Hot on the trail
Trail Camera Volunteers
Although many of us walk in the woods on a weekly, or even daily, basis, we don’t always get to see the wide range of wildlife that calls it home. Taking a peek into the secret lives of woodland creatures is a team of volunteers who are using trail cameras to see what is wandering by.
Chris Mather has been working at our Smithills Estate, near Bolton, and with fellow volunteer Michelle Winnard, he managed to capture this night-time footage. Chris used his specialist knowledge of badgers to track down where the sett had made their home, and the resulting footage has been brilliant. The badger cubs captured have been seen play-fighting with each other, foraging and scratching away at what seems to be a severe case of fleas! But this isn’t all that Chris has caught on camera, “Over 12 months I’ve captured the antics of foxes, fallow deer, even a weasel – a lovely surprise as they’re rarely seen.”
Charlotte Bryant is documenting the day-to-day occurrences in another urban wood – Bishops Knoll on the outskirts of Bristol. So far she’s captured badgers, foxes and squirrels on camera – with hopes of tracking down roe deer swimming the river Avon, too. She says she’s especially excited for the spring, “I’m keen to film fox cubs and get shots of owls and bats too.” As a multi-talented volunteer she’s even helped photograph the site and the changes we’ve made to it – including a new arboretum.
Meanwhile, Greg Nicholson has been adding to research at Tinney’s Firs, Salisbury. There are plans to invest in the wood to make it a more immersive place for families who want to explore the great outdoors. All we can learn about the wildlife will add into interpretation at the site, which will tell people more about the animals around them. Greg added, “It’s been fun figuring out the best camera spots. I’ve turned detective, using traces of animal fur as clues!”
Hollie Anderson – Assistant PR Officer