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Sunday 27 February 2011

At least two Badgers at sett

Second Badger at sett from Ron Bury on Vimeo.

A second Badger made an appearance at the Badger sett in the early hours of Friday 25th February. I think that one of them is a Boar responding to scent marking by the Badger I believe to be a Sow. Mind you, it's all guessing as it's difficult to analyse with infra-red video clips, especially when each one is only 15 seconds long.

As I said before, I'm hoping there are young in the sett which will come above ground in early April if all is well. The sett has only three main entrances and is probably not that large underground, so I don't think that there will be many permanent occupants.

Wood Mouse hunting Badger from Ron Bury on Vimeo.

I called this second clip "Wood Mouse hunting Badger" but I'm not being very serious!

I hope the Lizard I saw yesterday found a warm bed for the night because we had a frost early today.
So much for spring. Mind you, it's been quit pleasant today so far, though not as warm.

Saturday 26 February 2011

What a wonderful day

I've not long been back from the forest where it's 6C, sunny and really feels like spring. Yeh, I know, we've still got March to come but I'm not going to let that thought spoil my mood.

Just relocated the trail cam to a Squirrel feeder for the day and will return it to the Badger sett tonight.

The night before last I had two Badgers on camera together and I've managed to convince myself that the one I see regularly is a sow with cubs underground.

I hope the second Badger is a male and they might perform on camera.

The view of the trail cam at left is to show the diode masking I've used to reduce the light in the middle of the image area. It was burning out all the detail because of uneven light distribution and this mod' seems to have worked pretty well.

I'll try and get the video footage from two nights ago sorted out and loaded later on today.

Talking of spring, I'd been to an outlying two hole sett
this morning to see if there was any sign of activity (non at the moment) and I was on my way back along a forestry track, when I nearly put my foot on a Common Newt.

This little feller is about 10cm long and must have just come out of hibernation, He looked like a bit of tree debris at a distance and was lucky I didn't put my boot on him.

The sun had gone behind cloud and with the ground still fairly cold he wasn't moving. I managed to coax him onto my hand and within a minute he was starting
to perk up. It's amazing how quickly they absorb heat.

I left him on the side of the track, out of harms way and waiting for the sun to come back out. I hope he has a good year.

So that's today so far. We'll see what the trail cam has to show later this afternoon.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Night Life at a Badger Set

A short collection of video clips from last night at a Badger set where I'm hoping to see Badger cubs this April. Will be looking to get some photography done there as the nights shorten. Felt like spring today at 11C with sunshine and patchy cloud. ; View the video

Saturday 19 February 2011

Badger Tracks

I came upon these Badger tracks a couple of
days ago and followed them into the forest for
some way before they eventually led me to a
single hole which I didn't know about.

From its appearance I wouldn't have judged the hole to be in use, had the tracks not taken me to it. The placement of the footprints suggest that the Badger was moving fast so maybe it had been spooked and was desperate to get underground.

Squirrel Feeder

This is the new Squirrel Feeder that I referred to in my last post.

It has a 6 mm wire mesh front and bottom to allow air flow and help to prevent food from growing mould because of condensation.

The lid is ultra lightweight and the notch out of the wire mesh at the top encourages easier access.

At the bottom a small platform extends to provide a perch.

I will be using these feeders in places where it's difficult or time consuming to do normal surveying. The feeder will be put out for a week or so prior to setting a trail camera over it.

I'll post the plans for the feeder at a later date so that anyone who wishes can use the design to make their own.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Pine Marten inspecting Squirrel Feeder

I've recently been experimenting with my own design of squirrel feeder to use in conjunction with a trail cam.

This was the Mark 1 version which has now been superseded by the Mark 2 and, as always, the first thing that happens is an inspection by the local Pine Marten.

More about the feeder and using it to help with squirrel surveying in a later post.

I've just added this video to the slides and video page where it can be viewed at 640x480 pixels

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Beavers at Bamff: Canyonville and Tiller

Another interesting and informative article from Paul Ramsey about the benefits of Beaver presence within ecosystems; and their inter-relationship with healthy river systems.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Winter weather returns

Late February afternoon with low cloud forming over the Plodda Falls area.

View north from the forest road to Cougie a couple of days ago following an afternoon of surveying feeding signs in Norway Spruce stands across the river.

It's all turning white again and I'm hoping I might get the opportunity to do some track surveying if the conditions are right over the next few days.

Snowing hard and 3C in Tomich today.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

38 Degrees | Save Our Forests

If you care about the future of the nations forests then please subscribe to this campaign and help to stop the UK Government from getting this completely wrong.

Get it off your chest - Press & Journal

This article is a response from the John Muir Trust to a recent criticism of their winter deer culling.
Get it off your chest - Press & Journal

Sunday 6 February 2011

Squirrel feeding signs - Norway Spruce

In the area I'm currently surveying, all the Red Squirrels I'm finding are feeding on Norway Spruce cones; which means they are heavily concentrated in these forest blocks. Old and new feeding is frequent and easy to find so I thought it would be a good opportunity to show some of the signs to look for.

First of all you need to identify trees with good cone crops and then you can start looking beneath them to see if squirrels are present. If you find a tree with cone remains scattered loosely around its base, together with a similar scattering of torn off scales as illustrated on the left,

Tuesday 1 February 2011

The Highland Red Squirrel Group

The Scottish Highlands is now the only large UK mainland area where our native squirrel can still be found living in large healthy populations, free from the threat of competition by the introduced American Grey Squirrel.

There are plans for so called refuge forest areas to be created in the Highland region, consisting chiefly of small seeded conifers which, it is hoped, will provide a Red Squirrel friendly environment of little interest to Grey Squirrels as they continue their inexorable march northwards.

Part of this effort is the ongoing Scottish squirrel survey, the purpose of which is to accurately determine the true extent of the Highlands squirrel population. In the Highland region this is the remit of the Highland Red Squirrel Group which is a charity relying on volunteer surveyors. This method of attempting this task has an inherent problem in that it relies on the unpaid effort of people who have jobs and families to support with relatively little spare time.

I am in the fortunate position of being both active, retired and a bit of an anorak about the plight of our small red friends. Consequently I am able to devote a relatively large amount of time and effort to the task but I am only one person and there's a lot of forest which has never been properly surveyed.

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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.