|I think this is a Wild Pear (Drolpeer - Dombeya rotundifolia) flowering|
It was here in the Magaliesberg that I did my first true camera trapping. You can find my old post over here.
This time around we only spent one night at Utopia, but I still made a last minute decision to take some camera traps with me. I ended up taking a Bushnell (2010 model), a homebrew Yeticam Sony s600 and a ScoutGuard (flash model).
|A stream in the Magaliesberg|
I had only one night to trap for the nocturnal mammals and I set out looking for a good location shortly after we arrived. I set the Bushnell next to a stream (in the picture above). I saw signs of Cape Clawless Otter (Groototter) and Water Mongoose (Kommetjiegatmuishond) and thought it might be worth the risk. The verdict: nothing passed during the night except for some humans. I'm assuming they were from one of the other houses.
|Scrub Hare (Kolhaas - Lepus saxatilis) at dusk|
Luckily there is plenty to see even without the help of camera traps. This Scrub Hare showed up just as the light was fading. I was hoping for some camera trap images of these guys (there were two), but they managed to evade the cameras.
|The light was very bad and this is the best the camera could do|
We also saw a Bushbaby (Nagapie), Baboons (Bobejaan) and plenty of tracks such as Porcupine (Ystervark), etc.
When I tried to setup the homebrew Sony I ran into another problem. The Sony's lensgears are problematic. I managed to fix it at home, but it started to give problems again. I think it might have been the vibrations during the flight. Luckily in the end I got it working.
I found a very promising spot for the Sony, but nothing walked past the camera during the night. If I had a week or two I'm sure I would have gotten some great images at the location.
|Some kind of Coral Tree (Koraalboom) growing next to one of the houses|
So, by now my last hope was on the ScoutGuard... I have one word to describe this camera: disappointment. If you are thinking of buying one, then don't. If you already bought one, then I feel your pain. On top of all it's shortcomings the camera chose this weekend to stop flashing. I had a great location and had some good bait set out. I even had nocturnal visits, but nothing to show except some completely black photographs. The camera still triggered, but the flash never fired.
So in the end the night was lost. I didn't get any images of the nocturnal animals, but I still had half a day to go and I pulled out all the tricks I could think off to skew the odds in my favour. I ended up capturing two mammal species and a couple of birds. Nothing new, but both species aren't found down here and make for a welcome change.