Conservation Manager, Stuart Benn, is back with a new blog...

Senses working overtime

It turns out that our puppy is scared of owls.

This wasn’t a problem during their silent summer months but the local tawnies have become really noisy on these cold, clear autumn nights and when we take Brin out for his last turn their kewicks make him prick up his ears and head off rapidly in the opposite direction.

But, other than the owls, what else is around us at night? How can we tell what is moving about when it’s too dark for us to see and we don’t have the sense of smell of a dog? I’ve always wanted to know so, taking my lead from Springwatch and Autumnwatch, I recently got myself a trail camera that can take pics at night. It wasn’t going to be a mystery for much longer!

First night – bingo! At 1020 pm a fox goes by – no wonder Brin had a good sniff there the next morning!  

After some more nights of fox photos (not to mention most of the local cats!), I decided to branch out a bit further and took the camera to a bit of rough ground with some gorse a couple of miles from Inverness. A wee trail through the grass looked promising as an animal run so I set up the camera looking along it, left it overnight and returned the next day.

I didn’t know what I was going to find when I checked out the SD card - this time it was a badger!

I guess I always knew that there were foxes and badgers about but for the first time I can now find out where they’re nosing around and when they’re active. In some ways it’s a whole new world but really it’s just a different take on the places near our homes that we think we know so well.

But this is just the start – I’ve loads more ideas of where to put the camera and will share what I get with you but, in the meantime, here’s a pic of a badger and an owl taken during the day courtesy of our local Brownies!