Thursday, 2 June 2011

Nocturnal visitor

  Some while ago back in February I mentioned here about a trail camera that I acquired from the previous owner.
  Well in parallel with another project I'm doing here, I recently ordered a replacement which is a higher resolution model than the previous one. The camera is a self contained unit that does both stills (8 mpixel) and video (720x480) and also does colour or b&w using infra red at night and is triggered by a PIR motion sensor. With 8 AA batteries and a 16gb card installed it can last for up to 12 months depending on temperature and the in-camera settings. It's the same model that the BBC used in the 'Lost Land of the Tiger' a few months ago. 

  I set it up two nights ago only to discover the following morning that I'd not programed it properly and so had nothing to show for it - the morel there is to read the instruction booklet more thoroughly . It is a bit of a hit and miss affair as the subject may not pass that way for days or even weeks but with a bit of detective work, the odds can be stacked more in my favour. I set it up again last night and this morning was delighted to see that we'd had a visit sometime after midnight. If still images are taken then it will time and date stamp the pictures, however, it seems that when in video mode it doesn't....................

 As you can see the otter looks around nervously as though it senses something there. The post on which the camera is fixed, has been there for 4 months so it would be used to that by now; maybe it was just a very slight different shape of the top of the post which it detected in the semi darkness, as my scent would (or should have) long disappeared. The lighting is infra red so that's not the problem - unless they can detect light from that part of the spectrum. Tonight I may move it again to another post although with this wind it could cause a lot of false triggers due to it picking up wave movement.................

  This was the post that in early February, only had 4 inches of the post showing above the water after some very heavy rain.

On the bird front, things have been quite quiet here. There have been a few birds around but most of the northward migration seems to have passed on. There was a Quail calling in the north of the island a few days ago but unfortunately I couldn't go up to hear it for the 'List'. I saw a Redbacked Shrike again today after a tip off from one of the school teachers. My guess is that its the one from earlier in the week. I found a Stonechat at Skaw yesterday which is a first for me for Unst - and an uncommon one for the island.


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