A Frog In A Bucket

Outside Our Kitchen DoorTuesday morning I got ready to go to work, and as usual I looked outside the kitchen door, which is where we have been leaving a tray of peanuts for our night time visitors, and I saw that they remained untouched.

Disappointed at not having had anyone come to eat overnight, I picked up the wildlife camera, turned it off, and placed it on the kitchen counter top for my wife to check, but as I walked out the kitchen door to head out to work I saw something moving in a black bowl that had been left outside the door.

It had rained a lot over the past week, and I had noticed that this bowl had been filling up, and now it was completely full, but something was definitely moving in the water.

I walked back into the kitchen, grabbed a torch, shone it in the bucket, and to my surprise there was a frog (or it could be a toad, it was dark and I didn’t have long to spend looking).

The frog was about 2 inches long, so quite large (by UK standards at least), and I have absolutely no idea how it got there.

The photographs above shows where the bucket was when I found the frog, but look below to see exactly where this is in relation to our garden.

Outside Our Kitchen Door

First there are 3 steps to climb to get from the garden to the side path, then as you can see below there are another 4 steps to get to the back door.

Outside Our Kitchen Door

So how on earth did our froggy end up in a bucket of water at the top of the steps?

With all the rain it’s possible that he could have climbed up all that way to the top on his own, maybe to escape some of the water.

It’s also possible that one of the storms could have lifted him out of his pond and deposited him in the bucket, but I think this is a bit unlikely.

Similarly, a bird might have picked him up and dropped him there, or our badger might have left him there the during the night, intending to have him for a tasty dessert the following night, but I somehow doubt that badgers are that complicated when it comes to their food.

Also, bearing in mind that none of the food that we left out that night had been touched, I am just left puzzled.

As for the frog, I didn’t want him to end up drowned in there, and so before leaving for work I dumped the water and the frog onto our herb bed, and as the soil is full of clay I knew that he would have a nice damp environment and an opportunity to make his way to somewhere more appropriate for a frog to spend his time.

Do you have any thoughts on how he might have got there? If so I would be interested to hear about them.

Fairies? Well there could be some in our garden, pixies too, but I have never seen them. Still, with a wildlife camera, anything is possible…

Why Buy A Trail / Wildlife Camera?

Acorn 6210MC Ready For ActionWhy would I want to buy a trail / wildlife camera?

This is a question that I am sure many people might ask, but unless you live somewhere where there are no wild birds or animals around, or you just aren’t interested in nature, there are so many reasons why a trail camera could be useful as well as educational.

But before I go rambling on about some of the great reasons for wanting a trail camera, for those of you who aren’t sure, here is a quick description of what a trail camera is.

A Trail Camera is a digital camera in a waterproof housing that can be set to take photographs or to record video when it’s motion sensors are triggered. It is designed to be left outdoors to record passing wildlife, and many also have infra-red flash to enable recording at night.

But I live in a town/city, not in the countryside?

Well so do we, but as well as cats and rats (only seen one of the latter in the last 5 years thankfully), we also have foxes, hedgehogs and as we found out recently, badgers as well.

What made that hole in our fence?

Badger Made This Hole In FenceOne morning I went out to work and found that a large hole had been made in the fence next to our side gate.

Knowing now that we have badgers visiting, we are almost certain that the badger is to blame for the hole. But we don’t mind, it’s an old fence, and it’s fun to be able to see animals like this in our garden.

I can’t afford something like that?

Well that’s what we thought too, but these days digital cameras are surprisingly affordable, and a basic trail camera can cost under £100 (US$150), although if you can afford it, don’t just opt for the cheapest model that you can find, because some of those extra features can be very handy.

What can a trail camera do?

In our case, our camera has been set in the garden where we know various animals pass through, feed, and also use a flower bed as a toilet.

These are some of the features that our Acorn 6210MC has for example:

  • 12 Mega Pixel Camera
  • 1080 HD Video
  • Infra Red Flash
  • 2 Timers (triggers only between set times)
  • When triggered take photo, video or both
  • Set length of video to record
  • Set interval between events
  • Time-lapse photography option

This is great to place in your garden or somewhere where nobody else is likely to discover the camera, but naturally you wouldn’t want to risk placing an expensive piece of kit like this in woods where someone might see it light up when it was activated.

Our model therefore has a covert infra red flash, so even when the camera is triggered by something moving in front of the sensors, there are no lights visible to humans, so you could leave it in nearby woods, or even somewhere in your garden closer to the street.

If you want to spend a bit more money, some cameras even have the capability to send the pictures and video that they record by MMS message or email by adding a Sim Card.

On the first night of use, our camera caught cats, a fox and a badger. What do you think a camera might photograph in your garden?

Well, have I sparked your interest in trail cameras yet?

There is much more to come, as we (hopefully) get more fun video of our local wildlife, as well as taking our trail camera on holiday with us later this month. I also plan to explain more about our camera, how to set it up, and how to get the most out of it.

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Our New Wildlife Category

A fox in our gardenWe recently purchased a trail camera so that we could find out for sure what wildlife was visiting our garden at night, and the videos that we have got made me thing that maybe it’s time to write and tell you about it, and to create a new Wildlife category on our site.

