Saturday, 26 February 2011

foxes sit together scratching

This is all the pictures in worth blogging from stumpishcam,just a jay,couple of rabbits and these 2 foxes,nothing else.I had teamed up with a local wildlife group and together with their trailcams plus one of mine we staked out the whole place to gather evidence on the feral cat movements.At least 15 years they have been hugging the area using the overgrown hedges and scrub for cover to move and lie up in but the neighbours scrub clearance has cleared them all off.All the other cams have been lifted and mine will follow next week,it,s a tragic coincidence that we started this project the very same week that the new owners devastated the ground.I do have a fistful of other projects lined up including a hare survey i,ve been waiting to do but this was the only chance to get some real info like dates and times of the movements of ferals which may of shed some light on those of the big cats.
Still,at least it displays as a perfect example how any piece of ground cannot be looked at in isolation.It shows how destroying the links between woods like the hedges and also the only dense lying up cover in the area will alter it,s attactiveness to certain wildlife.Woods,scrub,thick hedges,streams and ponds,pasture and arable fields all are interlinked and each provide certain needs for certain animals at certain times of the year.Destroy one,the link in the ecological chain is broken and the wildlife will alter their usage of the area drastically thus reducing the overall population densities and biodiversity.The foxes and the rabbits are born survivors though,they adapt readily but even so they will feel the effects.........

Friday, 25 February 2011

Fox found on top of skyscraper

Another foxy news story,if you Google "" then search "fox found on top of Europes tallest building" or simply Google "fox found on 72nd floor" you should find it.......

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Jay with one of its acorn stash

Deep in Sussex,never mind a picture of a big cat,it,s not a mystery why there are no feral cats that stumpish cam is targeting because it,s been a month now and not a sign of any of them.When this cam was here before it picked up 2 different ones regularly now zilch.There,s a lot of scrub clearing being done nearby and i,ve an inkling this has disturbed them,in fact in 2 weeks no roe either have showed up.The scrub in question is maybe a third of a mile away but thick,impenetrable thickets are exactly what animals need to lie up in,animals don,t like to be disturbed and they don,t like a place that has disturbance,they like the place to be quiet and "messy".It,s a real shame,it took decades for that scrub to grow nice and thick like that and i would of bet a penny to a pound that roe and anything else would of been in it any day of the week.This sort of caper is going on all over the place at the moment,i know of at least half a dozen sites across Sussex, even by so called "wildlife friendly people",they may not realise in their ignorance but that little bit of "tidying up"they are doing is destroying the only piece of lying up cover around for several parish,s.Well,they will miss the nightingales this year because they won,t show up there now.Anyway,this jay here has managed to find one of the acorns it stashed way back last autumn.........

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Fox catches mouse & talknite report.

This was our first one and went very well,a good sized crowd packed out the bar in the Lamb to hear about what the big cats in Sussex get up to from the 4 local researchers.People contributed their own sightings and experiences of big cats and we raised £29(made up to £30)from the raffle to be shared equally between St.Peter & St.James hospice,Chailey and the NSPCC.Everyone said they enjoyed themselves and the jovial atmosphere was jollied along by the excellent ale from the landlord of the Lamb,Alec,a special thanks to him for hosting the event.Thanks also to Merrily Harpur and her publishers Roving press for donating our only raffle prize,her book "Roaring Dorset",this was won by a chap who had travelled 2 hours by train from Tunbridge Wells and will be very much appreciated by him,thanks to everyone else who bought tickets.A big thanks also to Rupert Taylor of Sussex (newspaper)and all the shopowners who displayed leaflets.
My fellow researchers have my deepest respect for putting on sterling displays and imparting their knowledge,i think we spanned collectively nigh on 60 years active big cat experience the 4 of us plus the others that were there, the pawprint collections other people have put my own miserable ones to shame,theirs were excellent and i have never seen so many pawprint plastercasts in one place and they were all individuals i noticed.Apologies to those who had trouble getting a place to sit and were so far back they couldn,t hear that well,this was my fault on the seating plan but i really didn,t expect that we would get so many people showing up and seeing as i know most of those that did i suppose i should of known better!After all one of the reasons we put this event on was for people to share their experiences and share them they did.I have managed to fill in the exact gaps i,ve been after so far as the Offham(pronounced oafhem as i was corrected!)cat is concerned and this all tied in very neatly with what i spoke about.This will be blogged in due course on the big cats in Sussex blog but i thought Lewesians deserved to hear it first seeing as it,s the local cat.......

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Foxes mating

These foxes mate very quickly and don,t even tie.In the first pic the dog fox is seen following the vixen,in the second i think it may be the dog fox having a breather from courting,they then mate,briefly,then in the last pic if it,s blown up the foxes can be seen in the far left of the picture with one of them standing up high.I don,t know what they are doing here.It,s quite rare to get mating foxes in the countryside in daytime on camera.I know people who have spent a lifetime trying to get those shots and a trailcam comes up with the goods.Remarkable.......

