December a year back I tried my hand at camera trapping a Golden Mole at our family holiday home near the Woody Cape, you can find the old blog post over here. This past December I tried it again, but this time with a new camera trap.
I recently got a new Bushnell NatureView HD Max to replace my old Bushnell Trophy Cam from 2009 which is starting to act up. The new Bushnell comes with an interesting feature: you can attach a close-up lens to the camera to enable it to take sharper images at close range.
|Bushnell NatureView HD Max with clos-up lens|
The camera is still far from perfect and nowhere near the level of automatic focus seen in digital and phone cameras these days, but it is an interesting feature and does make a difference. I haven't had time to play around with it much, but it seems to work decently well.
I still think that using the video setting gives you the best chance to get a decent view of these small critters. The new Bushnell can be configured to take some photographs and then follow up with a video. Below is the best of the photos I managed to get using this configuration.
|Hottentot Golden Mole too close to the camera trap|
I have adjusted the brightness and contrast of the photos and videos to improve the image quality. The original images where much brighter.
I own another Bushnell Trophy Cam (a 2010 model I think) which I used during the same trip to scout for some Shrew action.
|Camera trap ready for some Shrew action underneath the overhanging rocks on the beach at Cannon Rocks|
Below is a video clip from that camera, you can see that the quality of the new NatureView is much better.
In addition to the small mammals, I also had a camera out to capture some of the bigger species. I was happy to get another Common Duiker at this location. This is only the second one I've camera trapped in the Woody Cape reserve.
|Common Duiker (Gewone Duiker - Sylvicapra grimmia) on the edge of the forest|
I also like this photograph of the Marsh/Water Mongoose. The large anal pouch is clearly visible.
|Marsh/Water Mongoose (Kommetjiegatmuishond - Atilax paludinosus) camera trapped at the Woody Cape|
I've heard that the Afrikaans name "Kommetjiegatmuishond" refers to this anal gland, although I like to think it applies to the habitat in which the animal is often found as well. It is a fun name because it can be interpreted in more than one way and still accurately describe to the animal. There are so many animal names that make no sense at all that I prefer this colourful name over the boring "Watermuishond" alternative.