A week on the trailcam

6 to 12 Aug 2020

I moved the trailcam. This turned out to be a good move. I moved it near a water trough and at around ground level. This spot isn’t visible from the house, or the garden for that matter. Quite secluded. It has proved to be a popular drinking spot.

There are lots of moulting magpies. Or perhaps just one moulting magpie. One moulting magpie looks pretty like another to me. It’s also possible that it’s a juvenile. There are a few sequences of a blackbird feeding its youngsters, (4:00 and 7:05), with what appears to be some peanuts that I’d scattered on the ground. Although they look pretty scrunched up I think I’ll keep the peanuts in cages until the birds are a bit bigger. A few long-tailed tits show up from time to time. I love the whirring their wings make when they fly off.

Some interesting blackcap behaviour at 4:33, where a female, possibly juvenile, blackcap approaches a female chaffinch. I don’t know what’s going on there. Perhaps it’s a juvenile looking for food. It also illustrates a conundrum I occasionally have with the Garden BirdWatch scheme. If I observe a bird on the trailcam, but not from my usual watching positions, do I add it to my records?

The juvenile greater spotted woodpecker is a regular visitor, at 8:56, then 9:58 visible on the fat-block feeder in the background, then at the water trough at 15:23, 18:03, 18:28 and 18:58. There’s a nice catch of a male bullfinch in the sunlight at 14:33.

I’ve moved the camera again. When the birds are perched on the nearside of the trough they’re just a little out of focus so I’m guessing it’s just a shade too close to the camera. And the trough needs filled. Poor birds are having to bend down a long way to get to the water. The other thing I may try and adjust is the timer. The default recording period is 10seconds, but in theory this should extend if activity is being detected, but in practice this doesn’t always happen. This can be a little frustrating if there’s activity on the camera and the recording suddenly ends.

Trying to film bees

The tree bumblebees in the nest box are an interesting photo challenge. Quite easy to film and photo on the iPhone, but trying to use a zoom lens on the SLR was a different sort of challenge. I’m not sure if the quality is any better, and both the me and the bees found the constant chatter of the lens as it autofocused quite distracting. Manual focus seems the way to go.

Buff-tailed bumblebee on Beauty Bush

The North East Bee Hunt has been great for helping me recognise bumblebees in the garden. You don’t need to know much to be able to distinguish the common bumblebees. I’ve gone from “they’re all just bees” to being able to recognise the ones that come to visit the garden.