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  • Writer's pictureAlistair

Lights, camera, action … catching wildlife on video


Re video above: a polecat in woodland bordering a stream at Cefn Garthenor ... worried it might have been mink, but a still photo shows the white on the face.


Friday night is film night at Cefn Garthenor. I’ll go out to wherever I left the camera trap and bring back the footage to review activity caught over the previous week. There is always a massive sense of anticipation, a hope that you might have caught something really special! There is usually a lot of clips with rabbits, foxes or field mice, but occasionally something a little less common. If I’m less fortunate, I’ll be inundated with videos of a branch waving around in front of the lens.


Walking around Cefn Garthenor there are plenty of animal sightings, especially birds and insects. But there are also many more signs of wildlife which I have never actually seen in person. Often these signs will simply be missed by me, although hopefully over time I’ll get more observant and knowledgeable. A great example is the evidence of water voles that Derek Gow and Rob Parry have been able to show me, based on the way the rush had clearly been cut and laid, and discovery of their latrines. I’d have stumbled right over the patch they all this found this in.


Probably recognising my total incompetence, Rob Parry lent me one of the INCCymru camera traps. Essentially it is a smallish plastic box (15cm x 10cm x 4cm or 6” x 4” x 1 ½” in old money) with an HD card to capture the footage, a movement sensor and the ability to film night or day. I normally strap it to a tree pointing to where I hope they’ll be some action. I’ll give it a week and look forward to the Friday night feature!


That just leaves the tricky issue of identification. Can you spot the difference between the wood mouse, common shrew, bank vole and water shrew in the montage below? If this is too easy, try the sound track (please note, this was not recorded at the same time, but we have the maker of the sound at Cefn Garthenor!).



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