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Tawny footage, foxes , badgers and a lot of rain!

As we all know, it has been extremely wet of late. Yew View backs onto the River Severn, and this has been extremely high for several weeks now. The garden has been under water on and off for almost a month now and today, after a period where the levels had dropped, the river edged its way back up the garden…

I have not seen my otter holt for over a month now! I did build it knowing that it would flood at some point, but I had not anticipated it being so wet and the whole thing being under water for so long. I’ll have to wait and see what condition it is in when the river levels drop.

In the meantime, I have been closely monitoring my tawny nest box. I now have trhree different camera angles on this box. I have a Vivotek camera on the outside and then two Hikvision cameras inside. This will be the fourth year that this pair have nested in this box and the footage I am getting so far is the best yet. I have never had a camera facing the entrance and this camera has been very exciting as I have wanted to be able to see the tawnies coming in, especially with prey.

This clip shows the amazing calling and ‘conversations’ that this pair have when they re-establish their bond and decide to use the box again…

The female (mainly) likes to test the substrate at the bottom of the box and does this ‘paddling’  with her feet. Blue and great tits do a similar thing in my nest boxes.

At some points the female chooses to roost in the box during the day. This has only happened once so far and it gave me an excellent chance to check that the camera angle was correct on this new Hikvision dome camera. I am thrilled with the image I am getting.

When these owls have excess food, they often stash it in the box. These large rats that they are catching, are often left in the box in the morning and then collected early evening. This clip shows the same event from the three different cameras….

We have three other owl boxes on site. The male and female often use these for daytime roosting. This individual was sitting on the ‘terrace’ of our Owl Mansion at the other end of the site …

The biggest issue I have with the boxes is trying to prevent the squirrels from taking over. I am happy for the squirrels to go in any of the boxes EXCEPT THIS ONE!!!! They like this one best though of course! Every time they bring leaves in, we go up the ladder and remove them. This is usually enough to keep them out, but this family of 4 (the female and her 3 young from this year) are very persistent. They do look quite sweet curled up in there, but this box is for my tawny pair, so I am afraid I will continue to discourage them by removing any bedding they bring in, encouraging them to opt for one of the other boxes!

Quite interesting to see the squirrel’s reaction to this gift of half a rat!

Obviously, when the squirrels are in there, it prevents the tawny coming in. One night, the tawny came for a closer look and was scared off by the rather disgruntled squirrel!

There has been quite a lot of activity in the badger sett and we had a rare visit from a fox…

This fox has been feeding along side the badgers every night. This is the first time I have seen them share food in this way, as in previous years, the fox has always waited until the badgers had finished. On the whole, they feed quite happily together, often, very close, with just the occasional disagreement. This footage is with a Hikvision ColourVu camera which has white LEDs that can be scheduled to come on at night and illuminate the area.

I don’t think I have ever filmed the badgers at this location in daylight. This individual is pretty thin and it seems to be limping a bit on its back legs. Maybe hunger drove it up to the feeding station at 4.20pm…

I am hoping that the rain finally stops and I can get working in the grounds again. I have a new bird feeding station to build, in preparation for the winter!


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