When I visited Yew View yesterday, I was hoping that one of the eggs would hatch, as we had reached the 30 day incubation period. An uneaten mouse inside the box in the early hours made me think it was definitely close.... until Aluco decided to eat it!
I kept a close look all day but, although she seemed quite restless, there was no sign of hatch. I left for home.
On Friday morning, it was a different story! A piece of egg shell next to Aluco told me we had a new baby! In the past, I was unable to access the camera from home as the Internet connection at Yew View was so poor. The new high speed broadband that has allowed us to live stream this camera, means that I can see the camera whilst at home and access the recordings via iCatcher console, that I use for my cameras as well.
This has meant that I have been able to lift and save some of today's footage, as well as being able to watch it whilst working at my PC.
The first view of Owlet 1 was when Aluco briefly left the nest box in the early hours. You can see that it is tiny... similar size to the wood mouse next to it!
Aluco was not out long, but then back inside. This owlet needs to be kept warm and is totally dependent on her.
You can see that there is food in the box now.Normally, she would eat any food that was brought to her by Strix, straight away. Now the owlets are here, she will stash it there, so she always has something to feed them. When they are this small, they only need a tiny amount. I am always amazed by the owlet's beak. It is like a tarnished silver in colour.
Aluco will hold down the prey in her feet and tear off tiny morsels. Her talons are huge and she must be careful not to injure this tiny baby. If the flesh she pulls off has fur or bone, she will eat them herself. In the early days, she just gives the owlet tiny morsels of flesh. She rubs the food back and forth in front of the owlet until it feels it with its beak and takes it. Its eyes are closed and Aluco cannot see that close, underneath her.
As with any new baby, it is good to see that all systems are working and, when this little one poos, Aluco removes and eats it to ensure that the nest space stays as clean as possible.
Earlier in the week, I filmed a squirrel racing up to the nest box. It seemed to be being chased. it actually went inside the nest box!
This was Aluco's reaction from inside! It would have been a disaster if these eggs had been broken at this late stage....
Thank goodness, all ended well!
We also had some daytime visits from Strix, with food. He roosts in the box at the other end of the site. After the huge amount of flooding we had, the electrics are down at that end of the garden, so I cannot see inside the box.
It has also been good to see both tawnies outside before the cam turns to IR. These clips are a good opportunity to compare them. Strix is a little smaller and has a very pale facial disc, compared to Aluco's.
I am now waiting to see if the second egg hatches. If we get to Sunday with nothing, then I think it is unlikely to hatch. maybe this owlet will be an only child... fingers crossed we see two very soon!