Introducing.. duck cam!

 

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The ducks have entered the murky world of surveillance.

 

I’ve been pondering getting a trail camera for a while. Each morning before breakfast, weather permitting, I go on a tour of inspection. Which of my precious new plantings have been munched overnight? What has been trampled? And who placed those ‘deposits’ oh so carefully, dead centre of the path, right where I am sure to put my foot?

If I’m ever to stand a chance of outwitting the forces ranged against me there’s only one place to start: Know Your Enemy.

 
 

Trail Cam 001[2]2

 
 

Obviously, some setting up is involved and refinement of technique.

And I’ve no idea where that temperature came from. Nothing remotely that high has been seen in these parts this summer. Perhaps it’s because the camera was out in the sun.

 
 

Trail Cam 002[1]

 
 

It also helps to remember where the camera is, and when it is switched on, if one is not to be caught out

 
 

Trail Cam 003[1]

 
 

Doh. Some people never learn

 
 

Trail Cam 004[1]

 
 

There are no prizes for guessing who would be the first to show up.

But my main interest was to find out what prowls around at night..

 
 

Trail Cam 009[1]

 
 

Fox

Not unexpected. I’ve seen them even in broad daylight.

 
 

Trail Cam 006[1]

 

No idea what this is.. it seems all legs. Fox cub? Baby deer?

 
 

Trail Cam 008[1]

 
 

Gotcha!

There does seem to be something amiss with the temperature recording on the camera. Much as I’ve complained about the weather it didn’t get THAT low last month. Even if the early morning sun shining through the trees does look more like a hoar frost!

 

There have been other surprises too.

 
 

 

I had no idea we have hedgehogs. I’ve captured one in stills at various points around the garden as well, so either it’s an extremely active individual or there is a whole family living here.

 

And finally. No, we didn’t get a cat. So this really takes the biscuit..

 
 

 

Seems to have its territory well marked out..!

 
 
 

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Techie update: I’m back online courtesy of a gadget that taps into the mobile network and works remarkably well considering it’s normally impossible to get a signal inside the house. It’s certainly more comfortable than sitting on a rock in a field, especially as the rain has returned with a vengeance! I’ll have a proper catch up with everyone as soon as broadband returns, hopefully early next week. Have a great weekend.

 
 
 
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2017-02-16T21:04:42+00:00 August 21st, 2015|Tags: |72 Comments

72 Comments

  1. Mark and Gaz August 21, 2015 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Such a cool gadget! I quite fancy one now!

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      The tricky bit is trying to anticipate where the action is going to happen. Last night we saw a huge male roe deer down by the river.. camera in the hall awaiting deployment. Tonight, camera is installed on the deer’s path. And the deer? Nowhere to be seen.

  2. Caro August 21, 2015 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    OooOOOooh! I want one of those!! That leggy creature does look like a fawn – I’m amazed at the number of creatures in the night garden; I wonder what would show up in mine. Probably just foxes, cats and mice. Does it only record when there’s movement and how does it record the images – straight to your computer? It puts the squirrel spinner in the gadget shade.

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      It picks up movement and/or heat and then triggers in 0.2 seconds! The first unit we had wasn’t picking up much at all. It turned out to be faulty and went back for replacement. The first time out with the second one I set it to maximum sensitivity and we had 4000 photos of wafting ferns! It records on to an SD card in the camera which we then retrieve and read on the computer.

  3. Pauline August 21, 2015 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    I agree with Caro, your leggy creature looks like a young deer. Usually I go by deposits in the garden to know who has visited overnight ! It will be fascinating to find out what is prowling around, I look forward to more videos!

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      It is fascinating. They have a right proper party out there when the sun goes down!

  4. Marian St.Clair August 21, 2015 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    I made a present of one to Tim for Christmas several years ago and we had great fun capturing the wildlife along the river–deer, coyotes, raccoons, foxes, and so on. Now, however, it is pointed directly at the front door, as we’re trying to catch the teenagers who are having fun ringing our doorbell in the middle of the night.

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 8:33 pm - Reply

      Brilliant. The catching, not the doorbell ringing!

  5. pbmgarden August 21, 2015 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    This looks like fun. Quite a few surprises.

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      I never guessed we had a cat visiting. Although I suppose I should have, there’s enough live bait about..

  6. Rosie August 21, 2015 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    You have had some interesting visitors to your night garden, I’d love to see what is digging holes in our lawn in the early hours:)

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      Squirrels?

