Cannock Chase Wildlife project

During November 2016 we started a project monitoring the wildlife around Cannock Chase. To enable us to capture behaviours with the least disturbance, trail cameras were used. They were set in secret locations. The clips are a small selection of what we found.

One of our first trail cam captures.

A few months before the project started, a couple of cameras were set up in a local wood. We didn't know what to expect. The first night we got a brief clip of a Muntjac doe, and a large Badger. We decided this area was good for us to leave our cams, and even better for the wildlife.

Screen captures from the video.

We prepared for this clip. We covered peanut butter with fallen leaves, put some on the branch, and dissolved some, then strained it into a spray bottle and sprayed it on to the branch too. The clip was better than we expected.

A few months after the Badger clips we moved to a second site. We had a wish list for it. We soon got those and more!

We had hoped to film a Muntjac Buck. We didn't get one initially, but the amount of footage we got of a heavily pregnant Muntjac doe and her youngster made up for it!

We finally got the buck, along with Red deer visitors.

This clip got a lot of attention. People often hear Muntjac, but don't see them. We managed to get a clip of one calling.

A few months later, we popped to the site in the evening, we saw the Muntjac doe and her previous years youngster. We thought we could see the fawn hiding on the edge of the wood. She spotted us, her tail raised and she ran away calling. We recorded it on a phone app, which unfortunately no longer plays back on here. It's often assumed that they are solitary, but we have learned they are very family orientated. The doe will stay with her youngsters in a territory. She will give her own position away by barking, to warn them. The Bucks have a bigger territory, and will go between a number of females that are in his range. I've seen videos of people using Buffallo callers, these sound like the young Muntjac calling. The Bucks respond to this, showing that they have a protective nature too.

We started off trying to log each weeks recordings. Initially the best clips were edited together, and published. After getting several hundred clips a week, it soon became apparent that it was taking too long. Most of the videos are date stamped, so we began posting the best clips as we got them.

We knew the Muntjac doe was heavily pregnant. In the new year we got the first glimpse of the fawn (We later found out that Kid is the correct term, but for consistency we will call it a fawn).

We noticed the mother didn't like suckling. The older youngster was trying to suckle up until about a month before the fawn was born, so maybe this regular demand was the reason she seemed to be reluctant to suckle?

Muntjac doe.

The Badger didn't want a Muntjac about.

We were aware that a lot of the videos, were of the same animals. Our site had 3 resident Muntjac and a Buck who popped by. We also had resident Foxes and Badgers. along with the passing Red deer. Getting familiar with their habits, was a good way of learning about them.

We hoped to record something different. This clip has been our most viewed. We had heard the youngsters squealing and demanding to suckle before, but not as good as this.

Something made it jump!.

Cannock Chase is best known for it's Fallow deer, as you can see from the clips, our sites haven't had them going through (yet). We have plans to set up other cameras in nearby locations where we have seen them. These place aren't necessarily where they are known to be. It would be easy to film them in the places everyone knows of, but there would be too many people altering the behaviours.

This was a behaviour that we hadn't expected to record.

We set up a camera along a track. We saw Deer Badgers Foxes Mice Squirrels and Pigeons using it. This was the best!

We set a camera on the point where the Muntjac and Badger come out of the wood. We also knew from droppings, that Red deer walked along the edge of the wood. A few carrots were left, to keep them in view a little longer. It's interesting to see the markings in their coats under IR. Look at how they try and eat the carrot.

A little later others came. In between a Fox had a look too.

We had been after a day time clip of the Muntjac buck for ages. We finally got one early one morning..Licking his lips!

The Muntjac family

The buck in this one.

The track that the Badger ran down. These were at a more leisurely pace.

Getting soaked!

A Red deer took an interest in the post and the camera!

The stump had the remains of a mineral lick on it. The deer hadn't bothered with it, until now.

We have never filmed two bucks together before.

If the clip had been lighter, this could have been one of our best ones.

Look how she talks with her tail!

With the presence of the two bucks and their body language, we are wondering if the doe is coming into oestrus ? She seems to be on a permanent cycle of breeding.

We left the camera to establish if Muntjac eat everything there is. They're reputation isn't good. We only filmed this and one other moment where one browsed the Bluebells. If there is other food available, maybe they take that first?

More evidence the Doe is in oestrus. The biggest Buck yet!

The Red deer just want to eat the camera!

Despite a lot more evidence of browsing, we have only picked a few clips of the Muntjac again

The other species we film most often.

The big buck came through the Bluebells again.

The Muntjac fawn likes a Carrot.

The buck marks with his eye gland, then covers it.

Badgers foraging.

May has been very quiet for the Muntjacs. The Badgers are still about, and the Red deer seem to be moving back in.

The full version

Parent and goslings.
Eating Bluebells?

Finally got a Red deer in this location!

After a very quiet few weeks, we got this.

Screen captures
Muntjac buck

We have had a couple of cameras on a deer wallow for some months. During a hot week (the summer), we filmed a family group of Red deer sitting in the mud.

We watched one of the group urinating in the water. It is a way of marking their presence.

We have recorded much more than deer there though.

Deer are often regarded as detrimental to woodland, but we have found the wallow they have created, is something that other wildlife use.

There is water near to the woodland, but to get to it, means leaving the cover that the trees give. We have had many clips of mainly Squirrels and Magpies using it, but other species are regular visitors too.

We are in Autumn now. We have been recording for 11 months now. We have watched the wildlife throughout the seasons.

Autumn is an ideal time to track or find evidence of what animals are in an area. The foliage is dying back, and the wet weather creates mud, in which the animals leave tracks.

We have spent a lot of time, looking for Red deer and Muntjac. We have previously mentioned recording Fallow deer. We will get around to them, but are finding Reds in unexpected areas, so at the moment they will be our main species.

Evidence (Red deer)
Muddy track with more evidence.

We are trying to work out what the mystery mustalid is.

Blink, and you'll miss it! Polecat is the favourite, but possibly Mink?

In the snow

We haven’t posted any Fallow deer clips so far. So here’s the first.

We later looked at the previous clip, and it appeared to show the rolling Badgers mating.

The dates are wrong on many of the cameras. Some have frozen menus, others reset after being corrected. We aren’t too worried though.

Plenty to eat?

About Cannock Chase AONB


About the Trail cameras used


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