Young Wild Boar trailcam infrared

Young Wild Boar trailcam infrared

For a while the boar left the area as they follow the sweetcorn harvest but over the last week I’ve noticed their scat in the field behind the house. I set up the trailcam in a damp and muddy woodland gully which I know they pass through.

This young boar is calling out and looks particularly ugly. I have a photo of a scarily immense boar but only its head and shoulders. For some reason, the Redleaf HD1000 trailcam often gives ‘file errors’, completely black photos or doesn’t film. As a budget or entry trailcam it’s good to help learn the technique of using a trailcam but it’s not exactly reliable, nor are the pictures of decent quality.

Young Carpathian Red Deer trailcam

This is a young Carpathian Red Deer I picked up on the Redleaf HD1000 trailcam. I can understand its scratching completely as every time I put the trailcam down in that damp, muddy, scat covered gully I come away covered in bites which itch for a week.

Hoopoe

Hoopoe

I know the photo is terrible quality but this really was a spur of the moment event and it’s literally only luck that got the bird in the picture. We were driving through the village when we passed a bird standing by the side of the road. It took a few moments for me to realize it was a Hoopoe (Upupa epops). I slammed on the brakes, put the warning lights on, left the engine running and got out to take a photo.

The bird flew off into a nearby tree. I walked towards it and it flew off again. For several minutes I followed but never had chance for a decent shot. eventually, it settled in a large tree and I could just make out its silhouette through the branches so I snapped one off. I thought I’d been unsuccessful until reviewing the photo later.

We used to have flocks of Hoopoe pass through in early summer on their way North but i haven’t seen any for a while. Maybe this one got left behind when they migrated back south.

Fire Salamander

Fire Salamander

I was out in the forest yesterday after the heavy storm the night before. I couldn’t hear any animals due to the sheer amount of water still dropping from the dense canopy above. However, the forest floor was basically crawling with Fire Salamanders (Salamdra salamandra). The one in the photo was about 5 foot off the floor and in a knoll in a tree, hiding under some leaves. I love these little critters.

Wild Cat and Fox size comparison

Wild Cat and Fox size comparison

A couple of nights back I caught this pair of predators on the trail cam (Redleaf 1000) quite some distance from the house on the forest edge. As can be seen by the vertical white streak in both images, part of the long grass I’d camouflaged the trail cam with got blown down over the lens. It was quite a heavy storm that night so it wasn’t surprising and this does seem to happen quite often….

On the right can vaguely be seen a Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), and on the right a Wild Cat (Felis silvestris). Because of their relative positions, the large size of the Wild Cat can clearly be observed. That’s one scary pussy…

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

I haven’t seen one of these for a while. This European Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa) was under the plastic sheet covering a pile of gravel I have in the garden. Freaky, alien creatures….

Years back, in Portugal, I kept one as a pet and the only thing it wouldn’t eat was a Cicada – but they’re even scarier…..

Pine Marten infra red trail cam

Pine Marten infra red trail cam

We get two types of Marten around the house, the Pine marten (Martes martes) and the Beech Marten (Martes foina); the one in my attic is the Beech Marten. I’ve been trying for years to get a photo of a Pine Marten – I often see them in the forest but by the time I’ve got my camera out of its case they’ve scarpered. I’ve got lots of footage of a dark blur disappearing into the distance.

I’m really getting into the setting of the trail cam in different locations. Locals here often ask me why I don’t hunt (I did when I was young but don’t anymore). For me, taking photos of animals is equivalent to shooting them except they get to live another day. Using a trail cam is very similar to setting a trap as it requires studying the environment and discerning tracks and other information – plus it doesn’t harm the animal. Some times all the signs are there – for example, last night I had the trail cam set up in a perfect wild boar latrine in the forest next to a dry creek bed, surrounded by game trails and wallows, but I caught nothing. The boar must have moved to a different location, for whatever reason. I ended up covered head to toe in bites, from ants, mosquitoes, fleas or some other bug, and both setting the camera up and retrieving it was a very nerve wracking experience because i didn’t know if a large boar would charge me from behind, but it’s quite an addictive adrenaline-filled activity. I’m already planning where to put it tonight – a few kilometres walk across meadow and then deep into the bush, choosing which height to set it at depending on what game i want to ‘trap’… good fun.

Edible Dormouse trail cam

Edible Dormouse trail cam

Most people go to sleep to the sound of traffic and sirens; my family goes to sleep when at the house to the sounds of an entire menagerie of wild creatures a few feet above our heads. The attic is home to a multitude of beasties including quite a few nests of bees, hornets and various wasp species. The constant nocturnal crick-crick of the  larvae of wood boring beetles as they gnaw away the beams, the scratching of the two different species of mice, and the whooshing of the bats. However, I set up a trail cam (a Redleaf RD1000) in order to film the most annoying and destructive resident, the Stone Marten (Martes foina), who has turned my entire attic floor into a giant latrine and who sounds like a man running around when its pursuing mice. The noise and mess it makes are incredible – they’re a common pest to attics out here. Unfortunately, since I’ve been using a new fan to cool off the bedroom, the Marten hasn’t visited, possibly because of the sound. I will get him eventually.

One pleasant surprise I found on the trailcam is an Edible Dormouse (Glis glis), a foot-long rodent which looks something between a squirrel and a chinchilla. Bizarrely, as a defence mechanism, like reptiles (as I’ve witnessed in the garden with slow worms and lizards) they can consciously lose part of their exquisitely bushy tail and regrow it. The locals call these critters plch.

Note – I’ve got much better and clearer IR video footage of the dormouse but I can’t edit it because my graphics card doesn’t support the new codec. Really need to get a new PC….