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.

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:

Monday, 2 May 2011

Our Largest Rodent

The local Porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) is the largest rodent in Africa, weighing, apparently, up to 24kg. Even though it is a shy creature I'm not sure I'd be happy stumbling over a 24kg specimen on a dark night!

They live mostly on roots and bulbs and can do extensive damage to vegetable gardens and cultivated crops. Reportedly they are not averse to nibbling occasionally on animal carcasses and tend also to get caught in traps baited for carvivores. What is not in doubt is that they have an interesting habit of gnawing on bones. In my experience an old bone placed in front of the camera will almost always stop these guys, for a while at least.

You'd think that those spikes would make them pretty immune from attack. However there must be something very tasty about their flesh because large carnivores find them worth attacking - often with ugly consequences for both animals. They can't throw their quills but can reverse pretty quickly as a defense mechanism. I've recorded plenty of images like this:

This is not a particularly relaxed porcupine and looks like it's expecting an imminent attack by my trailcam. However they do relax after a while and continue on their snuffling way, seemingly oblivious to the camera.

Even though porcupines are regular 'catches' on my cameras I've, sadly, only ever seen a few in the flesh. Happily however they drop their quills everywhere as a reminder that they are indeed pretty common. I wish I did actually see them more often because they are very cool, and great survivors in both urban and wild environments.