Even though we life in the city, well on the outskirts of a city, it really is amazing just how many different creatures we share our garden with.

We knew that as well as the many types of wild birds that come to our feeders, that we had foxes, but in the last few months something began digging in a flower bed in such a way that we were convinced that it was a Badger. However, because of the location and the fact that this occurred at night, we had no actual proof.

With a big birthday coming up for me, and my having no idea what to ask for a present, we both decided that it might be a good idea to get a wildlife camera so that we could solve the mystery of the night time digger once and for all.

We did some research on trail cameras, and finding one that we liked, and which was also in our price range, we made our purchase, and Amazon delivered it in 2 days.

Eager to put the camera to use, we strapped it to the drainpipe at one corner of the house, went to bed and eagerly waited to see what we had captured.

Well I half expected to have set the camera up wrong, but to my surprise there were a number of photographs and videos on the memory card, and we not only caught the neighbour’s cats pooping in the garden, we caught a Fox and also a Badger.

We had seen foxes in the front and back garden numerous times before, they are always tripping the security lights, but we had never managed to photograph them before, so this video, the 3rd on the camera, had us almost jumping with joy.

But then, who should appear later that night, but our mystery visitor, who did indeed turn out to be a Badger!

Debbie had been leaving peanuts out for the Badger, but as you can see in the video above, not only were the peanuts too close to the camera, but the camera was set too high.

We did however get a better view of the Badger after he had finished feeding, and he wandered all along the flower bed, deciding which of the “many” holes he would use for his toilet.

These are the highlights of what our wildlife camera captured on the first night, so as you can tell we were really ecstatic over what the camera had achieved in just one night.

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Coming soon:  More wildlife videos, and more information on our wildlife camera and tips for using one.

The Speed Of Sound

I got to thinking about the speed of sound this morning and wondered just how they were able to accurately determine what this was, especially without the latest technology that we have today.

This all came about when I went in the bathroom to shower and shave before I went to work, and having shaved I wondered how my razor got it’s name, the Gillette “Mach 3″.

Now I can see that the 3 relates to the number of blades, but I can’t see that this has any effect on the speed of shaving, so why Mach 3 which is 3 times the speed of sound?

Well I quickly gave up on that thought, and while I was in the shower my thoughts around this went deeper, and I wondered just how they were able to determine the speed at which sound travels.

I know that without looking this up that this is somewhere around 700 miles per hour, which is pretty fast in the scheme of things, but just how do you measure it?

I conjured up an image of 2 people standing a mile apart on hill tops, each with a stop watch and one with a gun.  The first fires the gun and at the same time clicks stop on his watch. The second meantime listens for the gun being fired and clicks his watch when he hears it.

Well this is all well and good, except that you can’t rely on either person clicking their watches at exactly the right time, plus of course the speed of light comes into play, because the sight of the first person firing the gun might make the second person click his watch before he actually hears the shot being fired..

Assuming that some way could be found to click the watches at exactly the right time, I guess you could measure the speed of sound, however you would have to adjust the result to allow for the speed of light.

The problem is now that you would have to know the speed of light in order to determine the speed of sound, so a means of actually doing this ends up beyond my realitively unscientific brain, plus of course by the time my thoughts reached this point I had finished showering and so my thoughts then focused on breakfast and what to wear to work.

My best experience of the difference between the speed of sound and the speed of light was when I watched one of the Space Shuttles launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

We watched the launch from Titusville, which is about 12 miles from the launch pad, and as the shuttle launched I was in total awe, not realising that you couldn’t hear anything.

I’m not sure how long it took before you could hear the noise, and feel the vibration too, but it seemed like half a minute at the time, and then there was a tremendous roar and a shockwave coming across the Indian River, which in itself was quite amazing.

Do you ever have deep thoughts about things where the answer is beyond you?  If so, please leave a comment and share.

Did We Really Listen To This?

I was browsing YouTube over the weekend, searching for videos of music from my university days, and it made me ponder Did we REALLY listen to this?

My browsing old songs from YouTube was triggered when someone purchased a CD from one of my Amazon links the other day.  Since I didn’t recognise either the CD name or the artist, I thought I would look it up on Amazon, and the best description I can give is “Morris Dancing music where every track sounds the same”.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Morris Dancing, it’s a British form of street dancing that dates back hundreds of years.  You can find some examples on YouTube.

Anyhow, back to the plot, which involves my browsing through videos of songs from bands that were cult hits back in the 1970’s when I was at university, and it made me really wonder why we liked them.  My wife took one listen (barely 5 seconds is all it took) and proclaimed “What the heck are you listening to?”.

Well here are a couple of examples for you…

The first is The Galloping Gaucho from Stackridge. It’s a track from the album The Man In The Bowler Hat which I still have on vinyl (LP). If you feel the need to search for and listen to more Stackridge, you can find them on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

The second track I have for you is The Hedgehog’s Song by The Incredible String Band and it’s off their 1967 album The 5000 Spirits or the Layers Of An Onion.  Their songs evolved a lot over the years, and if you want to hear more, you can also find them on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Do you have any music styles or artists that you used to listen to years ago and where you now wonder what endeared you to them? If so, please leave a comment and let us know.

The Musings Of Debbe & Tony