At the beginning of February 2018 I placed a trail camera in an area of untouched woodland located in the South of Dartmoor National Park in England. This was a new experience for me and after a careful search I managed to find a suitable spot on a tree overlooking a rock and out into a worn looking clearing of woodland.
The owner of the land told me that there was a lot of Deer around so I thought this may be a good place to capture them. Well a month passed and in March I returned to retrieve the camera. The camera had been through a lot as the weather had been terrible in South Devon with storm Emma bringing heavy settled snow and high wind speeds. Never the less I opened the camera and was shocked to find 678 files had been stored! With this in mind I took the camera home excitedly and analysed the video and photos. The next part of this post will be a breakdown of basically what wildlife the camera found within the month in the South Dartmoor area so please carry on and enjoy 🙂
The first sighting! A cheeky little robin at night. I’m quite impressed with the clarity of the infrared imagery.
Aha some Fallow deer. The owner said they were around but he rarely sees the Stag . These guys are widespread across Europe and there coats lose all their spots in winter.
I set the camera up to fire 3 photos then a 10 second video clip . I used a medium shutter speed as I wanted the photos to be crisper in low light but to get a better shot of a Deer in movement like this I would set a faster shutter speed on the camera, which would sacrifice the quality of the low light images but make this shot a lot crisper.
A cheeky Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis. A usual suspect and if you didn’t know already the immigrant Grey Squirrel has displaced our Red squirrels in many parts of England and Wales
Grey Squirrel from Lucien Harris on Vimeo.
A nice close up of a female Fallow deer, Dama dama.
More Fallow deer! Just need a stag now.
Oh of course the camera would catch Pheasants. They are released nearby for a local shoot.
Woodland mouse at night from Lucien Harris on Vimeo.
The infrared video at night on these trail cameras is great too. Fullscreen the vid and check out the little mouse on the rock in the right hand corner!
This would of been an amazing picture of a Great Tit, Parus major. However the trail cameras are more for locating wildlife and cannot focus quick enough . Maybe if I set the camera to a faster shutter speed it may have captured a clearer image but its highly unlikely.
This is what I was hoping for a Lovely Buck Fallow deer. There was a few pictures of the Male Deer Stags and on closer inspection I think there may have been 2 different ones.
Female Roe Deer close up from Lucien Harris on Vimeo.
A Couple more deer..
If you look closely you can see a Fox lurking past the rain
A Redwing, Turdus iliacus. A small thrush which feeds on berries in the winter. Happy The camera could tolerate the extreme temperatures of Storm Emma though. Even though it only shows -1 degree Celsius here it got to double minus figures!
A Jay in the snow, Garrulus glandarius. These are naturally quite shy birds so I was really pleased to capture this one on camera.
Stag Roe Deer from Lucien Harris on Vimeo.
Another Fallow deer Stag this time at night. This shows the deer are actively foraging all times of the day.
So that’s pretty much it! Over the month the camera performed incredibly and I’m really impressed! As spring is coming I shall definitely be looking for badger sets and fox dens to set the camera up at so keep your eyes peeled. I hope you enjoyed some South Dartmoor wildlife.
For now I shall be uploading my sightings to ispot a really useful and easy to use recording site which adds data of wildlife to a national database. In the meantime I will leave you with these pictures and video of a mystery creature I captured. Possibly a fox but not sure! let me know your thoughts!
If you full screen the video below and look in the background behind the hedges you can see the animal running past is it the beast of Dartmoor, a big cat like a Puma? who knows. Probably a fox 🙂
Possible fox running in background from Lucien Harris on Vimeo.