We are really lucky at Montrose Basin to be able to watch what goes on out of the window every day. Sometimes we can be distracted – it may be that the kingfisher is fishing in the ponds or the little egrets are being chased by the herons – so we can miss what is going on with all the other species.
Camera traps are being used more often in research and wildlife management. They are a non-invasive way of recording the presence of species and studying animal behaviour. Many species are under-recorded in the UK, including species such as the brown rat; they are seen as common or not exciting enough to be reported.
We were given the loan of a camera trap just before Christmas to try and capture the things we might not always see. We had the camera out in a few different locations around the visitor centre and managed to capture a variety of species.
We were also really lucky to spot a fox, not just once but twice, in two different locations. The first image was taken down in the woods at the Bank of Scotland hide and the other was seen under the feeders at the front window! Camera traps can be really useful when monitoring species, and can give an idea of territory size.
Camera traps can also be set to take short videos, Joanna has put together a few of our favourite clips!
Even through the winter months, gardens (and reserves!) can be a hive of activity, so make sure you keep your feeders topped up and water dishes free of ice.
– Louise Clark (Visitor Centre Assistant Manager)