30 January 2011

Some Strange Stuff

Over Christmas we went for a picnic at Tygerberg. I had a camera trap at home and decided that it's a good opportunity to get it back in the field. I placed a chicken bone in front of the camera as bait, because it was on (actually in) hand.

When I checked the camera two weeks later I found that the camera filled up in the first couple of days thanks to the warm weather and strong winds without photographing much, and the chicken bone was gone... The culprit was a Four-Striped Grass Mouse.

Four-Striped Grass Mouse (Streepmuis - Rhabdomys pumilio) grabbing the bone

Checking the exit...

Making a run for it...

These images where taken with the Bushnell Trophy Cam 2010 Viewer model and demonstrates clearly the problem I have with this model. It overexposes almost every photograph it takes.

The 2009 non-viewer model is much better and has the added functionality to set it to only turn on between two specified times each day. Thanks to this functionality I'm able to place it at the pond and survive the onslaught of Guineafowl, Bontebok and warm winds during the day.

Placing the camera this time around, however, was not as easy as it usually is. I had to deal with one very grumpy Tortoise...

 Leopard Tortoise (Bergskilpad - Stigmochelys pardalis) charging for the kill

For some reason it kept on chasing me around. Every time I reach the camera this grumpy guy comes steaming up to me with murderous intent.

I tried to talk things out, but he didn't want to listen...

Once he gets to me and the camera I get up and walk back along the shore, as far as I can  go, and wait a couple of seconds for him to catch up to me (he was moving about at a good speed because he was nice and warm and was filed with an incomprehensible tortoise rage). I then head back to the camera to continue setting it up with him on me heels, charging full speed (which is luckily just a bit slower than my casual walking speed).

He even started to fight dirty...

After ruffing up my bags he then charged back to me and we repeat the process.

When I got to the pond at first I wasn't sure what he was doing until he came right up to me and launched himself at me. I managed to dodge the attack but these tortoises are rather heavy and I'm pretty sure I don't want things to get physical...

In short I manage to stay just out of reach and in time I wrapped things up and, watching my back, I headed for the hills.

10 January 2011

Some News

It's been a while since I last posted anything. There isn't much good news to report, so you'll have to endure some "bad" news instead. Me he he...

Flowers at Tygerberg
As I've said before: The western slope is giving me problems (the weather, vegetation, animals pushing over cameras, etc.). There is also quite a bit going on with regard to non-camera trapping matters: It was Christmas, we went away on holiday, I started at a new job, other hobbies, etc.

I've also "lost" my first trail camera. I've always wanted to build a homebrew trail camera. A homebrew camera is a commercial digital camera that one connects to a special circuit board, etc. to build a homemade camera trap. The biggest benefit of these homemade cameras is their image quality. There are a couple of great site on the web showing some superb images taken by other camera trappers. Getting back to the point: I ordered a starter kit from the USA a couple of months ago, but I haven't received anything yet. The best I can do is trust that the supplier did send the parcel and that it is still on it's way, but I'm starting to think that it must have gotten stolen along the way... So basically I lost a camera without ever having had it in my own hands.

More flowers from Tygerberg

Since I'm laying on the blues heavily, and I do apologise, I'll also briefly mention my disappointment with my Bushnell Trophy Cam 2010 Viewer model. It is in almost all practical aspects inferior to my 2009 non viewer model.

Again some flowers at Tygerberg (to lighten the mood)

With that off my chest I feel like mentioning some good things that are happening as well. This month I'll finished 12 months of camera trapping at Tygerberg. I don't know when I'll get around to putting a post together, but I'm looking forward to it.

I also want to start working on a Tygerberg "booklet/website" to make more of my camera trapping information available.

In between all the difficulties I still managed to get some photographs of a few mammals at the reserve.

Porcupine (Ystervark - Hystrix africaeaustralis) sniffing along

Four-Striped Grass Mouse (Streepmuis - Rhabdomys pumilio)
A youngster nibbling away