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?
Another night and the same compost heap, but a different set of starring animals. The Rabbits and Mouse appeared and hogged the camera. They made a hasty getaway when the starring animals appeared, a Fox and a Polecat. The Polecat appeared out of the rabbit hole, and later at the end can be seen rushing back in. The Fox stood and looked at the camera. The later images are poor because of a light frost covering on the lens.
Rosemary has her Christmas present, which I am making good use of. It is a Bushnell Trail Cam, designed to scout out your land for wildlife. (I believe the intention of the American manufacturer is you see what there is, and then using one of their rifles, shoot it.)
The camera can take video and still pictures. At night in black and white, and during the day in colour. There is a motion detector which activates the device when a warm body enters the scene. This picks up birds, mice and larger mammals. Unfortunately, there is no filter to remove the numerous images and videos of rabbits.
My first test was a disaster, mounted the camera too high, looking down the garden. All it picked up was me when I was setting it, testing it and coming back to retrieve it. Our next test on Sunday night was by the compost heap during Storm Bella. Here we picked up some rabbits, and a badger investigating the rabbit hole. The following day, it picked up some birds during the day, and the badger during the night (and rabbits). The badger did seem interested in the camera, I can only think it could see the low glow LED lights. Last night I took still images and not video, this time a fox visited. No badger to be seen.
We visited Waddesdon Manor to see the lights. Because of Covid 19, the house was not open and everyone was encouraged to walk up to the manor instead of taking the bus. The encouragement was a financial incentive. Unfortunately, it was a damp evening with a light drizzle. As the daylight dimmed, the lights grew brighter.
There was the Christmas market set up in front of the house. I didn’t visit the area, instead, I walked around the lights before and after dark.
We both were a little underwhelmed by the light effects. There have been better. I particularly liked the Bruce Munroe lights back in 2015. We both thought Waddesdon Manor was allowing far too many people onto the site. There was a large queue of people trying to get in with their timed tickets. Around some of the lights, social distancing seems to have been thrown out of the window. Some limitations on the number of people viewing the lights at one time should have been in place. No wonder Buckinghamshire is heading to Tier 3. (update on 19 December it entered Tier 3).
The walk down to the Stables needs to be planned, I would not recommend taking the path through the playground. It is narrow and there is two-way traffic. Instead walk down the road, dodging the busses. It remains to be seen whether this event becomes a Christmas superspreader.
The main set was a 3 minute light show set to the music of Handel Water Music: Hornpipe. On the loop around the grounds, there were several other areas laid out with light effects. Some elephants standing by the pathway were pretty cool. I am not sure about the lighting of the house, this didn’t seem as spectacular as usual. Normally the trees to the side of the driveway are lit up. This year they were not, possibly because of the Christmas market.