I got the camera out and snapped away at the events to follow.

The eel wrapped itself around the herons beak and thrashed around so much that the heron dropped it on the ground.  The eel tried to make a mad dash for the water but before it could even get to the waters edge the heron scooped it back up. He managed to get the eel, tail first down his throat. 

Swallowing a live animal, particular an eel tail first is not a good move. It allows the animal to move around and head for freedom. The eel succeeded and emerged from the herons beak like a giant tongue. After much more struggling the heron managed to turn the eel around head first and swallow it. It never came back up a second time.

I have seen grey herons capture prey items which I would not normally have seen. This one with the eel, one at Radipole lake in Dorset caught a water vole, and in Portugal one caught a crayfish. All three prey species where new sightings. Its worth watching these birds to glimpse a new (but about to be eaten) species

Capturing the eel 

Dropping the eel

Turing the eel around

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Spring has Sprung

First off in a previous post (here) I mentioned about collecting teasel for a classic goldfinch shot. Well the other day I was sitting inside and one started to feed on one which I had filled with nyger seed. I only had my medium lens handy and it was through a window but I got a shot of one on the teasel. Soon I hope to get a clear shot with my long lens.

Goldfinch on teasel
 Back to today now and spring has arrived all in one day. I woke up to a hot sunny day and had breakfast in the garden. While out here I heard the first chiffchaff of the year calling away. The buzzards where also active circling close overhead.

Buzzard overhead

As such a nice day has been rare this year we made the most of it and took a long walk down the country lanes then the canal followed by the beach and more lanes. Lots of signs of spring where around and other species which do not signify spring, they are year long residents, where around.

Pied Wagtail on the weir.
 On reaching the beach we stopped for a lunch of sandwiches and fruit. In one of the dried up rock pools was a starfish. He was drying up so I moved him into a bigger water filled pool. After a few minutes in the water he uncurled and stared to move around.

Starfish in the water
 Further along near the tall sea cliffs we saw for me the real introduction to spring, the return of the martins and swallows. Today I saw a few house martins flying around after the long flight form the African Continent. Soon there will be lots of these little birds as well as sand martin, swallows and swifts.

The first martin of the year
There where also a lot of butterfly species out today and ladybirds. The butterfly species we saw where painted lady, cabbage white, tortoise shell and the one below, a peacock.

You can see why it called a peacock from its large "eyes" on its back. These are not eyes but just a coloration much similar to a peacocks in design but the purpose is different. A peacocks eyes are for displaying to a mate while the butterfly uses them to scare off birds who think they are the eyes of a larger creature.

Peacock butterfly
So spring is here and hopefully the weather will stay nice for a little while more.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Bird in the Bag

Today after hail and rain there was a break in the weather and the sun came out to we went to try and find the stoat. We unfortunately didn't see him as it was busy on the canal. 

We carried on walking and didn't see any wildlife so went to the sea cliffs. Here the gulls and fulmars are back and ready to lay eggs.

As we neared the end of the walk we came back to the canal and saw something not too good. A gull trapped in a plastic bag. 

the gull in a plastic bag 

His head and wings where through and he was flying around so we couldnt help him. He had other gulls pecking the bag so hopefully they will tear it and free him. His legs are trapped inside so he cannot land safely so may be stuck in the air until he tires or the bag falls off. 


his legs are trapped
You often see turtles, not here, tangled in plastic bags but I have not heard of a bird stuck in one.

Friday, 16 March 2012

BBC Camera Trap Competition

Just had an email from the bbc about a camera trap competition. Camera trap codger (link here) has also posed about this. Below is the press release sent to me.




PRESS RELEASE 16 March 2012
Caught on camera: Global search for the BBC Wildlife Magazine Camera-trap Photo of the Year 2012 begins

BBC Wildlife Magazine launches its 2012 Camera-trap Photo of the Year competition today, kicking off its annual search for the most exciting and revealing camera-trap images captured around the world.
The competition, sponsored by the World Land Trust and Páramo, is open to anyone working on a research or conservation project that uses remote camera technology. This year also sees the competition opened up to keen amateur photographers for the very first time, with the launch of a new British Wildlife category for anyone experimenting with remote cameras in the UK.
Entrants to the BBC Wildlife Magazine Camera-trap Photo of the Year competition can submit a maximum of 12 camera-trap images into any of the four categories:
Animal Portraits - Images taken during the course of your research which capture the character or spirit of their subject.
Animal Behaviour - Images captured during the course of your research which show interesting or unusual behaviour.
New Discoveries - Images should show something new to science, such as a species never before photographed in the wild or outside its known range, or behaviour never before recorded. The caption must make clear what the discovery is.
British Wildlife - Images must be taken in the British Isles by amateur photographers.
Sophie Stafford, Editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine, commented: “Remote camera technology is an increasingly important tool in conservation efforts and is helping to unravel the secrets of rare and secretive species around the world and close to home. This year, in response to reader feedback, we are delighted to invite amateur photographers to enter their photos of British wildlife. I can’t wait to see the results.”
The winner of each of the three ‘research’ categories will be awarded £1,000 for their project. The overall winner will be chosen from one of these three winners and their project will win an additional £2,000.
The winner of the British Wildlife category will win a top of the range Páramo Halcon jacket worth £310. The winners, up to three runners-up and up to six commended images in each category will be published in the December 2012 issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine and in a gallery on the BBC Wildlife Magazine website, www.discoverwildlife.com.Entry is online at www.discoverwildlife.com/competitions, and all photos must be submitted by the closing date of 13 July 2012.
For competition rules and further information on how to enter, see the April issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine on sale 17 March 2012, or visit www.discoverwildlife.com/competitions


For all media enquiries, please contact:
Carolyn Wray Press Office | Immediate Media Co 0117 3148812 | carolyn.wray@immediate.co.uk

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Stoat-aly Awesome

All week we have had fog which has been good and bad. Good that I have been kept indoors working on my assignment. Bad that I have been kept indoors and cant see further than the bird feeders. Yesterday the fog cleared and the sun came out although today the fog is back in force. 

We decided to make the most of the sun and headed to Duckpool beach and forest. In the forest we heard lots of buzzards and even saw a lovely yellow coloured bird, the grey wagtail. You could easily think that this was the yellow wagtail from its coloration. When you see a yellow wagtail you realise that it is completely yellow while the grey is only half yellow.

Grey Wagtail
 After coming home for lunch in the garden and getting the summer table and chairs out we watched the goldfinch and other little birds. we thought it would be nice to find some dried teasels and fill them with niger seed. This will hopefully produce the classic image of a goldfinch on a teasel.

We walked down the canal where we thought they may be and found some. On returning home I saw what I though was a rat under a bench but as we approached we saw it was a friendly stoat. 

Peeping over the edge

He wasn't bothered by our presence and was scurrying around while we sat on the bench. He only hid when someone walked past with a dog.


He was really small, the smallest stoat I have seen yet. Its surprising that such a little animal hunts rabbits.  In scale it would be like a border collie taking on an elephant.


under the bench

I decided to film him a little too and you can see how close he came to us.




It was nice to see him and hopefully we will see him again.