Tag Archives: birds

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.

A Morning With The Girls At Topeekeegee-Yugnee Park

Since tomorrow is 4th July and it falls on a Saturday this year, I had today off work, which makes for a nice 3 day weekend.

Fortunately I was allowed to go and see my daughters (4 and 8), so I took them out to eat at Einstein Bagels, which is where my eldest daughter likes to go for breakfast.  They are usually pretty good when I take them out to eat, and after breakfast we headed down to Topeekeegee-Yugnee Park (popularly known as T-Y Park), which is only a couple of miles up the road from where they live.  T-Y Park is pretty large, 150 acres, and they enjoy not only the playground, but also walking around the large lake, feeding the Squirrels, and especially petting each and every dog that passes or comes close to them.

Today it was pretty hot and sticky, close to 90 degrees and not much of a breeze at first, so I took them to the playground, where they had a good time, and then we wandered across to the lake.  It has been raining so much the last couple of weeks, that the level of the lake is close to 2 feet higher than normal, so it’s larger, deeper, and the fish seemed to be having a good time, as well as the dogs that were swimming in there.  Walking around the far side of the lake we found someone who had 2 large black dogs that enjoyed swimming, and they would race each other to get to every stick that the girls threw into the water.  They had a great time.

We also fed the Squirrels, or at least I did.  Someone had left a pile of peanuts on one of the picnic tables, so I grabbed a few and had the Squirrels eating out of my hand.  Unfortunately the first Squirrel who I tried to feed wasn’t too sure, so instead of reaching out for the peanut, he clawed my finger and then bit it, his claw drawing blood, but so far I don’t seem to have suffered any infection.

Being a Friday there were fewer people there than usual, and subsequently there were more Squirrels, Birds and Iguanas out.  We usually see quite a lot of Squirrels, and birds too, but today I managed to get some good photos of a Blue Jay, almost got decent ones of a Kingfisher, and I got excellent ones of a couple of the larger Iguanas that were out sunning themselves on the grass.

Their Mom wanted them back by 12:30pm, so after the park we headed to Wendys, usually easy to get a quick bite for lunch, but today it was packed, and since this must be about the slowest Wendys in the country (service is always horribly slow, pathetic, and they take an hour to clean up and mess or restock too), we headed to McDonalds instead.  Now this isn’t the best either, but today it was practically empty and at least the service was quick.

Back to the house, dropped them off, got my usual myriad of hugs from my eldest, much to the disgust of her Mother, who usually just wants me out of there as quickly as possible, and back home, via my local Walmart to do my weekly grocery shop.  Now for the last 2 months they have been completely revamping the food section, and it’s a nightmare trying to find anything.  So since today was chaotic in there, I just got most of the essentials and then headed to the Farmers Market down the road for the rest.  The service here is really good, friendly, and the prices are good too.

In An English Country Garden

As some of you know, I have recently moved into a new little house.  With the new little house, comes a new little garden.  The garden is unfortunately rather bare with a sad looking lawn, a couple of  lopped tree trunks, some shrubs, a few fence panels and a washing line.  There is also a strange looking decking area with a picnic bench to liven things up.  To one side of the garden, the boundary is edged with laurel bushes… is that bushes or trees?  Not sure, but it makes a very dense bush.

When I left my ex, I moved into a flat (apartment) as that was all I could afford.  I felt so closed in and really missed just being able to open the door and wander out.  I was so excited to have a garden again.

In no time at all, I had spotted a squirrel running around and burying things in the lawn.  I started putting peanuts out to encourage him.  Having just moved in and all the expenses that brings, I didn’t have any spare cash to go and buy elaborate feeders from the garden center, so I improvised and dropped the peanuts down on the decking.  The squirrel soon found his new dinner table and would happily come to visit and then bury his newly found stash.  He would even run up the lopped tree trunks and sit on the top looking out across the neighbouring gardens.  I fell in love with that little chap… well, not so little actually.  He was probably one of the fattest squirrels I’ve ever seen!

Then came the fateful day that I didn’t replenish the dinner table.  The squirrel was obviously determined to get every last scrape of peanut that was left..  He was so determined in fact, that he gnawed a chunk of decking away in his efforts to get to the tiny pieces that had fallen between the planks of decking…   oh dear…    So the dinner table moved to a paving slab.

The birds soon found the peanuts and treats too.  I was so excited to see all the different types of birds visiting MY little garden.  There were Robins, Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Sparrows, Chaffinches to name a few.  Ok, the occasional Magpie and Wood pigeon stopped by too… but they’re not so pretty, so I ignore them.

Then Christmas arrived, and so did Tony.  Via Tony, Santa gave me a Squirrel feeder and a fancy bird feeder all the way from America WOO HOO!!!   My Mother had also given me a bird feeder which was waiting to be put up, so there was Tony, the day after Christmas in the freezing fog, putting up feeders around the garden for me.  We visited the local garden center to buy a variety of seeds and then filled each feeder very carefully.  We also bought a plastic dish so that the ground feeding birds could enjoy coming to my garden too.

In no time at all, the robin and blue tits and all the other birds had found their new source of food and were happily feeding away.  No sign of that fat, overfed, deck gnawing squirrel though.  I was so happy to be attracting the wildlife into my garden and even though it was bitterly cold, I could sit in the lounge with my nose pressed against the window and watch all these wonderful little creatures feeding in my garden.  Hey, I even got up around 2 am one night when next doors security light came on to see if a fox had triggered it.

So, a new variety of wildlife finally came to my garden.  What was it?  I hear you cry!  A fox?  No.  A badger?  No.  A Hedgehog? No.  What do I get?  I get the worlds largest ever rat, and not only do I get a rat, I get a rat that decides to die in my garden… the audacity of it!!!  Thank goodness Tony found it and not me… you’d have heard the scream all the way across the pond LOL!!  Have we given it a formal burial?  Have we heck… it’s in the dustbin (garbage) waiting to be collected tomorrow 😉

I’ll let you know when Tubby the  squirrel returns.