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Friday 31 December 2010

Problem with ProStalk PC2000 trail camera

I've had this camera out on a site for nearly two weeks and it's worked well shooting jpeg's  during the recent sub zero conditions.

Three days ago I decided to switch to video and shorten the delay time to it's minimum of 5 seconds.

I left it for two days and when I checked yesterday I found that the card was full of empty videos so I brought it back to do some tests.

I discovered that when set to the 5 second delay the camera was shooting a video every 10 seconds without being triggered and the same when shooting stills.

After a bit of experimentation I found that above a delay time of 15 seconds it seemed to be working normally, while in between about 10 and 15 seconds it would occassionally fire without being triggered.

This would seem to be an electronic component tolerance problem which has developed over time as it performed ok from new until now; and my guess is that it may have been brought about by the sub zero temperatures which have been down to -14C.

If anyone reading this has experienced similar problems with this or any other model or make of trailcam, I would be interested to hear what they have found.

I'm going to set the camera out on a deer trail today and see how it perfoms with a 15 second delay time.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Tay Beavers are damned by SNH

I couldn't believe what I was hearing when I was told about this and after I'd read the article I felt compelled to add my two cents worth.

It seems that some people and organisations have to feel as if they're in control. God forbid that Beavers should be doing something without SNH's permission. They spend a large amount of taxpayers money (probably a lot more than they needed to) doing a controlled release of Beavers in Knapdale and now they're spending even more money removing Beavers in the Tay valley who have been reintroducing themselves at no cost to anybody and without causing any trouble.

The reasons that SNH are reported to have given for their actions sound very weak to me and I'm always left with the feeling that they are control freaks.

The underlying facts are that the actions of Beavers are generally beneficial to their environment, in that they slow down water flow which reduces flood risk, improve biodiversity and ecosystems and add to the human enjoyement of the area.

The impact on fish stocks is probably also beneficial. Let's not forget that fish have been living alongside Beavers a lot longer than we have.

As to the health of the Beavers in question, the only danger is us!

Saturday 25 December 2010

Trail Camera

I started to experiment with a trail camera a few months ago but what with moving house and fixing the van I didn't get time to do anything serious with it until recently.

Last Thursday I got it out in the forest in an area where I'm  surveying Red Squirrels, using Peanuts and Sunflower seeds as ground bait.

Nothing happened on Thursday but at 0543 on Friday a Brown Hare passed by and was caught on IR.

Nothing else until 0610 today when a Pine Marten arrived and spent about 12 minutes making a pig of itself.

Then at 0829 a Red Squirrel turned up briefly and shot up a Norway Spruce about 2 minutes later and wasn't seen again. What suprised me was how soon after first light it appeared. At this time of the year and at the sub zero temperatures we've had for over a week now I would have expected it to be foraging a bit later in the day. I think maybe there was still Pine Marten scent hanging around which is probably why it didn't stay or return.

At 1042 a suprise visitor was this Jay which stayed for about a minute.

No more after that until I collected the images at about 1430.

I've left more bait and will be going back in a couple of days.

All the images are shown original size with cropping. I'll talk more about trail cameras at a later date.

Monday 20 December 2010

A hell of a year in paradise

I don't know why but every time I move home it seems to trigger a period of snow. It's exactly a year since I moved to Culbokie Cottage and now I've just moved a mile down the road by the village; and each time winter hase arrived with a vengeance. Happily, this time I'm by the tarmac and can get in and out, just!

Now I've got a telephone and internet access, so there's no excuse for not replying to emails and keeping the blog up to date.

I'm making a few changes to the way I do stuff online, most notably the website is going and all the prints for sale will now be available from Wildlife and Countryside Services . I'll now be using most of my time to continue with the Red Squirrel Survey and Photography; and I'll be posting regularly here and on the Red Squirrels of the Highlands  website, among others for which I'll provide links as they happen.

I managed to get a reasonable amount of survey work done this last Autumn and I've just started to experiment with tracking in the snow to build up a better idea of distribution in a typical forest plantation nearby. It will be interesting to see how the results tie in with the autumn survey.
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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.