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A week in the woods


As you'll know if you've been reading my blog for a while, I love my trail camera -  a small but durable wildlife cameras that takes video or stills whenever wildlife go by. I've used mine to film pine marten, roe deer, red deer, as well as what was feeding off a roe deer body. Last year I even blogged about everything I learned about using my trail camera.

It's great to have because it shows a lot of unexpected wildlife. When I broke my leg and couldn't walk far, I used to set myself the challenge of sitting in the woods for an hour and recording what I saw. But what could you see if you sat there for a whole week ? Well, just before I went away over Easter, I set up my trail camera in a new wood - and this is what it filmed.

The path

The spot I chose in a wood about 15mins walk from the nearest road, on a hillside. The wood is one of two woods which are on either side of grassland, and when walking there I've seen mainly roe deer and red kites.

I set the camera up pointing north, alongside an animal track which runs parallel to the edge of the woods. What might walk along this path ?

What I was hoping to find

I had a bit of a hunch about what might live in the wood, because I had left it for a few weeks in a wood nearer the road.

In every single wood that I have left the trail cam in, have have seen pine marten. They are supposed to be really rare, but they are nocturnal, so people do not see them much, and I think they are more common than most people think, at least around here.

I'd already filmed pine marten a few weeks before in this wood:

But what I was really looking for was this: 

Although it is blurry, I am pretty sure  that this is a badger because of the big grey body, and if you look closely at the face, you can see a black and white pattern, which badgers have.

I found a badger near my village - but have never seen any other signs of them. Could this wood be where they are living ?

So after a week I came back...and this is what was on the camera

The roe deer

As expected, most of the videos were of roe deer. There was one group of three - an adult female, a younger male, and a 11 month old calf. The younger male had small antlers still in velvet.

Then there was an older male, with a perfect set of antlers which were completely out of velvet:

There was also this buck, who has only four or five points on his antlers, and who seemed to roam alone:

I have only ever seen one fawn in this wood, but there might be more. This one was filmed by itself, which would be unusual. it's most likely the mother just took a different path:

The woodpecker

These are birds that I've never seen on the trail cam, but have seen when I was walking. Woodpeckers peck trees with their long bills to get the small grubs and bugs out of the tree. They also live in tree hollows that they peck out. This one sat on the branch for a few seconds, flew off to inspect this tree, then flew off elsewhere. 

The hare

I'm beginning to spot more and more hares in the countryside around my village now. They are sometimes quite difficult to identify when they run away, but this one is fairly obvious when you see the ears:

The fox

I knew there were foxes here, because I have seen them out hunting in daylight. This one looks like it was returning from hunting mice and voles in the grassland.  I have got foxes on video before, but not nearly as much as the pine marten or the roe deer.

The red squirrel

On my walks around the track in my village, Braco, I have seen loads of red squirrels, but hardly any greys squirrels, which is the exact opposite of most other people. The greys are starting to move into the area, though, which is bad because the greys carry a disease that can be passed on to the reds, killing them.

So no badgers to be seen - but I was pretty pleased with the videos and stills I got from the camera over the week...

But wait: there's more !

Walking back from fetching the trail camera with Dad at about 6pm, we spotted something at the base of a tree nearby:

Although I filmed and tracked them for about a year - I have never seen a pine marten for real. Until now. ! This was the first time I've ever seen a pine marten in real life !

For now, I've moved the trail camera to watch the trees where the pine marten was - hopefully I'll get lucky and get some more footage of it !

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Ric said...

You guys were pretty quick and skillful to get that shot of a pine marten. Respect!

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