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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...

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Boere Computer Dictionary from South Africa

Just got this in an email from my uncle and thought it was too good not not to post on here. Hope you all find it funny.

Boere Computer Dictionary from South Africa

Keeping an eye on the braai

Get the firewood off the bakkie

Hard drive:
Trip back home without any cold beer

Where you hang the bakkie and bike keys

What you shut when it's cold

What you shut in the mosquito season

What mosquitoes do

What mosquitoes did

Mega Byte:
What mosquitoes at the dam do

A bar snack

Micro Chip:
What's left in the bag after you have eaten the chips

What you did to the lawns

Dot Matrix:
Oom Jan Matrix's wife

Where the cat sleeps

Plastic knives and forks you get at KFC

Real stainless steel knives and forks from Checkers

What eats the grain in the shed

Mouse Pad:
Where the mouse takes the grain it does not eat

What holds the shed up

What spiders make

Web Site:
The shed (or under the veranda)

The old bloke what swears a lot

Search Engine:
What you do when the bakkie won't go

What you say when the bakkie does go

A steep hill

The person at the pub that brings out the lunch

Mail Server:
The bloke at the pub that brings out the lunch

The neighbour that keeps borrowing things

When you have to repair your fishing net

Complicated fish net repair method

When fish manoeuvres out of reach of net

When you get the laundry hung out

Off Line:
When the pegs don't hold the washing up


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Climbing in the Cloud

On Monday after my lecture I decided to climb up Rough Tor, Cornwall's second highest point. It is on my way home from Uni so I am going to aim to climb it once a week. This week Was a bit overcast but with good visibility. You can see this in the photo. I look a little grumpy but am trying to concentrate on taking my own photo.

Before the cloud (peak in the background)

As I neared the top I took in the view and to my horror I couldn't see too far. A big raincloud was rapidly aproaching. It was coming with some speed and it wasn't long before the bottom of the hill was gone. 

Wheres the base gone?

I picked up the pace and decided to head for a cave I had found last time I was here. I got to the cave just as the rain hit. I had brought some lunch and a flask of tea so sat in the cave to let the weather pass. Only it didn't.

Peak after rain hit

The heavy rain did pass but not the cloud and light rain. Sitting in my cave I set my phone to capture a time lapse of the weather. After 20 minutes waiting I decided it wasn't going to clear so packed up my lunch bag and headed down hill. 

It was a little disorientating to start with so I headed to the neck between the two peaks at Rough Tor. From here I followed the slope in a straight line downhill until I reached the lower footpaths. I followed these and got back to the car a bit wet but safe.

Before rain                                                    After rain

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Orca - Dolphin Not Whale (A Rant)

Bit of a rant this post on orcas. First the background.

For those of you in the U.K you may be familiar with the series earthflight. It features some amazing camerawork flying with birds around the world. The only downside is the presenter, David Tennant, of doctor who fame. He constantly sounds bored and has an accent that is sometimes hard to understand. It sounds as if he has been forced to read the script. anyway a trailer can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqCD2RCgq28

Last weeks episode featured on South America. It was a great episode with stunning macaws and giant condors. The program also shows other species which are not birds but theses are not the main focus. This episode featured tapir jaguar and orca.

The program showed the orca which beach in Patagonia to capture sealion. This is the top of my list to see incidently. I was watching the episode with my mother who has become a keen naturalist and is at the stage where she has got past the initial learning and is able to learn alot more. I asked her if she knew what an orca was and she said a whale, which most people would. I explained to her how it was infact the largest species of dolphin. She then said "but its called a killer whale". Before I could explain why Doctor who referred to them as a species of whale. My mother then said they must be whale, he said so. If he had referred to them as killer whale but no a species of whale.

trials of life beach scene. 
After the show I explained to my mother the name came from the fact Orcas kill whales such as the grey whale. Due to the size and people mishearing the name they became killer whales instead of whale killers.

Its bad that the BBC can mis-inform people not in the know. They should give across the correct information. I wonder what else has been given out which is incorrect by the BBC.

Bit of a rant this post but as a zoologist and wildlife educator I think people should know the correct facts so an orca or killer whale is a dolphin not a whale. It is the largest dolphin species and the most widespread mammal after us humans.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Erosion, Oystercatchers and a Snake.

Today after a pointless visit to the job centre who could only offer work experience in supermarkets (not even paid) I went for a cliff top and canal walk. On the field opposite sainsburys supermarket (no work experience here please) was a small flock of oystercatchers. I snapped a photo as I like these birds before a dog, who is in the background in the photo, chased them off. So I carried on onto the cliffs with mother.

The cliffs where very windy and gave a nasty chill. It made the walking a bit more difficult with added resistance. I havent crossed the cliffs for a while and was surprised with what i saw. The cliffs have gone! Well in places it had eroded severely. 

