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Green Woodpeckers, Swallows, Pied Wagtails and a new otter cam!

With the sun shining and YewView looking amazing,  my main aim this week was to get the otter cam installed. I always like to do a morning walk around the site. Only working there once a week, on average, so much can change in a week and I like to see what’s going on. The wildflower meadow that we planted earlier in the Spring is looking amazing and was full of bees, hoverflies and other insects.  We are thrilled with how quickly this has established and the impact it has had.



The site is very much planted for pollinators and looks amazing at this time of the year. Packed with all sorts of flowers, the site is literally buzzing with activity!

Of course,  such planting and large number of pollinators impacts greatly on the large number of fruit trees present and the blackberries that are verging on rampant this year. There is going to be an epic crop and some are already ripening…

The apples, pears, damsons and plums are swelling and some are surprisingly large for July…


There is something very special about snacking straight from the tree or bush whilst working on site and I certainly won’t be short of these this Summer and Autumn.

I set to work straight away on the otter cam floating platform. Having finished the actual platform last week, I needed to install it in situ. As I want the platform to only float in emergencies  (allowing us to rescue the camera) it needs to be stable for the rest of the time. I placed 4 posts in the ground so the platform could rest on top of these…


The camera was then set on top and adjusted to face the holt, as before.


Checking the positioning of the camera on my iCatcherWild app, I was really pleased to be able to monitor this day holt again.


There is lots of wildlife news from the site this week.  As I have so much footage, I am going to separate the blog posts a little this week to make it easier to follow progress.

Since building the badger sett last November, we have had sporadic visits from our resident badgers, who tend the sniff around in the chambers, but never stay for very long. This week is the first week that we have had a hint that they may, eventually , use the sett! Check out my separate blog post about this, that follows this blog.

Hay in Sett 1 14th July 3_00000

The changes in the swallow chicks this week is incredible! The adults are visiting very few minutes, with beaks crammed with insects, meaning the fledglings are growing fast. These images show the daily changes this week. Videos can be seen on our YouTube Swallow playlist.

Swallows 15th July_00000

Swallows 16th July_00000

Swallows 17th July_00000

Swallows 18th July_00000

Swallows 19th July_00000

Swallows 20th July_00000

Swallows 21stJuly_00000

Last week….

… and this week…

I have a feeling they will fledge before I get back to Yew View next week, so they will be gracing the skies by then, building up skill and strength, ready for their long journey to Africa in just a month of so.

I was delighted, this week, to manage to get a camera on a new nest; a Pied Wagtail. Last year, a Pied wagtail pair nested in one of the swallow cups upstairs in the barn. I have been watching out for them again and, when I saw parents entering with food, I got the ladder out! In the far corner, I found four chicks that look to be about a week and half old. Quickly mounting a camera between feeds, it will be good to watch this little family!

Pied wagtail chicks 21st July 2_00000

The Kingfisher post is always a camera I love to check the footage from! Every week, we capture lovely clips from this camera. The kingfishers are hunting well and I captured a clip of one catching a dragonfly nymph; a favourite delicacy…

Kingfisher with dragonfly nymph_00003

There are lots of stickleback in the pond too and these are the most common prey…

Kingfisher with dragonfly nymph_00000

When the sun is in the right position, these birds simply glow in the sunshine, as this clip shows..

Kingfisher hunting in sunshine_00000

This week, we were treated to a couple of visits from a Tawny owl. This looks to be one of this year’s youngsters. The feathers around its head are still quite fluffy, as it is beginning to moult into its adult plumage..

Young Tawny 20th July_00003

The stock dove chicks are growing fast, fed on a special ‘milk’ created in the crop of the adult. They are not the most attractive of chicks, I must admit, but good to see this species raising a family on site. I just hope the tawny does not appear and snack on them, as it did on the newly hatched jackdaws!

Stock Dove Chicks 21st July_00000

Another treat on the cameras this week, was the arrival of juvenile Green woodpeckers at the feeding station. I often hear this species on site, but rarely get a really good view of them. This is where the wired cameras come into their own, as they give us fantastic views….

2 green woodpecker feeding_00002

We also had a rabbit make a visit this week, along with the regular night time visits from foxes and badgers..

These clips just give you a flavour of how a large garden, effectively managed for wildlife, can become an absolute wildlife haven! I am so privileged to be able to work here and share its treasures….Wren is enjoying too!



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