  7. AnnetteM August 21, 2015 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    How exciting. Your blog just got even better with this new addition.

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      It’s a bit of fun each morning, going out to get the card to see what we’ve ‘caught’!

  8. Angie August 21, 2015 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Squirrel cam has nothing on this Jessica. I do hope your hedgehog turns out to be a whole family, in a space such as yours you’d expect there to be hedgehogs.
    Looking forward to seeing what visits in future. You’ll both have great fun with this gadget I’m sure.

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      Yes, I’m delighted we have hedgehogs so I hope there are more.

  9. Beth @ PlantPostings August 21, 2015 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Hedgehogs and roaming cats! How fun to capture those surprises. We have a wildlife cam, but we haven’t had it out much. Thanks for the reminder to set it up and watch the show. 🙂

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      There have been so many instances where we’ve seen tracks or heard peculiar noises and said we should have a wildlife cam. I hope we’ll find out a lot more about the critters that share this space with us.

  10. Vera August 21, 2015 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    What a good idea, and we could do with one of those gadgets here. On the other hand perhaps it is better not to know what hangs around during at night. I am thinking about Himself with this. He is thinking about joining the local gun club so he can be a registered gun keeper, and seeing what is lurking about the place at night might have him being more enthusiastic about taking pot shots at whatever it is. He can shoot properly, but would probably not be so accurate if half asleep!

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      Eeek..

  11. Brian Skeys August 21, 2015 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    The roaming cat has not been earning his keep by reducing the population of bulb eaters for you, Jessica.
    I look forward to some more night time viewing.

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      He looks rather plump, so maybe he has.. there are so many bulb eaters we could lose two a night and it would still be but a drop in the ocean.

  12. frayed at the edge August 21, 2015 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    Maybe we should get one of those to find out which of our neighbours’ many cats has been using our raised beds as a toilet – we haven’t been able to eat our lettuce, because of cat poo!! I have been threatening all of the nasty things with dire retribution – although I was informed by a friend this afternoon that it is probably illegal to put a cat on the barbecue!!!

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      It’s odd because as far as I know neither of our neighbours have a cat. The mice must make it worth a long walk.

  13. kate@barnhouse August 21, 2015 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Wow, what an amazing gadget. Incredible to see what goes on in the under the cover of darkness. We have trouble with cats too, it’s a misery in the veg garden, I’ve set up a Canada Goose scarer – it attaches to a hosepipe and when the sensor is triggered it shoots a jet of water, I hope at the offending Tom cat (and not the innocent hedgehogs).

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      I hope it works, cats aren’t fond of water are they. Occasionally, when the squirrels mess up the calibration, the spinner on the bird feeder activates if a woodpecker lands on it. I feel very guilty about that. The woodpecker always returns, but cautiously!

  14. studiohyde August 21, 2015 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    I’m not one to use the word ‘awesome’ very often,but this is that moment AWESOME. How wonderful to sleep whilst a camera records happenings in your neck of the woods 🙂

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      Far more goes on than I ever knew about! Probably not tonight though, it’s raining cats and dogs 😉

  15. CJ August 21, 2015 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Brilliant, my eldest would love one of those. And how fantastic that you have hedgehogs. I wonder if that’s a wallaby too? It will be interesting to see what else turns up. There is somewhere you can record hedgehog sightings (dead or alive), I will let you know if I manage to find the link for it, or maybe you already know about it. Wishing you a good weekend Jessica. CJ xx

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      It’s so sad that hedgehog numbers are dwindling, I’m glad we’re doing our bit. Do let me have the link if you find it.

  16. mattb325 August 21, 2015 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    What a great gadget – I sure could use one to see what devours my plants and merry converts them to pellets in the night! It’s great to see hedgehogs in your garden 🙂

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 10:13 pm - Reply

      In your case it might be a wallaby (see CJ’s comment)!

  17. Jayne Hill August 21, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    Welcome to the joys of deleting five hundred and eleventy seven photos of you weeding/cutting grass/wandering around not realising how odd your face looks when no-one’s looking! Glad you are enjoying DuckCam 🙂

    Your hedgehog is likely to be just one individual, they are fairly solitary unless mating and can travel a couple of miles a night.

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      Luckily I can delete the most incriminating photos! He certainly looks a feisty hedgehog so I would imagine he (or she) gets around a bit. Lovely to have, however many there are.

