What is BushCam Adventures?

BushCam Adventures attempts to share some of the amazing images, stories and insights that I've collected during my camera-trapping adventures.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

R.I.P. brave little Bushnell.

Bushnell Trophy Cam serial # B101214948 has probably taken its last image. Having withstood the fiercest Cape storms, ignored the biting ants that invaded its battery compartment and photographed Africa's beasts without flinching, my trusty camera-trap was taken. The culprit is unknown but could either be a lion or a hyaena - there were tracks of both where the camera last stood. I guess 'taken by a lion' has a better ring to it but the odds must favour the hyaena. Either way, the last image it took probably looks something like this:

It could either represent the inside of a lion's mouth or the gloom of a hyaena den. Expert trackers have had a go looking for the camera but to no avail. I would love to find it though. However, I guess its not so much the camera that I'd like to see again - but rather those last images on the memory card.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

One Morning at the Suricate Den

Meercats (Suricata suricatta) generally live in the drier parts of Southern Africa and are much loved by almost everyone who comes in contact with them. They can be habituated to the presence of humans fairly quickly and didn't seem overly concerned when I set up a camera at their burrow. Within minutes of me walking away the first noses poked out of the ground to see what the commotion was about.

Meercats are entirely diurnal and my camera showed absolutely no activity between just after sunset and just after sunrise - when the following images were taken. It was a cold night, just above freezing, so the early morning sun must have been welcome. And, much like my household, the parents were up before the kids.

7:20 am - the first sign of life

7:24 am

7:30 am

7:31 am

7:32 am

7:33 am


7:35 am  

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Things that (don't) go BUMP in the night.

I've just returned from a great trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. I always love going there but this time was particularly special since I got to set up some cameras at various sites not accessible to the public (thanks Jan!). I'll post a few images of those sites in due course but, for today, some images from our camping site.

The campsite was unfenced so there was a good chance that lions would wander through - as they often do. So I set up a few cameras in the hope of getting some shots of these beasts bumping into my tent!
Well, it never happened. The big cats came pretty close one night but not close enough for a photo - and maybe that's a good thing.

But we weren't entirely alone:
 A Cape Fox (Vulpes charma). I know foxes are considered to be vermin in some parts but around here seeing one is a treat. These guys seldom get habituated to humans so generally behave as foxes should: pretty furtive and secretive.

A Black-backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas). They're not nearly as cute, in my opinion, as the Cape Fox. Known for their cunning and wariness their nocturnal calls are a feature of the African night.

..and lastly....

A Brown Hyaena (Parahyaena brunnea). It's always a treat to see these guys too. They're pretty solitary and nocturnal and, unlike their Spotted relatives, never very vocal. Even though they can weigh over 40kg and are pretty capable of ripping up carrion there is nothing too scary about them. They're welcome to bump into my tent any time!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

More Frustrations of a Camera-Trapper!

Notwithstanding the immense pleasure I get from my cameras, there are just days where frustration outweighs pleasure. Yesterday was one of them!
I've had a few cameras at an interesting site for some weeks and had been hoping for some great shots. I'd previously got some blurred images of a leopard (see 'A New Site') so I'd replaced the infrared Bushnells with Cuddebacks.
This is why I was frustrated:

A headless honey-badger (Mellivora capensis). These guys aren't particularly rare in these part but I've never got a good shot of one. They seldom stand still!

A headless Large-spotted Genet (Genetta tigrina). As above, could have been a nice pic.

But worst of all.........

A headless leopard! The camera was correctly positioned, the exposure was perfect .......just a few milliseconds too late!

Grrrrrrr........but I'll be back.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

A New Site

I'm embarrassed that I haven't posted anything for a while. It's not that my interest has waned - it's just that I don't feel inspired by images that I've been recording. I figure that if I'm not excited by the same-old-same-old pics that I've been getting, then there is no reason why my followers should be.
However, I've recently been allowed into an access-controlled nature conservancy which I think is going to be rewarding. Here are some of my first photos:

 A male Grey Rhebuck (Pelea capreolus) with female in the background. These antelope are fairly common in these parts but one usually sees then dashing away with their white tails flashing as warning signs.

 A Common Eland (Tragelaphus oryx) which is the world's heaviest antelope, weighing up to 900kg. Even though they have something of a cow-like appearance, and attitude, they are great jumpers and can clear a 2m fence. Perhaps that is why they are not farmed for their meat (which is apparently of high quality) more often - although many people have tried.

 Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra) - distinguished from the more common Plains Zebra by the lack of stripes on it's belly. It was once widespread in the mountainous areas of the southern tip of Africa but now is largely restricted to nature reserves.

A couple of young Red Hartebeest (Acelaphus buselaphus). This species was also widely distributed in the old days but, again, is now largely confined to protected areas.

However this was my favorite image:
The Secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius). If there is a "big 5" of the African bird world this guy has to be on the list. They are very successful snake killers and do this by dancing around the unfortunate serpent and striking it with downward blows of their feet. Sadly their status is listed as near-threatened and it would be a sad day if one never again saw them striding across the African grasslands.

However, what excited me most about my first images were these:

Notwithstanding the fuzzy images there is no doubting that there is a leopard (or leopards) patrolling the area. It's time to set up the Cuddebacks along this jeep track to see if I can capture some more impressive shots.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Reflections in the Trough

As regular readers of my blog will know I recently spent some time at a game ranch in Namibia. I had a number of cameras set up at water-holes but one, a simple drinking trough, was particularly 'productive'. When the water in the trough was still it created some great reflections. I particularly like these - no commentary necessary:

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Happy Hogs

During my recent trip to Namibia I set up a number of cameras at various water-holes on the property. Some were large and required a few cameras to monitor them properly. However one was a simple drinking trough which gave me some wonderful images. I doubt it got any more traffic than the others - its just that due to its size -the camera was able to capture everything that visited.
Our Common Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) is a great character. Whether kneeling on the ground while grazing or running through the grass with their tails erect they bring a smile to the face of any safari-goer.
They love muddy water - but also have no problem with clean water, as these images show:

Dad arrived at the pool first.  Mmmmm.... time to cool off.

Man..... that feels good.

Later it was the turn of Mum and the teenagers:

Ok kids, bombs away.......

Hey  Sis, check out the cool bubbles behind Mum. Whoa, we've got to drink this water afterwards!

 No Honey, I've told you before - no swimming right after lunch!

Bliss, peace at last!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Camera - Trapper's Heaven

I've just returned from an amazing trip to a game ranch in northern Namibia.The purpose was to set up my cameras to see what game frequented some of the more remote parts of the property. I was only able to have my cameras out for four nights but in that time recorded more than 10,000 images! Granted, I had the cameras set to shoot almost as often as possible - but it has been quite a task sorting through the images.
The reason for the huge number of images was twofold: Firstly because there are loads of animals that are forced to drink at only a limited number of water holes (Namibia being a very dry country). But also because herd animals like zebra and kudu like nothing better than hanging out at a drinking spot for as long as possible. Big guys like these easily trigger the cameras at 20m, especially at night when its cool.

 A young kudu bull keeps watch before slaking his thirst.

I unfortunately didn't manage to catch any lions coming to the water holes but nevertheless recorded plenty of spotted hyaena as well as fleeting images of leopards.

 Also common at the water holes were some of Africa's most enigmatic creatures:

...and Mr Aardvark

 Not to be outdone the feathered types also were spectacular:

A White-backed Vuture looking to get that carrion taste out of his mouth.

  ...and an African Hawk-Eagle waiting for a suicidal dove.

So, if you will indulge me, I'd like to share in the next few posts some of my favourite images that I recorded.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Frustrations of a Camera -Trapper

Its been a disappointing few weeks. I've had my cameras out in some promising spots and know there were interesting nocturnal amimals around. But do you think I could get a decent picture .....no.

This is the back of our local lynx, or caracal (Caracal caracal). The raised hindquarters are pretty diagnostic and its a beautiful cat - probably the apex predator in the farmlands around here.

This little face belongs to the Striped Polecat (Ictonyx striatus). I've never caught one on my cameras before and its been on my wish-list for a while. Sadly one sees these little guys often as road-kill.

This, I believe, is a Cape Grysbok (Raphicerus malanotis). If I'd got a good colour photo the lovely rufous-brown coat with white flecks would have been impressive - but it was not to be.

However, this is the image that I'm really bummed about:

I'm pretty sure it's a Cape Fox (Vulpes chama) since nothing else around here has a bushy tail like this. I would love to have got a good picture of him. It's the only true fox in the region and very seldom seen - certainly be me!

But obviously all is not lost. The animals are here so it's just a matter of catching them. Perhaps a job for my Cuddeback cameras which will usually give a good night-time colour image.

Oh,  I did get one good image. I'll call it Canis pesticus: