Monday, 18 April 2016

Another one for the collection

I have recently just discovered my 5th local Badger sett and checked out the surrounding area to establish routes I felt were well used and were suitable to place a trail camera. As this was a new area I decided to leave the camera for a week to see what kind of activity is occurring in the area. I am getting more and more interested in setting up camera traps, it really is interesting to collect the SD card and find what’s been happening on your patch under the cover of darkness.

I have recently purchased a new trail camera which I am very pleased with but tend to use on shorter overnight situations where I know what I am trying to capture and already know the best locations to set it up. As this was a new area and I was just leaving the camera for a week, I decided to set my old battered trail camera up, it’s held together with insulation tape, its picture quality isn’t great, but it still works.

I picked an interesting looking area, positioned the camera and hoped it would still be there a week later. The good news is, it was still there a week later. My concerns were how successful the whole exercise would have been after a week of quite heavy rain.

The first thing I noticed on placing the SD card into the card reader of my computer was that there were nearly 600 pictures. The stars of over 500 of these are shown below. The Jays and the Squirrels were easily the most photographed.



I had a few fox pictures and from what I can make out, two different foxes were passing through the area but they both managed to avoid getting a full framed capture.


I was very pleased to see that the new sett I had found has indeed got some inhabitants. Even the torrential rain didn’t stop them visiting the area which surprised me as the surrounding fields must have been good for worming in these wet conditions, Perhaps they were out worming and this was just the route to and from their favoured feeding grounds. The initial results show that the sett has at least two inhabitants.




Some very wet badgers.





However, as I was sorting through the 600 pictures, I came across a bit of a surprise. The area where the trail camera was set does look like a bit of an animal highway, shared by various creatures on route to their destinations, but I wasn’t expecting this. This is the best picture and it isn’t great, but as soon as I saw it I thought Otter!

I took the pictures to Pete and we poured over them, using landmarks and branches in other photos with foxes or badgers stood by them to judge scale and size of the animal. We both agreed it was an Otter.


I do like to get as much confirmation as possible when issues such as this arise, so I sent the picture to The UK Wild Otter Trust:


I received a very prompt reply from Dave Webb

Founder - UK Wild Otter Trust

IUCN - Otter Specialist Group Member

OWAG - Otter Welfare Advisory Group Board Member


Who is of the opinion that "it certainly looks like an Otter."


Check out their very informative website - UK Wild Otter Trust


I am very pleased to see that Otters are making a comeback in the area and intend trying to get further evidence and hopefully, better pictures. As the saying goes, watch this space!

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