In places the sheer cliffs had formed slopes right down to the beach far below. In places the cliff path has completely gone. While walking I keep a GPS programme which plots your route on. When looking at the route back home I saw that as the map images are old it looked like we where walking far from the cliff edge when infact we were on the edge.  

In places the cliff had opened into wide fissures. 

Further on after the cliff path we walked down the canal. At places a small stream runs alongside. As I had some sheep excrement on my boots and we were going to a cafe I got in and washed them off. In the river I saw what I thought was a dead snake. It was infact alive, just. 

Now snakes as you know are cold blooded which means they gain heat from the surrounds. This one was not moving in an ice cold river not too far from sunset. I decided it was not going to survive in the cold river especially if it freezes. I carefully removed him and you could she the cold had affected him as he hardly moved. I decided that just incase he had been in the river intentionally I would put him on the bank where he could either get warm and leave or return for a bath. Im no expert in snakes, i do know a puff adder, boomslang, cape cobra and  molesnake but they are south african species. Here we have grass snake, adder and a lizard with no legs the slow worm. Its not a slow worm and don't think its an adder. It may be a female in the brown though. If anyone thinks its not a grass snake please correct me.

When I lifted him out and I saw his jaw looked a bit odd. Snakes can dislocate there jaws to swallow food so this may be what happened but whether the grass snake does I don't know. He did have a bulge in his body which could have been a mouse. This may also be why he was in the river, attacking his prey then being in the river got too cold to get out. Who knows?

Anyway after a nice tea in the cafe we walked past him and he had started to move into the vegetation. I hope he does well.

Thats all for now and as I said in a previous post my camera trap is currently in South Africa.

Stay tuned for hopefully some photos from there.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Driving Home

So I have been away to London but I am back now. I haven't really got anything to post and my camera has taken a holiday to South Africa for a few weeks for with my aunty and uncle so hopefully we will have the first camera trap images on the blog from South Africa in a few weeks. 

In the meantime the weather today was icy but on my way home from University the sky was a nice winter colour and cloudless so I decided to give my phones time-lapse function a try. The results are quite well, better than I expected so I will use it more often.

The film I made was part of my drive home. It only goes halfway home as it got too dark for the camera to take photos. You can see some of the route I drive twice a week and the variety of landscapes I pass.

Its a bit like a roller-coaster but its only because it is sped up.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Sardine Run: The Great Feast

I don't think I have done a post on this although it is under my wildlife films tab at the top of the page. It is a film I put together whilst on my first visit to South Africa in 2009. I was fortunate enough to take a road trip from north of Cape Town on the west coast in Langebaan to the far east in Port St Johns. 

The goal was to go and see the sardine run that happens once a year when a cold finger of water from the Agulas current from the Antarctic brings nutrients up the east coast. This brings the sardines in. As the finger extends it narrows trapping the shoals close to land and eventually stops at a dead end. 

Sea predators from all over come for the feast ranging from great white sharks to gannets, from fur seals to orcas, and humpback whales to the rare brydes whale.

Orcas come not for the fish but the mammals who themselves are feasting. The pick off unsuspecting dolphin and fur seal. The other predators ignore each other and focus on the fish.

My film does not have orca or great whites unfortuanetly. There are no sharks in the film but I did see bronze whaler sharks and bull sharks. 

Cape gannets are the real stars diving from great heights.

The common dolphins work as a team herding the fish into a tight ball form which everyone feeds.

There is also a guest appearance from the brydes whale (pronounced brew-da).

I hope you like it, its a little shaky as its all handheld from a dingy.

Sardine Run: Port St.John, South Africa, June 2009

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Hunt is on.

I was wrong the hunt was not called off just changed. The illegal fox hunt just passed this way. Please report these monsters if you saw anything here: http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=122&ea.campaign.id=12419

Sunday, 1 January 2012

No Hunt

Good news everyone the hunt didn't happen. If you recall in previous posts I was worried about our foxes surviving an illegal new years day hunt. Well for some reason it never happened and the foxes are safe. Just wanted to get the good news out there.

What to Expect in 2012

So 2011 is done and dusted and 2012 has arrived. This year from this blog you can expect all the usual content and updates on the characters who appear at night and a random sprinkling of wildlife photos and stories as well as some new things. 

Tiny with food

I have a few months left on my Zoology degree and by June I will be a qualified zoologist. I will see if I can find a way to put up my dissertation on barn owls up here incase anyone is interested once it is complete.

Boxers back

And now for the new stuff. I will be doing a course called the FGASA sometime this year which allows me to become a guide in South Africa. Once I have obtained this I am going to set up a nature tour business on South Africa's West Coast. So expect this blog to slowly change come July to an African Blog.

Boxer running off

So all that remains is to wish you all a happy new year.