Camera Trapping Surrey's Wildlife

It's been far too long since I have blogged about Surrey and it's wildlife, but now that spring and summer have arrived to the UK, Surrey has erupted into life. The birds are breeding, with some chicks having fledged by now, and butterflies and moths have emerged into the summer sun. And more than anything, the countryside has burst into colour; the trees a vibrant green.

I know most of what lives in Surrey mammal wise, but have never put camera traps out to capture them going about their normal lives, rather than how we normally see them; from behind as they run in the opposite direction. So I put my camera trap out in the countryside overnight to see what we could get.

The first location was along quite a well-trodden trail, bordered on both sides by vegetation, which seemed like a path used often by mammals, possibly fox, but most likely Roe Deer

And sure enough, a couple of hours before nightfall, a lone Roe Deer strolls past the camera trap; just what we were expecting.

The night past, unusually, without anything triggering the camera trap. But as the sun rose, the Roe Deer was back along the trail, again walking straight in front of the camera trap, showing us its full body, and showing us how it behaves when we're not there spooking it the entire time.

The deer then walked back a final time, at around 7:30am; the last time before we collected the camera trap.

The second location was down at ground level in a small patch of vegetation, overlooking a patch of grass clearly used by rabbits regularly, with evidence of them feeding in the area in front of the camera trap. And sure enough, we saw a lot of the rabbits throughout the night. The rabbits first arrived only a few minutes after we had placed the camera trap, and continued to visit regularly after dark as well.

What was interesting to see was how much more on edge they were once it was dark. Rabbits cannot see well in the dark, so would naturally be more wary at night, and it is clear to see in the videos below. They were very quick to dart away into the night when spooked, probably by foxes or other mammals.

The next morning, the Roe Deer passed in front of the camera trap. Whether this is the same individual I don't know, but it was good to see they inhabit and move around the whole area.

The rabbits continued to frequent the patch in front of the camera trap throughout the night and the early morning until we returned to collect the camera.

So another successful night of camera trapping; unusually the first we have done in Surrey, with all the rest being at the badger sett in Wiltshire. It was great to see the deer a few times along the trail, and to get so much footage of the rabbits feeding undisturbed - all in all, a worthwhile night of camera trapping.


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