The hidden world of the infra-red trail camera

Welcome to the latest blog on February 26th 2021

It’s been a strange week in some ways. On the positive side another milestone on the paperwork trail has been reached. We submitted our on-line applications for our residency permits this week and it was one of the easiest and most efficient of all the procedures we’ve gone through so far, much to our relief. Or perhaps we’re just getting used to sending in lots of paperwork! Of course, submitting it is one thing, actually getting it is another, but for now there is no more for us to do. The ball is in their court and we wait to be processed, which we expect will be several months. If there are no further documents needed, the next step is a trip to the local town hall to have our fingerprints taken and supply them with a passport photo. A couple of weeks later the card will be sent out in the post. So far they have received just under 100,000 applications and are expecting a total of between 200,000 to 300,000, although no-one really knows what the final figure will be. The deadline for applications is June of this year and you must have the card by October if you want to be able to stay here for longer than three months in any six.

The cat and I concocting reasons to support our application – all in French of course.

More worryingly, the number of cases of COVID in France is not going down despite having been in partial lockdown for months. The average daily cases across the country have plateaued at around 20,000 but in some hot spots the situation is getting dire, and as I write this today on Friday the national numbers have jumped overnight up to 25,000. The French Riviera and the Dunkirk area are now under strict weekend lockdown to try and combat the flare-up of cases there and the rest of us are waiting to see what the next few days bring. President Macron has gone against the advice of his medical team in resisting a full national lockdown so far in bid to support the economy, but I wonder how much longer that can last. So it feels a bit like we are waiting for the axe to fall, yet again.

Leaving all that aside I have some great photos for you this week, not so much because of the quality, but because of the subject matter. Michael’s parents gave him a trail camera for Christmas. It has the capability of taking infra-red shots at night, either as a picture or as a video. Michael has been stalking through our woods, identifying possible trails that looked as if they were regularly used and then has attached the camera around the nearest tree trunk. We’ve tried it in all sorts of different places but our last position was the best. It picked up a fox, a deer, a wild boar and something that we think is a stone martin, a small animal we’ve never seen before. It was very camera shy, always moving fast, so it was hard to get a clear image of it, but we are reasonably confident that our identification is correct.

Here’s our fox, a fine specimen, and very interested in the camera
A male roe deer, keeping its distance
Wild boar, taken just as it was getting dark
Our mystery guest, a stone martin, very camera shy

Watching these videos was a magical experience, particularly seeing how the different animals responded to the camera. The fox was curious, coming right up to smell it and see what it was, the deer was more cautious, while it looked as if the wild boar was either supremely unaware or not bothered. We had seen no sign that there were any wild boar in our woods, no churning up of the ground by strong snouts which is usually such a give-away, so we were both surprised and delighted to see it, although it will make us a little more wary when we’re up there collecting wood!

The videos take up a huge amount of data and we can’t yet seem to reduce them down as we would normally, so instead Michael paused the video and took a photo of it. As you can see the quality isn’t brilliant but it gives you an idea. We’ll try and work out a way to get some of the videos onto the blog in future.

And that is all for this week. Hope you are all hanging on in there. Take care and see you next week.

MJ

8 thoughts on “The hidden world of the infra-red trail camera

  1. Some cracking shots of the wildlife around you. Sorry to hear of the large number of cases out there. Not good at all. Especially as ours are coming down, thankfully. Vaccinations are picking up and it seems to be all good news. Good luck with your residency, I’m sure it will be fine. I must say, you look very intelligent Mary-Jane filling in your application forms!!! Take extra care both. xx

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  2. Covid figures go up and down very quickly, the only best way to judge the situation of course is to take a rolling 7 day average. I am glad to say that figures in the UK are going down steadily, but very slowly. I really cannot understand the German and French stance on vaccines. Perhaps because one is an Oxford (UK) collaboration with Astra Zenica and not EU!!!? Great shots on your camera, clever of you to get a good position for the camera.

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  3. Those rising Covid numbers are worrisome, all over. I wonder if that new ‘more contagious’ variant is the culprit? Vaccine roll-outs here are taking an age, with only a million done in a day, which sounds like a lot, but at that rate, it will take a year to get the country vaccinated.
    Love the trail cam pics, exciting to see who is sharing your territory.
    Good luck with your residency app!

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