Monday, 14 February 2011

Bigcat Evening Talk. Lamb inn,Lewes 22feb.

The evening talk will be at the Lamb inn,Fisher street,Lewes on tuesday 22nd feb.Meet at 7.30 for 8pm start.Entrance is free but we will pass the bucket round for charity.It is a lovely pub and just right for what we want it for i think.As i said before we will be presenting evidence like photos of a bigcat seen near Lewes,deer kills,pawprints etc.etc.Holding a question and answer session,talking about what the bigcats get up to in the countryside around Lewes,in particular the Offham cat.etc.etc.Merrily Harpur and her publishers have very kindly given us one of her books "Roaring Dorset" to raffle.It should be an interesting night and if we all have a good time and raise a few quid for charity it will be time well spent.For anyone coming in from outside Lewes,parking is free in the little car park down the road after 6pm or at a push you could park in Tescos and have a 5 min walk up the hill crossing the Phoenix bridge.I,ll have my phone on for anyone struggling.All are welcome......

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Fallow buck /trailcam

It,s like it,s never been away for the stumpishcam,the usual suspects are starting to show up like this fallow showing off his new set of spikes.No feral cats yet but they should show up at some point,roughly every 3 weeks here a couple of months ago.......

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Fox scares 3 roe deer

Stumpcam is back!Though for a slightly different purpose,ive teamed up with a local wildlife group in order to pool our resources,i,m particularly interested in the feral cats that pass through here as they may have similaritys in movements with their much larger cousins and the wildlife group have their cams plotted up elsewhere on this farm,i,ll explain more on this joint project another time.The stump is now in the corner of the shot and the run is in prime view.This sequence of shots show what i think may be a vixen or a small dog fox,i ll be sure of which after i,ve seen them a few times,creeping under the holly bush and a minute or so later the roe rushing out.They don,t go far though as the cam shows.These roe seem a bit jumpy to be scared by just a fox but then she or he might of been on a mission,either hunting for food or hunting for a mate.......

Sunday, 6 February 2011

You tube video of the tree that a bigcat climbed

The bigcat that climbed the tree/pictures

Lavington forestry

This is a better picture to illustrate the denser forestry found over Lavington Heath that i took in september.......
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The bigcat that climbed the tree

A few days ago i changed the You Tube box at the bottom of this page to "tree climbing leopards",the reason being that the instances of bigcats being reported up trees are few and far between however the forensic evidence of them doing so is a lot more commonplace.
I,ll start though with the sighting investigated by Paul last week at Heyshott and he certainly didn,t miss a trick with this one. The situation was this,a large,labrador sized cat was seen up ahead of a lady with her dog on a track in a (mostly)chesnut wood.On realising it had been seen it ran righthanded further into the wood and leapt onto an oak tree trunk,climbing it in 3 bounds,then sat on the northernmost bough for around 2 minutes.The ladys dog acted quite strangely and when Paul met her the next day with it to look at the sighting area noticed the dog acted strangely again when they went into the wood but was fine outside it.
The witness didn,t want to get too close because of her worry for her pet and observed the cat from a distance but could quite clearly make out it,s size in relation to the tree branch.My fellow researcher also noticed small, flakes of bark freshly missing all the way up the trunk consistant with the side that the cat went up it and none the other side.Intrigued,but working the next day but by a strange quirk of fate(the tractor engine gave up the ghost)i managed to get there and found the tree.I know the area well having sightings i,ve investigated going back to "03 and the other similaritys were that the flakes of bark missing had the telltale pinprick holes at the top of them which is consistant with this sort of thing,in fact it is one thing i routinely look for when out and about and before you ask,no,squirrels don,t leave this kind of mark!What is also interesting is that they are usually on oak trees where a squarish flake comes off but on say ash trees a thinner strip,longer at that can sometimes be noticed if at all,there is usually only the pinprick sized hole.Another thing with ash is that i,ve not found them(yet) on completely vertical trunks.
This,although not often reported is more common than we think as how often do we look up at tree canopys when we are out and about?Years ago when i was doing tree surgery i found oak trees gave a treemendous purchase from the bark ,best of the lot and always remember a free climber who went up an oak trunk using only the bark for grip.I would imagine that bigcats would have the same ease of climbing these trees that it wouldn,t get from some others especially say beech and this cat certainly didn,t go up the thinner chesnuts or the spruce.The fact that it went up a tree anyway once again suggests they do all they can to avoid contact with humans or our pets and seeing as the surrounding woodland floor was quite bare of cover i suppose it would be a good choice for it but the question remains is why the hell it didn,t just run off and avoid exposure.This sort of escape might be a good thing in summer when there is full leaf growth but in winter it,s much less desirable.
Personally,i think it made a mistake in judgement and it only gives credence to that it has spent the last 3 months in an area where it could get away with it but not here.As i believe it,s come from the Lavington forestry blocks where it,s spent the winter and moving west to fresher ground,this is not some sort of wild guess as evidence of cats being over that way only surfaces in winter and it,s no coincidence that it,s a no moon time of the month when they do seem to travel more.Actually,the trees over that way would offer more for a tree climbing cat as they are closer together,absent of chesnut but still hold lovely old oak trees............(related article Lavinton Heath and Heyshott dated 5th sept.2010)

