Dear Readers, what a week it’s been! Work has been relentless, the boiler has gone on go-slow, my washing machine won’t drain, and the pond has sprung a leak. Fortunately, a lovely friend of mine has lent me a trail camera – I’ve always fancied trying one out, and it has been a welcome distraction from all the deadlines and high anxiety. I wondered what I might see, and I have not been the slightest bit surprised, though it’s always good to have your suspicions confirmed. So here, in no particular order, is what goes on in my garden when I’m not looking.
Firstly, cats. They always seem completely different at night, a bit like gremlins. Look at the one above, with those scary eyes. The reflecting lens at the back of the eye is called the tapetum lucidum, or bright tapestry, and it glows different colours according to the kind of animal. Apparently if you go out after dark with a torch, you can see the eyeshine of all the spiders. I must give that a try!
And we get cats in daytime too. Look at this fabulous chap. He lives across the road, and sometimes sits on my gatepost like one of those stone lions.
Next, collared doves. They seem to be cropping up everywhere, and they bustle about with perfect confidence, in spite of the moggies.
And then there are the squirrels, who are very flighty indeed.
And then there are those pesky humans, walking backwards and forwards and setting the camera off…
But the main reason that I set up the camera was to see if the foxes visited, and I wasn’t disappointed.
And in broad daylight this very afternoon.
Well, having the camera is a lot of fun, and it has piqued my interest into what the foxes, in particular, are up to. The night time images aren’t clear enough to identify individuals, but what intrigues me is that they don’t seem to have a regular pattern – they’re as likely to turn up at 18.15 as they are at midnight. But what a privilege to have a little window into what goes on after dark. I think I shall definitely have a look and see if I can get one of my own. It’s given me a little taste of the excitement that naturalists must feel when they put out trail cameras to see if there are snow leopards in the area, or to spy on bears. There is something about looking at those images that’s a real treat, because you never know what you’re going to see. And I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, I’ll see cubs later in the year. Keep your fingers crossed!