Saturday, 28 February 2015

Bird of the week - Lesser redpoll

Despite their names the lesser redpoll (Acanthis cabaret) is much more common than the common redpoll.  I haven't seen as many in the garden this winter as last but they have been here every day in this month, although mainly in ones and twos.  Their scarcity this year is probably related to there being plenty of natural food for them - birch, alder and conifer seeds are favoured.  (I haven't seen any siskins here, presumably because of the bumper Sitka spruce crop last autumn.)

Lesser redpolls range in colour from onlyslightlyorangepolls to gloriously pink-flushed birds, with their colour developing as spring approaches.

Listen to Sir David Attenborough's BBC Tweet of the Day on lesser redpoll here.  Read more about lesser redpolls on BTO BirdFacts here and on BTO BirdTrends here.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Night-time trail camera - Badger

Using the trail camera is exciting because I never know what I have caught until I transfer the photos to the computer. After seeing the single otter and then a pair of otters on the ice at Big Waters I have been trying to get a photo of an otter at night.  No success so far but I did get this photo of a badger.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Night-time trail camera - Fox

Some fox pictures from the trail cameras in the woods.  I have mainly been targeting the badgers recently but have picked up several fox photos as well.  I sometimes see a fox when I go in late to set up or early to collect the cameras but I haven't seen a badger out and about at dusk or dawn.

Here is the fox on the log bridge.  Just like the badger, it is facing the wrong way!  These two photos are 20 minutes apart and the fox didn't come back across the bridge in between - or at least, if it did the camera didn't see it.  My guess is that it is the same fox.

The videos show the fox foraging and scent-marking.  I think they won't play on iPads and perhaps also kindles.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Bird of the week - Dunnock

Not quite as promiscuous as the reed bunting featured in a post two weeks ago, but almost.  It is not an easy bird to photograph as it is mostly at the bottom of the hedge under cover.  Fortunately it does pop out into view occasionally. The eye darkens as the bird gets older into a beautiful mahogany.  To listen to the BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the day on dunnock click here.  Read more about the dunnock on BTO Garden Birdwatch here or on BTO BirdFacts here.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Look out! He's behind you!

A surprising encounter in the woods.  This was the only photo so I don't know what happened next.  All of the subsequent photos were of the fox.  Unfortunately the video trail camera was set up elsewhere.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

If you go down to the woods tonight

I have been experimenting with the trail cameras in the woods at night.  So far I have seen roe deer, grey squirrel, fox and badger   These are the still photos I have of the badgers.

I have been trying to get a photo of the badger crossing this log bridge but whichever end of the bridge I put the camera, the badger is always walking the other way.  I'll keep trying.

I did manage some infrared pictures but they are of lower quality.

These videos show the badger on the bridge.  It is very sure-footed, considering it is in complete darkness.

This video shows the badger investigating the still camera on the far bank.  It obviously doesn't like the smell of human, or perhaps it's just me.  It then crosses the bridge and triggers the flash to take the photo below (it's still facing the wrong way!).

The colour photos are taken with a WIngscapes BirdCam and the infrared with a Bushnell NatureView.  The Bushnell has a narrower field of view and no aiming device so it is a bit hit and miss getting the subject in the frame.  There is also a flicker on the infrared video.  The Wingscapes has a wider field of view and a laser to mark the centre of view which makes aiming it a bit easier.  It also has better image quality but can't record night-time video.  It seems also to have a low sensitivity trigger despite being set on high and so sometimes misses a lot of photos.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Barn owl

A few pictures of the Cresswell barn owl from last week.  All low light, high ISO, and long distance so a bit of a challenge for my camera and lens (and me) but great to see.

I think this will be the male who comes out at dusk.  Sometimes he swallows the first vole he catches but he pretty soon catches one to take back to his mate in the barn, to keep in her good books.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Bird of the week - Bullfinch

Bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) have been regular visitors to the feeders this week, looking at their very best in the sunshine.  I haven't seen more than three together but this time last year there were seven on the feeder at once. My previously seen ringed birds aren't around at the moment.

Read more about bullfinches on BTO Garden BirdWatch here or BTO BirdFacts here.  Listen to the BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the Day on bullfinches here.