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.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


One of the things that I love about using a trailcam is the anticipation of seeing the results. Normal wildlife photography is fun but I usually have a sense of how the photo will turn out as soon as I press the shutter. With a trailcam you simply have no idea.
Clearly it makes little sense to install a camera in a spot where nothing is likely to wander by. I'm always childishly optimistic that I'll get something exciting and rare! So when I approach the camera, which may have been out for a night or a month, I look for clues as to what I might have caught. Fresh tracks or scat is good to see as is disturbed ground in front of the camera.
What I don't like to see, in this part of the world, is evidence that baboons have visited.

 Baboons can't resist investigating anything unusual and I invariably find the camera at some crazy angle. What follows this shot is usually a series of waving branches.

The next indication one gets is on opening the camera. Most trailcams have a counter that indicates how many images are on the memory card. In setting up the camera, as well as retrieving it, a couple of images usually get taken. So my heart sinks if the counter shows only two recorded images. Conversely, if it shows many hundreds, then it's likely that the camera has been triggered by waving branches. So, my favourite sight is a counter that shows about 20 shots: something has triggered the camera but it's probably not branches!

So I was disappointed the other day when I opened the Cuddeback, after a week in the hills, and found only two images. But when I looked at the images on my laptop, what a SURPRISE.....

A nicely framed Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus). While these little antelope are not rare in these parts one seldom gets up close to take a photo.They live almost exclusively in rocky habitats and can disappear up the mountainside in a flash. Their coarse hair was once prized for stuffing saddles. That fact was another surprise for me.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Who Needs a Trailcam

Right in front of our house at the beach is a small lagoon/pond that is regularly visited by Cape Clawless Otters. We've seen them occasioanlly but I've never managed to get a photo of these otters on my trailcam. So, as dusk was falling, I found myself getting a few trailcams ready for a night's work. Suddenly I glanced up and saw a large otter slip out of the pond and make its way slowly across the beach towards the sea. I grabbed my binoculars and dashed down to the beach, followed closely by my teenage son.The otter saw us, calmly turned around and headed back into the dune vegetation. We presumed that was the last we'd see of him but suddenly he/she appeared back in the pond. What followed was, for us, the most extrordinary otter-viewing experience.
We had by that time been joined by my son's friends, one of whom was an exchange student who had the foresight to grab his camera.

The otter swam a little, snorting all the while, then got out and rolled in the sand. He seemed completely self absorbed in his rolling and only occasionally looked up - and gave us a bit of a stare. Then he got back in the water again and swam towards us - snorting even more loudly! One of us took a couple of steps backwards - but  I won't say who!
He then then got out of the water and again rolled around in the sand, as before. He repeated the swim & roll routine once more before slowly making his way down the beach and, presumably, into the sea.

I was stunned. I've seen many amazing wildlife 'sightings' but this was certainly up there with the best of them.
So, who needs a trailcam! You just need to be at the right place at the right time - and of course, have a New Zealander with a camera with you.