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Bushnell Tawny Owl Delights at Yew View

It has been great to check the cameras at Yew View and know that our tawny family are very much still around on site, especially as Dave Harper and I have been investing so much time and energy into the new tawny box for 2019, which is just about ready to go up.

I have filmed individuals at the original box site, on the trees nearby, on the kingfisher post and also spending time on the ‘patio’ area of the Owl Mansion, situated at the far end of the garden, facing the river. I have a PTZ camera trained on this spot and I have picked up the male using this area when the owlets were little and still in the box and also at other times. I was keen to see if I could capture this owl using the Bushnell. I built a long wooden arm that stretched out from the box, on which I could mount the trail cam and then angle it toward the box. The box is high up though, and getting the camera into position proved very difficult. Last week, I decided to have a go using the 60cm close-up lens on the NatureView unit. This closeness to the box would give me the chance to accurately position the camera and would, I hoped, give me some nice close-up views. Balancing precariously on a ladder to reach out to the Bushnell and check its positioning with the viewing unit, I secured it in place. It was then a matter of leaving it to do it job.

On returning and checking the PTZ camera, I was pleased to see the tawny had been back. The previous week, I had filmed it with prey…

I excitedly collected the SD card out of the Bushnell and uploaded the footage. I was pretty pleased with the results! Obviously, having the close-up lens on meant that the tawny had to be right in the correct position in order to be in the frame correctly. Also, there were times that I lost the top of the head slightly, so a new adjustment to the camera was needed to raise it a little. What the footage did show me though, was that this individual looks like one of this year’s young. It still has some fluffy plumage around the head, but has almost moulted into its full adult plumage. It will soon be chased away from this territory by its parents and will need to find its own , new territory; probably nearby.

The great thing about the Bushnell footage is that it gives me a really clear view of this youngster and it is wonderful that it is looking so well!

I have decided to try for another week in this location and have raised the Bushnell a little to see if I can improve the footage and not lose the top of the tawny’s head! Trail cams are a great way to monitor boxes and if, when setting the box up, you install a mounting arm, or put the box near a tree for a trail cam, it can make life easier. Obviously, don’t go retrieving the card and disturbing the nest site whilst the birds are breeding.

The otters are still visiting a couple of times a week at the river came… usually just a quick sniff, sprint and then they are off….

I also captured this lovely clip of a great spotted woodpecker after a bath… there are lots of these on site ..


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