  18. Linda aka Crafty Gardener August 21, 2015 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    What a neat gadget that gives you insight to the night tie visitors.

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      The video quality is better during the day, but then of course the creatures tend to keep their distance. The other problem is the low level of light in the wood. The camera often thinks it is dark and switches to infrared even when the sun is shining.

  19. Kris P August 22, 2015 at 1:14 am - Reply

    I love the duck cam! Now I want one too. Of course, I suspect it’ll only raise my blood pressure to see those dastardly raccoons messing with my garden. It would be interesting to discover what is eating the flowers of my ‘Sunbather’ Gazanias, though.

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 10:39 pm - Reply

      Yours would have to fire ammo as well as take pictures Kris. Even if they’re only rubber bullets.

  20. homeslip August 22, 2015 at 9:22 am - Reply

    The cat looks very well fed (too well fed to bother much with mice?) and the hedgehog was bustling about just as one imagines from reading The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. I can see you are going to have hours of fun with this. How far from Dartmoor and the black beast are you exactly?

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 10:44 pm - Reply

      Not that far..
      It certainly doesn’t look like a wild cat does it. But it was looking down at the veggie raised beds, where there are a lot of mice at the moment. So I’m hopeful.

  21. Sam August 22, 2015 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Brilliant – what a great idea. I’d like to find out what’s taking bites out of our low-down apples… Very interesting to find out what goes on in your garden at night. I look forward to more revelations! PS Glad you’re sorted out re internet connection.

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      It’s a temporary internet fix, expensive and also keeps dropping out. But it is 4G and apparently achieved a 31Mb download speed tonight. Totally unheard of!

  22. SeagullSuzie August 22, 2015 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    I was just saying to hubby how it would be a good idea to get one to capture the birds at the top of the garden, as it’s on a slope which can’t easily be seen. I could capture on camera Mr and Mrs Blackbird for starters!

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 10:48 pm - Reply

      We caught plenty of blackbirds. And robins. The smallest things set it off, even moths!

  23. Alain August 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Like everyone else I could do with one of those. Raccoons would be centre stage. I might lean how they manage to trip the live trap and get the bait.

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 10:54 pm - Reply

      That would be interesting. It’s mostly birds that trip it here. Lots of pictures and videos to trawl through to see anything bigger. I’m after getting one of the larger deer at the moment, but they are proving elusive. If we get snow this year I’ll have a better idea of where they go.

  24. J-P Stacey (@jpstacey) August 22, 2015 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    That deer could be a youngish muntjac, which would explain why its er hindquarters look higher than its head. They’re basically elongated eggs on four wobbly stilts, aren’t they?

    Speaking of hindquarters, hedgehogs have the most hilarious, don’t they? I want one of these inventions now!

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 11:04 pm - Reply

      Hi J-P and welcome!
      I think you’re spot on. I had wondered whether it was a deer at all because it’s actually quite small. I was comparing it to the bunny in the photo below, the deer is only a short distance further back up the drive. A young muntjac would be about the right size.

  25. Sigrun August 22, 2015 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Cool, I want one! That is great – very intersting to know who is in the garden at night. And I also think: It’s better to know my enemy.

    Sigrun

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 11:10 pm - Reply

      When plants get nibbled now I can set up the camera next to the plant and see exactly who the culprit is!

  26. Island Threads August 22, 2015 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    well Jessica the mice seem to have plenty of predators, pity they are not doing their job properly, you do have a very hard time with wildlife,
    I’m glad you have sorted something out with connecting to the internet, and thanks for taking time to visit my blog, there were some programmes on the radio these last couple of weeks about people having problems with BT and Openreach, seems we have not been alone, I hope fibre will be with you soon, Frances

    • Jessica August 22, 2015 at 11:15 pm - Reply

      Fibre has got to a cabinet about a mile away but that’s as close as it will get. When it’s finally connected up it will be via the old copper cable the rest of the way. It probably means it will never be fast. The temporary solution was working well but it too has been dropping horrendously tonight. The trials and tribulations of living in the country.

