This week was my final week at Yew View before Christmas and I always start my day with a quick check of the cameras. I was amazed to see that one of the tawnies was in the nest box! This is the first time we have had one spending the day in this new box. Over the last month or so, they have been day roosting in the other two large boxes that we have at the other end of the garden. What is special about this box, compared to the other two, is that I have a small light unit in the box. This consists of some white LEDs mounted inside a translucent plastic box. The are operated by a sensor, meaning that when the light is sufficient outside, then the internal lights come on. They go off at night. This is essential. This additional light means that I can achieve a better image on the cameras. I use lighting in all my boxes and, based on nesting success, I do not feel that this lighting affects the birds in any way. You can see that there is virtually no reaction to the light coming in within the box……
Leading up to this day roost, there had been regular visits again in this last week. Lots of calling and paddling, further strengthening bonds and confidence in this as their chosen nesting site…
These two clips show the calling between the pair, from the two different camera angles….
Looking back at the week’s footage, I saw that this individual (I think it is the female) also spent Tuesday in the box. It is lovely to capture my first daytime clips from these cameras….
When I set up the two cameras, I based the focus of both on where she nested for the last two years. This was in the back corner, further from the entrance. This year, as the box is deeper and slightly different, she seems to have chosen the right hand corner, rather than the left. This is no problem for Cam 1, but it means she is sitting literally cm from the lens of Cam 2! Luckily, I had focused this cam quite close and I am hoping that. if she incubates here, it will mean she will be right in focus when feeding owlets (fingers crossed)
There has been some squirrel interest in the box. I wondered whether this might influence the tawny spending time here; to protect the nest site from a squirrel takeover? Whilst in here, I filmed two encounters when the squirrel visited and decided it was probably not a good idea to drop in for a visit!
The reaction by the tawny inside is pretty impressive…
I also filmed this quite comical encounter…… with a fly!
Although the owls have dominated my time this week, I did have a look through the other cams on site. A new set up in the Mammal Box with a Hikvision mini dome cam, captured some nice clips, including this one of a wood mouse trying to block the entrance holes of the box to secure the stash of food!
We also had a Muntjac move through a couple of times….
.. and a jay! These birds have only just started visiting and I have not captured them on the cameras very much..
The badgers are not very active on site at the moment… I am not sure why. They are not using either of the setts at the moment, but I did film one coming through and taking a look…
Finally, I loaded the river feeding platform with windfall apples. I was hoping to attract some winter thrushes. I was delighted to film this fieldfare as I was at the computer. It meant I could zoom in with the PTZ cam to take a closer look….
I will be keeping an eye on the cameras via my iCatcher App on my phone, but won’t be returning to Yew View until 2019…. let’s hope it’s another great one for wildlife!