Friday, 4 February 2011

Scruffy looking roe buck

One of these roe had knocked the cam a bit hence the tilt,he looks like he,s starting to moult,the earliest i,ve seen yet and being in velvet has a very scruffy sort of appearance.......
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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Bushnell Trophy Cam XLT my review....

Over 2 months down the line and it,s high time i posted my review of the Bushnells.Straight away they are a big leap in the right direction so far as camera trap kit goes being a very small and light unit,in fact cute it could be said.They don,t really need a separate battery but with one the scope for being left for long periods of time is immense,relying on the 8 AA Ni Mh batteries would give nigh on a month in British winter time and the card could be full in this time.However care is needed to insert them with the correct polarity a simpler,better way would be for different wiring so they could be put in the same way.
Also annoying is the loud beep every time a button is pressed,i know when i,ve pressed a button and i don,t need a beeping beep to tell me that.As with any tech gear the different settings must be mastered as with actually setting the things up in situ which is an art in itself and providing the manual is followed with a healthy dose of common sense thrown in some of the problems encountered would be solved.The biggest draw to me with this cam is the sheer quality,especially of daytime pictures and although colour saturation is a little on the heavy side this only makes for more striking pictures and not the washed out sort of things i,ve seen some other makes produce,as i supply landowners and wildlife groups with pictures i want to give them something they will enjoy looking at as they have after all been kind enough to let me plot up a cam on their ground.Some pics have literally blown us all away with their impact and it must be remembered that on upload to blogger some of the quality is lost along the wire so you arn,t seeing what we are seeing .Nightime too and although there can be an issue with blur on moving targets sometimes again the feather detail on like the woodcock with very variable plumage has been outstanding.Nothings perfect and the Bushnell does have a problem with over exposure of some subjects in bright sunlight but then it is just a trailcam after all.I,ve used the video briefly but felt no need to carry on as the trigger speed is,according to Trailcampro,1.7 something seconds,this has been disputed by some other review sites however they haven,t had the proper measuring kit or come up with accurate figures,in fact some of their reviews of products have been shoddyly put together works of fiction so i wonder who,s really buttering their bread.As trailcam review sites go Trailcampro are the ultimate and though they do sell kit they do do things thoroughly and with accuracy plus they actually use trailcameras themselves,i would only ever buy bones off a butcher not a baker so i trust them the most and they have proved to me to be spot on in their reviews.
Back to video mode there are better video even HD cams out there but the Bushnell will do a basic job and for a third less money,don,t forget us trailcam addicts don,t just buy one cam,we can never have enough cams,at least i can,t anyway so this will do the video job for me albeit a little hamfistedly and i can have 3 Bushnells for 2 of the other makes.I expect reliability from any of my kit doesn,t matter what it is otherwise it will get thrown against the wall,metaphorically speaking of course and the little Bushnells have only ever pleased me being the real deal that they are.As for toughness i had one of my small string of cams under 3 ft of snow and out in the full blown,wet and windy maritime weather we have,the windiest country in Europe we are,still the cute little Bushnells keep on chugging away without the dreaded condensation affecting the also rans in the trailcam market,touch wood,but then this is what drew me to Bushnell in the first place as i have an old,20year old Busnell scope,bullet proof but with the scars to prove it still going strong and functions as well as the day i swapped it for a box of parsnips all those years ago so the pedigree is there.
All is not well though for Bushnell in the slagging off stakes for a flick through Google will reveal people blaming the units for everything under the sun including making one chap forget his lunch so caveat emptor i think is the Roman expression and one foxes meat is another,s poison is another.I bought mine from Binoculars UK and they were extremely helpful on the phone and in being the cheapest on the net plus they have given all readers of this blog who want to buy off them a discount code which is SMA,don,t expect a fortune off but they do do deals so you can,t ask fairer than that ..............(N.B no trailcameras were harmed in the process of making this article)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The foxes are quieter now.

The foxes have quietened down a lot in front of the scrubcam after they mated last week.The dog fox shows up a bit less and was panting on the 25th at night,probably after hunting.They were only pictured twice together and were quite far apart at that just like they were a few weeks ago.The woodcock have gone as they have from the other camspots,i think this is due to them feeding out in the open fields more now as the weather is a bit milder and not due to migration of the continentals going back as i would of thought it,s a little too soon for that..........