Wildlife attraction

A magnificent raven flew down and grabbed itself a nice meal….

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The first visitor was a wary dog fox.  It walked all around the bait but was too suspicious to have a go at the free meal.

In the early hours, just as it was getting light, some crows and magpies came down to pick the bones.  There was some interesting interplay between the two species with the crows appearing to have the upper hand.

Later in the morning after the sun had risen, a magpie returned but was completely dwarfed by a magnificent raven which came down a short time later and flew away with a nice meal.

So in just a few hours we had attracted three Corvid species and seen some interesting behaviour.

Are they out there?

I left the camera in place for another two weeks but still no polecat sightings……

I’m still hunting for the elusive polecat.  My camera was again sited in my neighbour’s field but I moved it to a new location.  This time I placed the camera alongside a mature hedge not far from the area where the polecats were seen.  The polecat’s prey of choice is the rabbit.  So I selected a location with lots of rabbit holes.

Are they out there?  I left the camera in place for another two weeks but still no polecat sightings.  So who knows.  There were lots of images of rabbits, foxes, badgers and songbirds but none of a polecat.  The most interesting footage I captured on this occasion was of a family of crows which happened to be foraging along the hedgerow.  I have captured crows on the camera before but not in a family group.

So although I’m capturing some interesting wildlife behaviour I still have not proven whether there are polecats in the area.  I think I’ll move the camera back to my garden and see if they’re around that area.

Stake-out

Polecats are broadly spread around the UK. Their numbers are very low and one would have to be fortunate indeed to catch a sighting…

A couple of weeks ago while chatting with my neighbour he mentioned that one of his friends was convinced she’d seen two polecats near the footpath which runs into the woods at the back of our houses.  So we agreed that I’d set up my wildlife camera in his field near to the footpath to see if we could capture one on video.

I set up my stake-out with some peanut butter on sticks placed in front of the camera.  If there were any polecats passing nearby, the smell should tempt them to investigate.

The first animal on the scene was a squirrel who promptly wasted no time cleaning up the free meal.

After dark a pair of fox cubs passed through and licked the remaining peanut butter off the sticks.

Later that night, the camera recorded a muntjac doe.  The deer must have caught my scent because although it couldn’t see the camera in the dark it spent some moments checking it out.

Unfortunately, after leaving the camera in place for several days there were no polecats captured on video.  I was not surprised because although a recent survey has shown that polecats are broadly spread around the UK, their numbers are very low and one would have to be fortunate indeed to catch a sighting.  In most cases, the highest proportion of recordings have been of dead animals on the roads.  Having said that, I am not deterred and shall re-site the camera in another part of the field to see if that might be more fruitful.  In any case, the exercise has been worthwhile because the wildlife captured has been great to see.

An Experiment

We put out some bait to see what wildlife would be visiting…

A couple of months ago my son and I thought we’d try an experiment to find out a little more about the wildlife visiting our garden.  So rather than put it in the recycling as we normally would, we used the chicken carcass from our Sunday roast to bait the area directly in front of my wildlife camera.  The experiment proved to be a great success.

First on the scene was a crow.  It made off with a big chunk of meat and came back a few more times before the light faded.

When it was fully dark, the next on the scene was a fully-grown dog fox.  It was very cautious and took its time to check out this unexpected windfall before finally taking the plunge and grabbing the prize.

We thought that would have been the end of the action now that the chicken carcass had been taken.  But we were wrong.  Amazingly, our old friend Limpy, the female fox with an injured foreleg turned up and checked out the spot where the food had been.  We had not seen her for around 10 months.  She had survived the winter and looked in really great condition.  In fact she looked like she had been suckling young.  That would be fantastic if she had succeeded in raising a family.

We left the camera out for the next few weeks checking it for recordings every week or so.  After another month we were excited to see a young fox cub foraging in front of the camera.  Could this have been one of Limpy’s cubs?  Actually, there’s a very good chance that it is one of Limpy’s offspring.  This is because foxes are very territorial and with the previous recordings showing the visits of the dog fox and Limpy occurring within a few minutes of each other, this probably means that they are a pair and the cub is theirs!

Magpie in the sunshine

I recorded a video of a magpie sunning itself..

I recorded a video of a magpie sunning itself.  It fluffed up its breast feathers and crouched down into the grass whilst spreading its wings wide.  This behaviour is well known but this is the first time I’ve seen it.  When the magpie gets up after a few seconds it walks off with its beak wide open.  It doesn’t appear to be panting so I’m not sure why it is adopting this posture.  If anyone has a theory as to the significance of this behaviour I’d love to hear it.

Interesting Fox behaviour

..the fox knew there was a badger close by..

This was some interesting behaviour shown by a Fox which I caught on my camera trap.  It is captured in infrared on a very dark night.  Clearly, the Fox knew there was a Badger close by and did not want to risk revealing it’s presence.  It waited patiently for the Badger to pass by before moving on.