21 April 2013

Small Wonders

Four-Striped Grass Mouse (Streepmuis - Rhabdomys pumilio) munshing away on a sunflower seed

It is fun setting out a camera in an attempt to capture small animals. My Birdcam 2.0 does a decent job of getting colour closeups of small mammals. My biggest problem with the camera is that it has a slow and temperamental trigger mechanism. The camera works best when used as advertised: add some bait in front of the camera to keep the little critters in the area for longer. In fact the company went as far as to call the camera the Birdcam, to make sure people understand the camera was designed to be placed on a bird feeder. However, I've found it can do a decent job at photographing small mammals as well.

Four mice sharing in the feast

These little mice are common throughout large parts of South Africa and are easily noticed since they are one of the few species of rodent that are active during the day.

Youngster busy looking cute

The Birdcam was placed on the same spot where a Bushnell Trophy Cam had been snapping away the previous week. Compared to the Bushnell the Birdcam misses a lot of action, but the image quality makes up for it in my opinion, especially the colour night photographs. As long as you play to the strengths of the Birdcam it can be a pretty rewarding camera.

Cape Girdle Lizard (Kaapse Gordelakkedis - Cordylus cordylus) triggering the Birdcam 2.0 camera trap

It is always fun to get something totally new on your camera traps. I've had a few unidentifiable lizards in the foreground/background of photographs before, but those were accidental captures. This time around I can be sure of the species and what's more this fellow triggered the camera himself.

I've been lucky enough to see one of these guys recently in person and was able to snap a photo with by handheld camera.

What are you looking at?

As I got closer it ran for cover, protecting itself with its spiny tail

The main reason why I placed the camera at this location was for some good colour photographs of a Vlei Rat and if I was lucky a Pygmy Mouse. In secret I wished for a Shrew as well, but it is seldom that the Camera Trap Goddess gives in to all your desires at once. But I'm not complaining about not getting the Shrew, since I got good shots of both my target species.

Pygmy Mouse (Dwergmuis - Mus minutoides) scavenging for some sunflower seeds that might have been missed by the mice during the day

There wasn't much bait left by the time the Vlei Rat (Vleirot - Otomys irroratus) passed through, so it didn't stay long

Camera trapping reptiles aren't all that uncommon and I've been fortunate enough recently to get a couple of tortoises on the other cameras as well.

Angulate Tortoise (Rooipens Skilpad - Chersina angulata) snapping a photograph of itself

Even the small and flat Padloper was able to trigger the Bushnell Trophy Cam.

Parrot-Beaked Padloper (Gewone Padloper - Homopus areolatus) navigating the obstacle course of grass, twigs and pebbles

If any Shrews are reading this, I would love to get a good mugshot of one of you tricky bastards soon!

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