Wildlife cameras have been a game changer in the world of Ecology, these handy little devices allow us to put eyes on animals that are, by their nature, evasive. At HED Ltd. we use cameras to confirm whether a species of interest regularly uses an area and why, or simply to check if certain features (e.g. dreys) are active. As an important addition to our toolkit, we need to be sure the cameras are functioning correctly. After giving the cameras a clean and change of batteries, I took them for a field test to the woodland at HED HQ. Fortunately I found more than the odd dog walker.
The first picture is of a roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). An identifying feature of a roe deer is the white upper lip and chin (that can just be seen in this picture). The antlers are another clue, the size and shape (small and branchlike) are characteristic of this species. You may notice the antlers have a thick "fuzzy" appearance, this is velvet- a fur covered skin that provides blood flow to the antlers as they grow. The velvet will shed by the end of May, with the antlers falling off during winter.
From the same camera we spotted a fox (Vulpes vulpes)carrying a vole in its mouth - out for an afternoon walk, lunch included. This camera was set up on a well used game trail, and it certainly did not disappoint!
My favorite capture is the below video of a pine marten (Martes martes), blink and you will miss it! The pine marten was persecuted throughout much of the UK in the early 1900s. Nowadays, the pine marten is most abundant in the Scottish Highlands and receives full legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
Contact us today for protected species advice.