      • Island Threads August 23, 2015 at 12:10 pm - Reply

        interesting what you say about the fibre being switched to copper for the last lap of the journey, this was one of the things discussed and heavily criticised in one of the programmes I heard, a lot of people are in this position and many trying to run businesses, it was also suggested that Openreach was putting all it’s energy and money into fibre and the rest was being neglected, of course the Openreach representative denied this, islands will need special under sea cables so I doubt if we will ever have fibre,
        I know you are in the country (rural) but you are not miles from any where, you are in the south of England one of the most populated areas, in one programme examples were given in contrast of how people in extreme rural areas in other countries have fast broadband when in the UK people living just a few miles from large towns are still on dial up! and any form of internet connection only covers 95% of the UK so 5% have none, the Openreach excuse was that they were dealing with old equipment which they were replacing, it was then pointed out that over the years BT has been making a lot of money so why have they not been upgrading the equipment, this was not answered (no surprise there then),
        in the 70s or 80s there used to be a Saturday morning children’s TV prog called ‘why don’t you switch off and do something else’ when I was without the internet I decided to try it and it took a while but I finally found myself doing things I have not done for years, I found it helped relax me instead of wasting energy getting frustrated, happy Sunday, Frances

        • Jessica August 24, 2015 at 9:02 pm - Reply

          I keep thinking back to the number of times (on TV) I have seen smartphones in use in the middle of the African bush and the like. We’ve even been without Mike’s mobile broadband gizmo for the past 24 hours because that went down too. And the landline phone went a week ago. It really does feel we’re in the Dark Ages!

  27. Julieanne August 22, 2015 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    Must be lots of fun having the duck cam. I had no idea hedgehogs moved that fast so I learned something new. Fascinating to learn what happens in the garden when our lights are off.

    • Jessica August 24, 2015 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      I had no idea they have such long legs!

  28. Denise August 23, 2015 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Jessica – can you give details of where you bought this – I want one! Dx

    • Jessica August 24, 2015 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      I’ll email you Denise.

  29. Sue Garrett August 23, 2015 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    I’d quite like a better trail camera but I think ours would reveal more cats than anything else.

    • Jessica August 24, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      That was the one thing I really was not expecting. I don’t know of anyone round here who has a cat.

  30. Amy August 24, 2015 at 7:26 am - Reply

    It must be fun – and perhaps a shade nervewracking? – to discover what there is prowling about your garden at night! Especially that hedgehog 🙂

    • Jessica August 24, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      I’m waiting for the beast of Bodmin Moor.. that would be fun. Plenty of mice for it to eat.

  31. Linda B. August 24, 2015 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    I am learning my visitors from their lovely deposits, as you note, right in the middle of paths in various areas of the garden.

    • Jessica August 24, 2015 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      The pheasant is the past master. His trick is to leave a present right outside the kitchen door.

  32. snowbird August 24, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    How fascinating to see so many critters! Such a fab gadget. I loved the fawn and good to see you have hogs….and a cat! What does that squirrel think he’s playing at???xxx

    • Jessica August 24, 2015 at 9:16 pm - Reply

      I thought of you (and Rose H) when I saw the hogs. It’s really great news that they’re here. I’d put the camera in that position to try and capture the squirrel in mid air, off the end of the path, after I’d chased it from the bird feeder. Unfortunately the shutter speed isn’t that quick so it didn’t work!

  33. bittster August 26, 2015 at 2:30 am - Reply

    Haha, I love this! What fun 🙂
    I hope you get a few more surprises (of the good kind of course) as the season plays out!

    • Jessica August 26, 2015 at 11:30 am - Reply

      It needs to go back out again tonight. The last few days we’ve had torrential rain so probably not worth getting the camera soaked for the few creatures that would be around. I’m looking forward to seeing what else is out there and getting some better shots of those we’ve already seen.

  34. jenhumm116 August 27, 2015 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Welcome back – you’ve been missed!

    • Jessica August 27, 2015 at 7:16 pm - Reply

      Turns out the mobile gizmo doesn’t work in the rain, can you believe it? Just when I was thinking we’d cracked it, at least for now.

  35. Piddlewick August 28, 2015 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Been so busy (we are nearing harvest of our grapes) but I kept your post to reply when I had a moment – only to say ‘I want one!!!!’ So very jealous. (in a good way). I would just love to see what our various critters get up to, and what’s been eating our carrots – just the tops of the carrots, not the greens or the rest down in the earth. Weird.

    • Jessica August 28, 2015 at 10:45 pm - Reply

      That’s why I got it in the first place.. to see what was attacking my sweetcorn. There are more sightings in the wilder parts of the garden, as perhaps we might expect. It’s a case of finding somewhere there isn’t too much swishing undergrowth as movement sets it off. Great fun though!
      Good luck with the grapes, a nerve wracking time.

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