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Tawny visits, Redpoll & Harvest Mouse Parties!

There is SO much going on at Yew View, it can be a challenge, in 1 day,  to collect all the footage, set up Bushnells for the following week and set up new projects and I had the excitement of the bird ringing this week as well! What I try to do is to spend as much time as possible outside and, as it gets dark, I come in and check the week’s footage on the icatcher wild system, which monitors and records. With so many cameras, this can take me several hours! They are exiting hours, though, as you just never know what you might find and every bit of footage gives you more insight into what goes on at this fantastic location!

The tawny box is of particular interest, as the local pair have been sussing it out again. We came quite close, last year, to them nesting there. I made adjustments to the box, on the recommendation of Dave Culley  and we are certainly getting visits from both male and female. We have a PTZ camera on the outside and, although the IR is limited, I can see they are hunting from the branch outside the box regularly. The male has been coming to the entrance and calling the female. She has been into the box a couple of times this week, which is good news.

Here’s the clip from inside the box… I just love that warbling by the male and you can hear the female outside, responding. They are definitely thinking about it! I a  working to improve the IR in this space and I think the focus has changed slightly as it is not looking as crisp an image as I had last year when they came…. might be something to do with all the squirrel activity we have had in this box!

It would be SO incredible to get this pair nesting in this box…. we will have to keep our fingers crossed!

The next footage to look at is the Harvest mice! I have quite a few plans to action for this set-up and I hope to be bringing a more natural feeding station to fruition in the next month, For now, this little bird table is working a treat and the harvest mice are using it regularly. I was delighted this week, to capture one clips of 4 individuals feeding together. It is great to know that we have at least 4… I am hoping there are a lot more than that and our feeding will help sustain them through the rest of the winter so they breed here in the spring.

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Make sure you click on the cog and opt to watch in HD on all of these video clips!

We have had limited badger action on site since it was flooded. Although our setts are above the flood line, their usual foraging routes have been disrupted and we have not been seeing them at the feeding station. The original badger sett has had limited use and our new one has only had spiders, rats and wood mice in it. I was not expecting them to take to the new one straight away and the bare and exposed nature of the outside, means it is not ideal as of yet. Once things dry out a bit and we get planting, then this will improve. One badger seems to have taken up residency in the original sett, taking a load of nesting material down there this week. I think this may be an individual new to this sett, as its behaviour around the outside of the sett seems more exploitative and investigative that the ones that are usually here. This sett is used as a satellite sett.

On to the Kingfishers! I still have the Bushnell set up on the Bulrush… or Reedmace, to be more precise! The female  seems to like this perch and hunted and preened on here this week. I have nick-named this individual ‘Dot’ as she has a distinctive white marking on her head, that is absent on the other female. This means I can tell them apart and that I know we have at least 2 females visiting. There is also a male visiting at the moment… possibly two, but they are harder to tell apart. The wildlife pond has a good supply of small fish, though and their hunting success rate is pretty good!

I also got some nice clips of 3 individuals hunting from the post. This footage is from a wired camera….

The kingfisher had also appeared a few times at an ornamental pond, quite close to the house and in view of the kitchen window! This week, I confirmed that it is ‘Dot’ also visiting this hunting spot, by using another Bushnell on a perch set-up that I made!

Finally, I have been pretty excited about all the Redpoll that are visiting the site after I set up a niger feeding station. As this seed is not particularly enjoyed by the tits and other species, the feeding station has not been too busy, allowing these more timid birds to come in. I created a stump feeder and mounted a Bushnell near it to monitor the visitors. I filled the stump mainly with niger and a few mixed seeds. Due to the positioning of the stump, I had to mount the Bushnell slightly above to avoid a very bright background, but was chuffed to capture some really nice clips of Redpoll, Goldfinch and even a Great Spotted Woodpecker visiting…

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Let’s hope the wind and rain die down over the next week, so I can capture more wildlife footage and that we can have another go at ringing next week. It would be great to capture some of these lovely Redpoll and have a close look at them.


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