The disappearing Polecat (Mustela putorius), hungry fox (Vulpes vulpes), Badger (Meles meles), Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Field Mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)
Where has our polecat (Mustela putorius) gone? We have not seen it for over a week. For several days it came out and played, and now he has gone. I start this video with a short recap of last week’s video. There is the polecat rolling on the ground, he spots the fox and then with fear backs into the hole. You see the fox smelling the ground around where the polecat had rolled. Mr Fox then leaves, coming back at 7.55 in the morning and going straight underground. The new video images start, and you see Mr Fox rush out at 13.47.
We never saw the polecat again; we fear Mr Fox has had a polecat breakfast.
During the rest of the week, Mr Fox and Brock the Badger made appearances, including a very wet Badger during the overnight rain.
A beautiful (??) cat paid the compost heap a fleeting visit. We have seen her before, we don’t know which Humes she owns.
I moved the camera to the other hole last night, not much other than rabbits, and a cute mouse. I removed the card just as the snow had started, and there is an image of a rabbit in the snowfall.
For the last week, we have been trying other locations for the camera trap to find where our animals were visiting.
The first area was nearby the garden pond, I spied a well-trodden trail and set the camera up there. Mr Fox would run through here coming and going, possibly leaving our neighbours chickens and looking at the compost heap. The next area in the garden was by the woodshed, this showed rabbits and nothing more. Mr Fox though seen heading in that direction did not appear to visit these rabbits.
The final new location was by the field pond. I tried a couple of locations, looking in at rabbit holes. We mainly saw rabbits and brief glimpses of the fox as it was making its way quickly from one area to another. The odd bird would also appear during the daylight. After a complaint by one viewer about the lack of rabbits, I have included a rabbit. It is said that in nature counts, the rarest animals and birds are indeed the most populous. People count the rare species and ignore the pesky rabbits and pigeons
After this, we went back to the compost heap and were treated to some excellent shots of the polecat and fox. In one shot you can see the polecat seeing/hearing the fox and quickly reversing back into the burrow. The fox is keenly interested in the scent of the polecat, sniffing where the polecat had been rolling and examining the rabbit warren.
One disturbing image was the fox going into the hole where the polecat lives just before dawn, and not materialising. Thankfully there are several exits in the compost heap. Maybe he exited somewhere else. I could do with a couple more camera traps to stake out all the other major holes in the compost heap. Did the fox stay over during the day, or did he leave by another hole?
We think we have a couple of foxes at least. There are different muzzle markings and leg markings. One at least is a male because on a previous video you can see him cocking his leg. All the foxes look fit, nimble and quick and don’t hang around for long. They do alas see the camera trap, but do seem to be getting used to it now.
Instead of filming the actual compost heap, I decided to film the approaches to it. I scouted out several tracks, one in the wood and one by the garden pond. There was not so much activity in these areas. In the wood we saw rabbits, pigeons, the badger and foxy.
The fox definitely saw the low glow lights on the camera and was somewhat disturbed by them. They are infrared but do glow very slightly red. Foxes apparently do see into the infrared and the lighting does disturb them. You can see the fox staring directly at the camera. The badger does not take a great deal of notice.
These three days of filming did not show much. I will do one more day by the pond, and then move onto another location.
The same Compost Heap, different rabbit hole. Tonight we were visited by the cute Polecat, a member of the Mustelid family. The Polecat rolled around the ground where a rabbit had been digging. Was it trying to disguise its scent? The previous night was a mystery, the camera failed to operate for some reason.
We have recently been wondering where all the rabbits had gone. Over Summer the grassland around our house had been inundated with rabbits. Since the autumn the number of rabbits has reduced. Even Garden Bunny who I reported on in October has vanished. A tasty morsel for the Polecat, or Mr Fox?