Buying A Wildlife Camera Trap
At NatureTree we’re all about attracting and helping the wildlife on your doorstep, and while of course that includes birds, bees and butterflies, what about those garden visitors that appear after dark?
Although your garden might seem to be settling down as the sun sets and the light begins to fade, it's just then that things really start to come alive again. In fact a whole host of different creatures start to venture out at this time - it’s just we don’t normally get to see them!
That’s where a camera trap (sometimes called a trail camera) comes in to its own, allowing you to watch wildlife you may have never seen before. Using motion sensors to detect movement, the infrared sensors capture photos and videos in the dark, opening up a whole new world of possibilities! Given the lack of light, the images are produced in black and white (daytime images and video will be recorded in colour).
Since I’ve been using a camera trap I’ve discovered that badgers and foxes are pretty much on my doorstep, which came as a very welcome surprise!
I now enjoy nightly visits from these wonderful animals as well as roe deer. Being able to observe them regularly at such close quarters over a period of time means you gradually start to learn so much about their behaviour, their habits, and their interactions with each other.
A camera trap is also a great opportunity to grow your children or grandchildren’s appreciation of just what’s out there. Getting children enthused or sometimes even interested in nature can sometimes be a challenge. But whether 5 or 15 there’s a real buzz when you show them your first video footage of a young fox or a baby badger! And it can kindle an interest that goes on to last them a lifetime.
Buying A Wildlife Camera Trap – My Own Experience
I’m no product reviewer so this is not a product review, but if my own experience (and mistakes!) prove at all useful to you then I’ll be glad to have helped.
Drawn in by the relatively ‘cheap’ price I originally bought a camera trap from a very well-known shopping website. I quickly regretted this decision and I’d highly recommend that, however tempting, you just don't go down this route.
Despite the amazing claims, the camera was very poor quality, producing blurry, grainy images. And obviously, there’s no expert advice from the seller, nor anyone to speak to, or answer any technical queries. There are seemingly hundreds of different models on this particular shopping site, but many of these cameras apparently have exactly the same old, internal workings and are just sold under different names.
Underwhelmed and disappointed I persevered with the camera for a few months before eventually admitting defeat and deciding to buy another one. But given my last experience, where could I buy a good camera trap?
I’m not sure how many sites I looked at before coming across NatureSpy but it didn’t take me long to realise I was in better company this time around!
NatureSpy is a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in camera traps. They are experts: trying, testing and using these cameras every day for monitoring and research.
Amongst other things, they’re involved in a pine marten project on the North York Moors as well as supporting projects further afield looking for lynx, wolves and bears in Europe.
Looking through the website it’s obvious they genuinely care about their products and love what they do. The site is full of useful, straightforward advice and genuine, honest reviews. And rather refreshingly, they highlight both the strengths and weakness of the cameras they sell.
Incredibly helpful, they are happy to guide and advise you to make the right choice for you - the kind of service you so rarely find anymore!
Choosing a camera trap is obviously very much a personal choice and you might want to check out other sites too. But based on my own experience I’m more than happy to thoroughly recommend NatureSpy who were a pleasure to deal with. If I was to ever buy another camera trap that’s where I’d choose to shop. You can visit their website at: naturespy
They stock a good range of different brands and models at prices to suit different budgets. I opted for the Browning Recon Advantage. As it’s far more informative than anything I could write I will link you to NatureSpy’s own review of this model here: NatureSpy Review
All I can add is that after 4 months of using this camera daily I can tell you I am delighted with its performance and the fabulous results it’s given me. It's proven to be a solid and thoroughly dependable camera, consistently producing great results.
It’s also useful while travelling too. I recently stayed at a house in Ardnamurchan, Scotland, which has pine martens regularly visiting the garden so I took my camera trap with me.
After setting up it wasn’t long before my camera recorded footage of this most elusive of wild mammals. And because the camera records the camera’s activation time I was soon able to build up a pattern of the pine marten’s visiting times, thus eventually enabling me to watch live. And that, I can tell you, was an absolute joy to see!
Browning Trail Camera Tree Mount
Although trail cameras generally include a webbing band for tying the camera to a tree or post as standard I added the optional Browning Trail Camera Tree Mount to my order.
It’s an accessory that makes positioning the camera so much easier. It means you can attach your camera to any crooked tree or awkward fence post and use the gimbal mount to face the camera trap exactly the way you want. It simply screws into the tripod mount under the camera and comes with two webbing straps.
It’s by no means an essential, and at £29.99 it’s not a cheap extra. But it’s very well-built and I’ve found it really does help me get the very best camera angle I can to ensure I capture as much as possible. It just makes life easier and I’m all for that!
If you’re on the fence about whether to invest in a camera trap I will say this: if you’re curious about the wildlife on your doorstep and would love to learn more about it then give a camera trap some serious thought.
There are things you'll get to watch that you'd just never see without one. I’d personally describe the scenes I’ve watched as priceless, a privilege to see.
And there’s something wonderfully exciting, thrilling, and to a certain extent addictive, at getting up each morning and checking what your camera may have captured the night before. It can be a real revelation, lifting the lid on an unseen world.
If you’re persistent the chances are you’ll get to see and learn about creatures you never knew were there, right there in your garden, under the usually secret cover of darkness.