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Harvest Mouse Platform, Otter in the holt & mysterious morning mammals…..

With winter on the way and natural food levels beginning to drop, I start thinking about our population of harvest mice around the wildlife pond. We discovered we had harvest mice a few years ago after they appeared in our mammal box on a cold January morning. We started putting food on a mini feeding platform which they visited, but then the rats discovered it and the harvest mice stopped visiting in late Spring. Here is  a clip from March 2016.

I have been keen to encourage them back, so we can film them, and this week I set up a caged feeding platform. The wire mesh I have used will keep adult rats out, but wood mice, voles and harvest mice will be able to get in. As I am using a Vivotek IP8152 camera, I had to make a little housing for it to sit in as it is not waterproof. I also put an IR LED array above the feeding station as the camera does not have its own IR. This means I can film at night as well as the day.

I mounted the cage on legs and then positioned it right into the reeds next to the wildlife pond.

We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed that these tiny little mice will make a reappearance….. I really hope so!

Looking through the footage this week, I was delighted to see one of our  otters visiting the holt. It went inside for just over 6 minutes before re-emerging. I am already planning an otter holt for 2018 , with cameras inside…… it would be incredible to film a wild otter in this way!

Last week, I set up a camera on a niger feeding station at the river end of the site. This is a quiet part of the garden and we had redpoll visiting last winter. I am hoping they will make an appearance in the next few months. In the meantime, we can enjoy the large numbers of goldfinch feeding here.

Finally, on looking through the kingfisher footage, I found an early morning clip. This was just before 7am and the light was not sufficient for the camera to switch to colour. What I was more interested in are the mammals in the back ground on the hill…. what are they?  I’m not entirely sure…. one of the mustelids, but I just can’t make up my mind…. what do you think?


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