Rangers in Glen Nevis have caught a variety of local wildlife on candid camera, including pine marten, badger and woodpecker, thanks to remote cameras funded by CARE International.
The cameras are being used by staff from The Highland Council and the John Muir Trust to help monitor wildlife in the area. Over time the rangers hope to snap otters, golden eagles and foxes, as well as confirm the presence of the elusive Scottish wildcat.
Michelle Melville, The Highland Council's Glen Nevis ranger has been using the cameras to help the Glen Nevis Junior Rangers to connect with local wildlife. She said: "The Junior Rangers have really enjoyed getting hands on with the new cameras.
“After filming blue tits, great tits, coal tits, goldfinches and siskins they managed to get photos of a great spotted woodpecker on our feeder.
“One day a pine marten got stuck in the garage at the visitor’s centre and after letting it out I decided that the camera might be used to film this elusive animal at night. We baited a station in the woodshed with peanuts and eventually we caught our first photos of a pine marten.”
“Our next challenge is to try and get photos of the otters on the River Nevis.”
Cameras have also been set up on the John Muir Trust’s Ben Nevis estate. Sarah Lewis, the Trust’s Nevis conservation officer, said: “The cameras should give us a better idea of the species present in Steall gorge and the meadows above.
“We hope to get photos of badgers, foxes and pine marten, as well as resident birds of prey such as the golden eagle. There have also been reported sightings and prints of the Scottish wildcat in the Glen but no confirmed records for a number of years, so we’re really eager to catch one on camera.”
CARE International organises a number of challenge events to raise funds each year, including a Three Peaks Challenge event. They believe it’s unfair to hold these events without putting something back in to the communities that host them, and so they help fund social and environmental projects such as the remote cameras.
Images from the remote cameras will be displayed at the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre alongside a live feed from a bird box camera, which is also funded by CARE International.